by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
The planned economy was all the rage in 1937, when Prentice-Hall published a 1,000-page tome on The Planned Society: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: A Symposium by Thirty-Five Economists, Sociologists, and Statesmen. The “question that confronts us today is not if we shall plan, but how we shall plan,” wrote Lewis Mumford in the Foreword. All the contributors—Keynesian, socialist, communist, and fascist—agreed with that point, including such luminaries as Sidney Hook, Benito Mussolini, and Joseph Stalin.
But the book was honest. It linked Stalin and Keynes, fascism and the New Deal. The plans were not identical, of course, but all agreed on government “rationality” as versus the “chaos” of the free market.
Most of the authors advocated the “mixed economy,” Mises’s name for an admixture of capitalism and socialism. Such a combination, he showed, is necessarily unstable, and our own mixed economy is tilting towards statism, with such regulatory disasters in the last few years as the Clean Air Act, the Americans With Disabilities Act, and the Civil Rights Act.