Dangerous Historical Myths

As a follow-up to yesterday's post, here's a great piece about Dangerous Historical Myths:

Take the standard account of the Great Depression and the New Deal. In many ways the New Deal itself was one result of another historical myth: the widely received account of what had happened to the German economy in the first half of the twentieth century, particularly during World War I and the Third Reich. That myth probably did more harm than almost any other in that century.

Unrelated, but important: next time I hear someone say "Communism is good on paper, but ... " I am going to hit the speaker over the head with a copy of Mises's Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth. Good thing it's a short paperback.

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Communism is good.

Communism is good for some arthropods in the animal kingdom. Any time even the remotest glimmer of sapience appears in a species, communism falls apart.

When that happens...

"Communism is good on paper"

Whenever someone starts saying this, I immediately flare up with "Enslavement of all by all is good ? You must be OUT OF YOUR MIND !". That gets them everytime.

It depends on your definition of "communism" and "good"

If you look at things from a completely utilitarian perspective, and you consider some idealistic form of communism, in an ideal world: all the people willingly partake in the system and each person works to their potential then the wealth produced will be the highest possible and everybody will be happy.

Sounds nice, right? Well, people are not so idealistic, some will not be working as hard as they can, resources will be misallocated, and nobody will be happy, except the rich overlord running the whole thing.

The thrust of Mises's essay

The thrust of Mises's essay that I mentioned earlier was that even if people were angels, the central economic authority would have literally no rational way to allocate resources.

Our sin nature screws us every time

The major observable truth of the Christian religion is our sin nature. Call it defective DNA, whatever. The BIG myth is that the human race has become more moral over the years. No, we have become more sanitary and more efficient at killing.

The failure to admit this is the major error of libertarian theory. Instead of trying to design a government for moral people, we need to have libertarians who admit they are greedy liars think about the best civilizing government for greedy liars.

A failure to communicate?

When people say "Communism is good on paper," they're just bragging about how they've finally trained lil' Communism to stop piddling on the carpet.

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