Tag Archives: economics

The Latest GI To Die in Iraq

M. Vance

by Laurence M. Vance: A
Budding Red-State Fascist

The Iraq War
is officially over – for the third time.

The first time
the Iraq War ended was on May 1, 2003, when President Bush announced
– in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner – that “the
United States and our allies have prevailed” and “major
combat operations in Iraq have ended.”

Evidently major
combat operations had not quite ended since 4,300 more American
soldiers then died
for a lie
while President Bush promised to the families of those
killed to “complete the mission so that their child or their

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Socialist Theater 101

Socialist Theater 101

The consensus of economists today is that socialism generally doesn’t work. Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek are seen as the victors of the socialist calculation debate, which took place in the first half of the twentieth century. For the most part this consensus is new. Originally the market socialists were seen as victorious; their technical neoclassical models of trial and error, and the duration and seeming success of the Soviet Union, appeared to indicate that the two Austrian economists’ claims against socialism were wrong. There were two problems, however. First, the market-socialist models never addressed the knowledge problem at the center of the Mises/Hayek critique. Second, the Soviet Union was not what it appeared.

The closest the Soviet Union came to actual pure socialism was the period known as War Communism, 1918 to 1921. This period is unanimously seen as a disaster, even among socialists. Production fell in most if not all industries, and millions starved to death. From then on the Communist Party struggled to keep hold of both their Marxist ideology and their power. Naturally the latter took precedence, and as a result the price system, which they originally wanted to abolish, took on a larger and larger role. Henry Hazlitt discusses Josef Stalin’s struggle with exactly this problem in today’s document, the October 20, 1952, Newsweek Business Tides column, “Stalin as Classical Economist.”

The Soviets certainly liked to keep up appearances. At a glance the Soviet economy looked centrally planned. The planning board for each industry set output levels, and the State owned de jure all means of production. A closer look, however, revealed a different story. As Boettke and Anderson pointed out, the Soviet economy was closer to that of a mercantilist economy, a heavily regulated market economy effectively run by rent-seeking government officials and factory managers. De facto, the factory managers

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