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In his cornerstone work, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises attacks the foundations of socialism, arguing that its ideals will always result in failure. This challenge to socialism sparked a debate that raged for years to come and earned Mises great reverence among friends of liberty.
While explaining why the socialist mentality fails in actual practice, Mises further asserts that “Socialism is not in the least what it pretends to be. It is not the pioneer of a better and finer world, but the spoiler of what thousands of years of civilization have created. It does not build; it destroys. For destruction is the essence of it. It produces nothing, it only consumes what the social order based on private ownership in the means of production has created.” “Socialism knows no freedom of choice in occupation. Everyone has to do what he is told to do and to go where he is sent.” “For it is an essential difference between capitalist and socialist production, that under capitalism men provide for themselves, while under Socialism they are provided for.”
Notwithstanding his numerous doubters and intellectual adversaries, time has proven Mises’ theories correct. In this regard, Hayek fondly notes “the rare lucidity of his exposition, his astounding historical erudition, and his deep pessimism about the future of our civilization – a pessimism which led him often to predictions that did not come true as soon as he had expected but that were usually confirmed in the end. I believe the world would be a better place if Ludwig von Mises had more often been listened to.”