Statism (economy)



[1849]  Henry David Thoreau,  Civil Disobedience, The Riverside Press, Boston, 1960

-  "Trade and commerce, if they were not made of india-rubber, would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and, if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads." (p. 236)


[1934]  Benito Mussolini

-  "I tre quarti dell'economia italiana, industriale ed agricola, sono nelle mani dello Stato." (24 maggio 1934)


[1944]  F. A. Hayek,  The Road to Serfdom, Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1986

-  "Where, as was for example true in Germany as early as 1928, the central and local authorities directly control the use of more than half the national income (according to an official German estimate then, 53 per cent) they control indirectly the whole economic life of the nation." (p. 45)


[1949]  Benjamin M. Anderson,  Economics and the Public Welfare. A financial and economic history of the United States 1914-1946, Liberty Press, Indianapolis, 1979

-  "Prior to 1924 we had not regarded it as a federal government function to make employment. Employment was a matter for the people themselves to work out."
"When the federal government took over and undertook to solve the problem for them, grave disasters followed.
President Roosevelt inherited a huge volume of unemployment. He did not cure it. The figures for 1933 are worse than the figures for 1932. The years 1933 to 1939, inclusive, show unemployment exceeding 10 million for three years, including 1938, and show unemployment exceeding 9 million for five years out of the seven"
"The historical record is damning. The New Deal, viewed as an economic policy designed to promote employment, is condemned by the historical and statistical record."
"The New Deal policy ... had made capital timid in the extreme and had greatly retarded the application of new technology." (pp. 477-478)

-  "... the Great Depression of 1930-1939 [arouse out of] the efforts of the governments, and very specially of the government of the United States, to play God." (p. 483)


[1965]  Estes Kefauver,  In a Few Hands. Monopoly power in America, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1966

-  "Federal purchases of goods and services have, over the years, been rising steadily; in the future they may be expected to constitute about a quarter of the Gross National Product." (p. 243)


[1976]  Leopold Kohr,  The Over-developed Nations, Christopher Davies, Swansea, Wales, 1976

-  [taking into account the size of the government budget] "the United States ... ranks inspite of her capitalist heritage or individualist ideology today second only to China, the countries of the Soviet empire, and Great Britain in her advanced degree of socialization." (p. 93)

-  [In England] "an arch-conservative succession of British prime ministers as Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Sir Alec Douglas Home, Harold Macmillan, or Edward Heath could during their tenure do little with England except gracefully preside over what had become qualitatively if not quantitatively a socialist state." (p. 94)

-  "... under the anti-socialist presidency of Eisenhower, the socialist sector of the American economy had assumed greater proportions in a time of relative normalcy than under any other President. Thus, if President Truman was a socialist, as he was so often accused by his successor, President Eisenhower will, by comparison, have to be classed a Communist. And so will all who came after him." (p. 96)


[1980]  Milton Friedman and Rose Friedman,  Free to Choose, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1983

-  "If all we want are jobs, we can create any number - for example, have people dig holes and then fill them up again, or perform other useless tasks." "Our real objective is not just jobs but productive jobs - jobs that will mean more goods and services to consume." (p. 62)

 -  "... the New York State Government conducts lotteries and provides facilities for off-track betting on races. It advertises extensively to induce its citizens to buy lottery tickets and bet on the races - at terms that yield a very large profit to the government." (p. 173)

-  "Ask yourself what products are currently least satisfactory and have shown the least improvement over time. Postal service, elementary and secondary schooling, railroad passenger transport would surely be high on the list. Ask yourself which products are most satisfactory and have improved the most. Household appliances, television and radio sets, hi-fi equipment, computers, and we would add, supermarkets and shopping centers would surely come high on that list. The shoddy products are all produced by governments or government-regulated industries. The outstanding products are all produced by private enterprise with little or no government involvement. Yet the public - or a large part of it - has been persuaded that private enterprises produce shoddy products, that we need ever-vigilant government employees to keep business from foisting of unsafe, meretricious products at outrageous prices on ignorant, unsuspecting, vulnerable customers." (p. 230)

-  "... we know one thing very well : how to produce surpluses and shortages. Do you want a surplus? Have the government legislate a minimum price that is above the price that would otherwise prevail. That is what we have done at one time or another to produce surpluses of wheat, of sugar, of butter, of many other commodities. Do you want a shortage? Have the government legislate a maximum price that is below the price that would otherwise prevail. That is what New York City and, more recently, other cities have done for rental dwellings, and that is why they all suffer or will soon suffer from housing shortages." (pp. 260-261)

