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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/12380/the-motor-of-leviathan/

The Motor of Leviathan

April 4, 2010 by

According to Le Monde, crisis is the “Motor of Capitalism”.

As I responded in Reddit/Economics (which is not nearly as Bolshie as Reddit/Politics), it is ironic that the article depicts Hank Paulson as a representative of capitalism, as he is one of the greatest anti-capitalist figures in modern history. But it is rather fitting that he is depicted in the article as a Leviathan-like sea monster. For, as Robert Higgs explains, crisis is actually the motor of Leviathan, the interventionist state. And as Mises explained, intervention-bred crises can lead to a vicious cycle which spirals toward, not capitalism, but socialism:

“The interventionist policies as practiced for many decades by all governments of the capitalistic West have brought about all those effects which the economists predicted. There are wars and civil wars, ruthless oppression of the masses by clusters of self-appointed dictators, economic depressions, mass unemployment, capital consumption, famines.

However, it is not these catastrophic events which have led to the crisis of interventionism. The interventionist doctrinaires and their followers explain all these undesired consequences as the unavoidable features of capitalism. As they see it, it is precisely these disasters that clearly demonstrate the necessity of intensifying interventionism.”(…)

All varieties of interference with the market phenomena not only fail to achieve the ends aimed at by their authors and supporters, but bring about a state of affairs which-from the point of view of their authors’ and advocates’ valuations–is less desirable than the previous state of affairs which they were designed to alter. If one wants to correct their manifest unsuitableness and preposterousness by supplementing the first acts of intervention with more and more of such acts, one must go farther and farther until the market economy has been entirely destroyed and socialism has been substituted for it.

As soon as something happens in the economy that any of the various bureaucratic institutions does not like or that arouses the anger of a pressure group, people clamor for new interventions, controls, and restrictions. But for the inefficiency of the law-givers and the laxity, carelessness, and corruption of many of the functionaries, the last vestiges of the market economy would have long since disappeared.

{ 5 comments }

Bruce Koerber April 4, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Henry Paulson is one of the members of the inner circle of the unConstitutional coup. He is one of the decision-makers behind the economic terrorism perpetuated as part of the imperialistic pursuit of worldwide hegemony.

Associating him with capitalism is a perfect example of the distortion of what capitalism truly is. He is an ego-driven interventionist not a capitalist.

newson April 4, 2010 at 9:37 pm

what centre-left paper ever got it’s economics straight, anyway?

Seattle April 5, 2010 at 4:51 am

…Am I the only one who thought the article made zero sense? It seems to me the author is incapable of imagining any economic system other than corporatism, thus the only solution they are capable of seeing to any economic problem is to change the handout structure. To him, a truly free market is like a world without atoms.

Jim April 5, 2010 at 7:51 am

it is ironic that the article depicts Hank Paulson as a representative of capitalism, as he is one of the greatest anti-capitalist figures in modern history

Why is it ironic for a newspapaer to use a word in the sense in which it is commonly understood by the vast majoprity of readers?

Renaud Fillieule April 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm

The author, André Orléan, is a French marxist, one of the founders of the so-called “regulation theory” (théorie de la régulation) which depicts the economical evolution as a succession of regulated phases punctuated by crises that trigger a change of economic régime. Few economists, but many sociologists, take this paradigm seriously in France.

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