Front Page Titles (by Subject) 7: Summary - Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis
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7: Summary - Ludwig von Mises, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis 
Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, trans. J. Kahane, Foreword by F.A. Hayek (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1981).
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Race, nationality, citizenship, estate-rights: these things directly affect action. It does not matter whether a party ideology unites all those belonging to the same race or nation, the same state or estate. The fact that races, nations, states or estates exist determines human action even when there is no ideology to guide members of a group in a certain direction. A German’s thought and actions are influenced by the kind of mind he has acquired as a member of the German language community. Whether or not he is influenced by nationalist party ideology is here unimportant. As a German he thinks and acts differently from the Rumanian whose thought the history of the Rumanian, and not the German, language determines.
The nationalist party ideology is a factor quite independent of one’s membership of any given nation. Various mutually contradictory nationalist party ideologies can exist concurrently and fight for the individual’s soul; on the other hand there may be no sort of nationalist party ideology in existence. A party ideology is always something specially introduced from outside into the already established membership of a certain social group, and for which it thereafter forms a special source of action. Mere living in a society does not create party doctrine in one’s mind. Party attitudes always arise from a theory of what is and is not advantageous. Social life may, under certain circumstances, predispose one to accept a certain ideology, and occasionally party doctrines are so formed that they specially attract members of a particular social group. But the ideology must always be kept separate from the actual social and natural being.
Social being itself is ideological in so far as society is a product of human will, and so of human thought. The materialistic conception of history errs profoundly when it regards social life as independent of thought.
If the position of the individual in the co-operative organism of economic life is considered to be his class position, then what we have said above applies also to the class. But again, one has to differentiate here, too, between the influences to which his class position exposes the individual and the political ideologies which influence him. The fact that he occupies his particular position in society has its influence on the life of the bank clerk. Whether he deduces from this that he ought to advocate the capitalist or the socialist policy depends on the ideas which dominate him.
But if one conceives “class” in the Marxist sense, as a tripartite division of society into capitalists, land owners, and workers, it loses all definiteness. It becomes nothing more than a fiction to justify a concrete party-political ideology. Thus the concepts Bourgeoisie, Working Class, Proletariat are fictions, the cognitive value of which depends on the theory in the service of which they are applied. This theory is the Marxian doctrine that class conflict is irreconcilable. If we consider this theory inadmissible, then no class differences and no class conflicts in the Marxian sense exist. If we prove that, correctly understood, the interests of all members of society are not in conflict, we have shown not merely that the Marxian idea of a conflict of interests is untenable: we have discarded as valueless the very concept of class as it figures in socialist theory. For only within the framework of this theory has the attempt to classify society into capitalists, landowners, and workers any meaning. Outside this theory it is as purposeless as, for example, any attempt to lump together all fair or all dlark people—unless indeed we propose, with certain race theorists, to give special importance to the colour of the hair, whether as an external characteristic or as a constitutive element.
The Materialist Conception of History