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Ludwig von Mises' novel, Planned Anarchy, is an excellently written work that strongly criticizes socialism and deftly counters the misguided view of those who want to support it amid its apparent flaws and failures. Mises, a well-known social philosopher and economist, brings his wealth of knowledge to this book, which is closely linked to his other work, ‘economic computation in the social commonwealth.' His well-organized account concisely analyzes interventionism and the detrimental impact it has on the economy, amid supporters' claims that it is the right solution. Additionally, he gives a good account of the relationship between socialism and communism, explaining the historical background of the two concepts and how this is relevant today.
Interventionism has over the years proved to be the wrong choice. Mises’ covers this clearly in his chapter ‘failure of interventionism’ where he explains extensively, and gives reasons and examples why interventionism should not be a choice to be considered. Interventionists have obviously not agreed to this, claiming that they are against monopoly and tyranny. Moreover, they claim that they advocate for social justice and the welfare of the poor. Mises’ argument on interventionism is clearly reflected in various economies today. In countries where policies of interventionists have coexisted with the free market, people benefit from the free market policies and not those by interventionists. Mises actually asks governments to evaluate and expose the misleading policies by interventionists. Actually, most people are not aware of the real effects of interventionism; they are lied to by the interventionists who only solve short-term problems.
Mises also gives a very good account of the relationship between socialism and communism. The public's criticism of capitalism as the reason behind economic struggles shows that people have not heard about the ideas Mises puts across regarding the negative impact of socialism. Mises even goes ahead to give a good example of how misinformation back in the Second World War played out. Russian Marxists misleadingly argued that capitalism was economically destroying Nazi Germany while denying that the regime of Hitler was founded on socialism. Thereafter, Hitler used policies by interventionists and socialism to find his way. Mises’ deep insight into the history of socialism and communism helps one better understand how the economy is fairing on in different parts of the world. In addition to this, his book also gives a good historical account of how the totalitarian state, Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, and Lenin rose.
However, Ludwig von Mises’ book has its downsides. It is particularly advanced and will not suit someone who has just started his or her economics journey. The economic concepts and readings make it difficult for an economic newbie to get the most out of the book. In addition to this, it is quite short, limiting Mises’ explanations on certain issues. However, the book still meets its targeted purpose.
To conclude, Ludwig von Mises' book, Planned Chaos, is a well-written piece that skilfully critiques socialism and counters the arguments presented by the proponents of socialism; complementing his other work ‘economic calculation in the social commonwealth’. He impressively gives a detailed account of how interventionism is working against economic empowerment, and also expounds on the relationship between socialism and communism, explaining their historical background. It is indeed a great piece for proponents of capitalism, socialists, and lovers of economics.
Dickinson, H. D., and Ludwig von Mises. 1937. "Socialism.". The Economic Journal 47 (185): 96. doi:10.2307/2225285.
Machlup, Fritz, and Ludwig von Mises. 1954. "The Theory Of Money And Credit". Econometrica 22 (3): 401. doi:10.2307/1907371.
McCain, Kevin. 2015. "Interventionism Defended". Logos & Episteme 6 (1): 61-73. doi:10.5840/logos-episteme2015613.
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