-  "Inflation is not a capitalist phenomenon. Yugoslavia, a communist country, has experienced one of the most rapid rates of inflation of any country in Europe; Switzerland, a bastion of capitalism, one of the lowest. Neither is inflation a communist phenomenon. China had little inflation under Mao; Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States - all largely capitalist countries - have experienced substantial inflation in the past decade. In the modern world, inflation is a printing press phenomenon." (pp. 298-299)

-  "... it is worth dwelling a bit longer on the proposition that inflation is a monetary phenomenon. Despite the importance of that proposition, despite the extensive historical evidence supporting it, it is still widely denied - in large part because of the smoke screen with which governments try to conceal their own responsibility for inflation." (p. 299)

-  "Inflation ... yields revenue [to the government] indirectly by automatically raising effective tax rates. As people's dollar incomes goes up with inflation, the income is pushed into higher brackets and taxed at a higher rate." (p. 314)


[1995]  Kenichi Ohmae,  The End of the Nation State. The rise of regional economis, HarperCollins, London, 1996

-  "The modern nation state itself - the artifact of the 18th and 19th centuries - has begun to crumble." (p. 7)

-  "In the first place, these long-established, politically defined units have much less to contribute - and much less freedom to make contributions. The painful irony is that, driven by a concern to boost over-all economic well-being, their efforts to assert traditional forms of economic sovereignty over the people and regions lying within their borders are now having precisely the opposite effect." "Second, and more to the point, the nation state is increasingly a nostalgic fiction. It makes even less sense today, for example, than it did a few years ago to speak of Italy or Russia or China as a single economic unit. Each is a motley combination of territories with vastly different needs and vastly different abilities to contribute.
... to treat them as if they represented a single economic entity is to operate on the basis of demonstrably false, implausible, and nonexistent averages. This may still be a political necessity, but it is a bald-faced economic lie." (pp. 11-12)

-  "The nation state has rapidly become an unnatural, even dysfunctional unit in terms of which to think about or organize economic activity" "By heritage and by experience, nation states are comfortable with the market's invisible hand only when they control the far more visible robot arm to which it is attached. By virtue of their orientation and their skills, they cannot help but make economic choices primarily in terms of their political, not their economic, consequences. By the rules of electoral logic and popular expectation, they must always sacrifice general, indirect, long-term benefits in favour of immediate, tangible, and focused payoffs. They are a willing hostage to the past because the future is a constituency that casts no vote. No wonder they have grown out of place as actors in a global economy. Virtually by definition, they are unable to put global logic - that is, the true "quality of life" interests of all their people - first in any of the decisions they make." (p. 42)


[1999]  Martin van Creveld,  The Rise and Decline of the State, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

-  "In Britain, total government expenditure had stood at approximately 15 per cent of GNP during the last years before the war [World War I], which itself represented an approximately 50 per cent increase since the Liberal government had taken office in 1906. By 1916-1917 it had reached fully 85 per cent, a figure so high that it could barely be improved on even during the largest conflict in history, i.e., World War II." (p. 235)

-  "... the hopes of those who had advocated nationalization, i.e., that it would permit profits to benefit the community as a whole instead of shareholders only, were seldom realized. From the late 1960s on, many of them began to hang like albatrosses round their owners' necks, employing vast numbers of superfluous workers and very often generated equally vast rivers of red ink. Thus, in Britain, all nationalized industries except gas were losing money, closing plants, and dismissing employees in a never-ending cycle which during the second half of the 1970s was reducing entire regions to poverty and despair. In Italy, the state-owned industrial holding companies were all bankrupt by the mid 1970s. By the mid-1980s, the 20 percent of so of Austrian industry that was in government hands had turned into monuments of inefficiency and red tape." (p. 369)


[1999]  Louis Bériot,  Abus de Bien Public. Enquête sur les milliards gaspillés par l'État. Les chiffres, les preuves, les responsables, Plon, Paris, 1999

-  "La dette que l'Etat a accumulée ... avoisine aujourd'hui les 10 000 milliards, plus que la production nationale d'une année. Ce n'est pas énorme, c'est dément. Ce chiffre seul devrait discréditer l'ensemble des élus et des hauts fonctionnaires pour leur gestion de la France. Dans moins de dix ans l'État sera en cessation de paiement." (p. 222)