Modern Capitalism and Economic Progress

Modern Capitalism and Economic Progress

Modern Capitalism and Economic Progress

Modern Capitalism and Economic Progress

Excerpt

A book in defence of capitalism by a teacher of economics will be deemed eccentric by those who believe that all economists are Socialists nowadays. The growth of this strange myth may be partly due to the fact that those economists who are Socialists have written so many more books and articles for the general reader than those who retain a strong belief in private enterprise; but it is largely the outcome of a good deal of confusion in the use of terms. If a "Socialist" is one who dislikes extreme inequality of income or of opportunity, then I suppose all economists are "Socialists it is a very different matter, however, if "Socialism is taken to mean the destruction of private enterprise and the public ownership of all the means of production. Similarly, if the title of "planner" can be earned by supporting an active policy to maintain a high level of employment, then it may be true that all economists are "planners"; but they are not all "planners" by any means if "planning" implies the abandonment of the price mechanism and the profit motive in favour of authoritarian production programmes enforced by means of controls. Even Lord Keynes has been described as a "socialistic planner", which must surely be regarded as a surprising label for that great liberal economist.

The same ambiguity may lead to some confusion in working out the political implications of an attack on nationalisation and pervasive planning. All political parties, apart from the Communist and Fascist Parties, contain strong progressive and liberal elements, and I am well aware that some members of the Socialist Party would resent the . . .

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