Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis
By Ludwig Mises
Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) first published
Socialism in German, in 1922. The edition presented here is that published by Liberty Fund in 1981. It follows the text, with correction and enlargement of footnotes, of the Jonathan Cape, Ltd., edition published in London in 1969. The edition was based on the 1951 edition by Yale University Press which slightly enlarged the first English edition published by Jonathan Cape in 1936, translated from the German by J. Kahane. Only a few corrections of obvious typos were made for this website edition. One character substitution has been made: the ordinary character “C” has been substituted for the “checked C” in the name Cuhel.
J. Kahane, trans.
First Pub. Date
Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Fund, Inc.
First published in German. Foreword by Friedrich A. Hayek not available online
The text of this edition is under copyright. Picture of Ludwig von Mises: file photo, Liberty Fund, Inc.
- Part I,Ch.1
- Part I,Ch.2
- Part I,Ch.3
- Part I,Ch.4
- Part II,Ch.5
- Part II,Ch.6
- Part II,Ch.7
- Part II,Ch.8
- Part II,Ch.9
- Part II,Ch.10
- Part II,Ch.11
- Part II,Ch.12
- Part II,Ch.13
- Part II,Ch.14
- Part II,Ch.15
- Part II,Ch.16
- Part III,Ch.17
- Part III,Ch.18
- Part III,Ch.19
- Part III,Ch.20
- Part III,Ch.21
- Part III,Ch.22
- Part III,Ch.23
- Part III,Ch.24
- Part III,Ch.25
- Part III,Ch.26
- Part IV,Ch.27
- Part IV,Ch.28
- Part IV,Ch.29
- Part IV,Ch.30
- Part IV,Ch.31
- Part IV,Ch.32
- Part V,Ch.33
- Part V,Ch.34
- Part V,Ch.35
PREFACE TO THE SECOND ENGLISH EDITION
The world is split today into two hostile camps, fighting each other with the utmost vehemence, Communists and anti-Communists. The magniloquent rhetoric to which these factions resort in their feud obscures the fact that they both perfectly agree in the ultimate end of their programme for mankind’s social and economic organization. They both aim at the abolition of private enterprise and private ownership of the means of production and at the establishment of socialism. They want to substitute totalitarian government control for the market economy. No longer should individuals by their buying or abstention from buying determine what is to be produced and in what quantity and quality. Henceforth the government’s unique plan alone should settle all these matters. ‘Paternal’ care of the ‘Welfare State’ will reduce all people to the status of bonded workers bound to comply, without asking questions, with the orders issued by the planning authority.
Neither is there any substantial difference between the intentions of the self-styled ‘progressives’ and those of the Italian Fascists and the German Nazis. The Fascists and the Nazis were no less eager to establish all-round regimentation of all economic activities than those governments and parties which flamboyantly advertise their anti-Fascist tenets. And Mr. Peron in Argentina tries to enforce a scheme which is a replica of the New Deal and the Fair Deal and like these will, if not stopped in time, result in full socialism.
The great ideological conflict of our age must not be confused with the mutual rivalries among the various totalitarian movements. The real issue is not who should run the totalitarian apparatus. The real problem is whether or not socialism should supplant the market economy.
It is this subject with which my book deals.
World conditions have changed considerably since the first edition of my essay was published. But all these disastrous wars and revolutions, heinous mass murders and frightful catastrophes have not affected the main issue: the desperate struggle of lovers of freedom, prosperity and civilization against the rising tide of totalitarian barbarism.
Epilogue I deal with the most important aspects of the events of the last decades. A more detailed study of all the problems involved is to be found in three books of mine published by the Yale University Press:
New York, July 1950
Collectivist Economic Planning (London: Routledge and Kegan, 1935), on pp. 87-130. This collection was reprinted in 1967 by Augustus M. Kelley Publishers of New Jersey (Pub.).
Der Arbeitgeber, vol. 13, p. 35).
Die Wirtschaftswissenschaft nach dem Kriege, Festgabe für Lujo Brentano zum 80. Geburtstag (Munich, 1925), vol. 1, pp. 149 ff.
Fabian Essays , p. 30.)
Christentum und Klassenkampf [Zurich, 1908], p. 111 ff.) In 1869 Prince-Smith had noted the fact that the socialist ideas had found supporters among employers. He mentions that amongst business men, “however strange this may sound, there are some who understand their own activity in the national economy with so little clarity that they hold the socialist ideas as more or less founded, and, consequently, have a bad conscience really, as if they had to admit to themselves that their profits were actually made at the cost of their workmen. This makes them timid and even more muddled. It is very bad. For our economic civilization would be seriously threatened if its bearers could not draw, from the feeling of complete justification, the courage to defend its foundations with the utmost resolution.” (Prince-Smith’s
Gesammelte Schriften [Berlin, 1877], vol. 1, p. 362.) Prince-Smith, however, would not have known how to discuss the socialist theories critically.
Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, 3rd ed. (Chicago: Regnery, 1966), p. v. (Pub.).
Britain’s Industrial Future, being the Report of the Liberal Industrial Inquiry (London, 1928).
Die soziale Revolution, 3rd ed. [Berlin, 1911], vol. 2, p. 39). Publisher’s Note: In English, see
The Social Revolution, trans. J. B. Askew (London, 1907).
Internationale Bibliothek, 2d ed. (Stuttgart, 1903), vol. 22, p. 112: “Finally logic deserves the epithet ‘proletarian’ also for the reason that to understand it one must have overcome all the prejudices which hold the bourgeoisie.”
Die logischen Mängel des engeren Marxismus [Munich, 1910], p. 125). And De Man believes that to understand “the individuality and variety of the theories” one would have to consider, besides the thinker’s general social background, also his own economic and social life—a “bourgeois” life … “in the case of the college-trained Marx” (De Man,
Zur Psychologie des Sozialismus, new ed. [Jena, 1927], p. 17).
Einleitung mit kritischem Nachtrag zur neunten Auflage der Geschichte des Materialismus von Friedrich Albert Lange, 3rd extended ed. (Leipzig, 1914), P. 115. Also Natorp,
Sozialpädagogik, 4th ed. (Leipzig, 1920), p. 201.
Neue Sittenlehre (Jena, 1905), pp. 45, 62.
praxis, meaning action, habit or practice. In his “Foreword” to
Epistemological Problems of Economics (Princeton: Van Nostrand, 1960; New York: NYU Press, 1981), he commented on his use of the term “sociology” in a 1929 essay included in that volume: “… in 1929, I still believed that it was unnecessary to introduce a new term to signify the general theoretical science of human action as distinguished from the historical studies dealing with human action performed in the past. I thought that it would be possible to employ for this purpose the term
sociology, which in the opinion of some authors was designed to signify such a general theoretical science. Only later did I realize that this was not expedient and adopted the term praxeology.” (Pub.)
Das Kulturideal des Sozialismus (Munich, 1918) even expects of socialism that it will bring about both “the highest rationalization of economic life” and “redemption from the most terrible of all barbarisms: capitalist rationalism.”