Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Classics of Conservatism - part XV - Ludwig von Mises - Planned Chaos

Click here for a previous edition of "Classics of Conservatism.'

This month's book selection is short (90 pages) and powerful. In this small book, Planned Chaos, Professor von Mises describes how various government intervention programs become counterproductive and destroy the economic activity that they are intended to help.

Many years have passed since I found this book on a college library shelf, so I will rely on a Mises.org blurb:
The title comes from Mises's description of the reality of central planning and socialism, whether of the national variety (Nazism) or the international variety (communism). Rather than create an orderly society, the attempt to central plan has precisely the opposite effect. By short-circuiting the price mechanism and forcing people into economic lives contrary to their own chosing, central planning destroys the capital base and creates economic randomness that eventually ends in killing prosperity.

Of all of the Mises books, this one serves as the best introductory volume. Many of Mises' works are more complicated and rely on abstract economic theory. Planned Chaos reflects these themes, but with more focus on concrete political issues. All of Mises' works reflect much more depth than the spin one receives (from both sides) in modern political debate.

After reading Planned Chaos (or any of Mises' books), one obtains a thorough grounding in ultimate issues. This grounding provides us with stability and confidence as we become immune to the relative drivel that pours out of the mouths of modern leftists.

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