The Vampire Economy, by Guenter Reimann (1939) is a rare and wonderful thing: a detailed account of how the Nazis crushed the private sector and hamstrung the economy with vast regulations, violations of property rights, inflation, price controls, and taxes.
The author emigrated from Germany and worked on Wall Street after the war. One very odd thing: Reimann was a member of the Communist Party.
THE business organization of private enterprise has had to be reorganized in accordance with the new state of things. Departments which previously were the heart of a firm have become of minor importance. Other departments which either did not exist or which had only auxiliary functions have become dominant and have usurped the real functions of management.
Formerly the purchasing agent and the salesmanager were among the most important members of a business organization. Today the emphasis has shifted and a curious new business aide, a sort of combination “gobetween” and public relations counsel, is now all-important.
His jobâ€”not the least interesting outgrowth of the Nazi economic systemâ€”is to maintain good personal relations with officials in the Economic Ministry, where he is an almost daily caller; he studies all the new regulations and decrees, knows how to interpret them in relation to his particular firm and is able to guess at what may be permitted or forbidden. In other words, it is his business to know how far one can go without being caught. He also develops special knowledge on how to camouflage private interests so that they appear to be “interests of the community” or of the State.
Graphic from page 2