April Freeman Banner 2014

ARTICLE

Government

SEPTEMBER 01, 1981 by LUDWIG VON MISES

Government has no more ability than individuals to create something out of nothing. What the government spends more, the public spends less. Public works are not accomplished by the miraculous power of a magic wand. They are paid for by funds taken away from the citizens.

The more public works expand and the more the government undertakes in order to fill the gap left by the alleged “private enterprise’s inability to provide jobs for all,” the more the realm of private enterprise shrinks. Thus we are again faced with the alternative of capitalism or socialism.

There is no reason to idolize the police power and ascribe to it omnipotence and omniscience. It cannot conjure away the scarcity of the factors of production, it cannot make people more prosperous, it cannot raise the productivity of labor.

All this talk about contracyclical government activities aims at one goal only, namely to divert the public’s attention from cognizance of the real cause of the cyclical fluctuations of business. All governments are firmly committed to the policy of low interest rates, credit expansion, and inflation. When the unavoidable aftermath of these short-termpolicies appears, they know only of one remedy—to go on in inflationary ventures.

Currency and credit manipulation is today the main instrument by means of which the anticapitalist governments are intent upon establishing government omnipotence.

As soon as the economic freedom which the market economy grants to its members is removed, all political liberties and bills of rights become humbug. We may define freedom as that state of affairs in which the individual’s discretion to choose is not constrained by government violence beyond the margin within which the praxeological law restricts it anyway.

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

September 1981

comments powered by Disqus

EMAIL UPDATES

* indicates required
Sign me up for...

CURRENT ISSUE

April 2014

Around the world, people are struggling to throw off authoritarianism, with deeply mixed results. From Egypt to Venezuela, determined people build networks to overthrow their regimes, but as yet we have not learned to live without Leviathan. In this issue, Michael Malice and Gary Dudney discuss their glimpses inside totalitarian regimes, while Sarah Skwire and Michael Nolan look at how totalitarian regimes grind down the individual--and how individuals fight back. Plus, Jeffrey Tucker identifies a strain in libertarianism that, left unchecked, could reduce even our vibrant movement to something that is analogous to the grim aesthetic of architectural brutalism. The struggle for our lives and freedom is a struggle for beauty; it begins inside each of us.
Download Free PDF

PAST ISSUES

SUBSCRIBE

RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION