Front Page Titles (by Subject) 2: The Theory of Anti-Monopolistic Policy - Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
2: The Theory of Anti-Monopolistic Policy - 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
The Theory of Anti-Monopolistic Policy
The theory of monopoly goes deeper than the Marxian theory of concentration. According to it, free competition, the life blood of a society based on private ownership in the means of production, is weakened by the steady growth of monopoly. The disadvantages bred within the economy by the unlimited rule of private monopolies are, however, so great that society has no choice but to transform private monopoly by socialization into state ownership. However great an evil Socialism might be, it would be less harmful than private monopoly. Should it prove impossible to counteract the tendency towards monopoly in ever widening fields of production, then private ownership in the means of production is already doomed.6
It is clear that this doctrine calls for a searching investigation: first, as to whether evolution is really in the direction of monopoly control, and secondly as to what are the economic effects of such monopoly. Here one has to proceed with special care. The time at which this doctrine was first expounded was generally not favourable to the theoretical study of such problems. The emotional judgment of appearances rather than the cool examination of the essence of things was the order of the day. Even the arguments of such an outstanding economist as J. B. Clark are imbued with the popular hatred of the trusts. Utterances typical of contemporary politicians are to be found in the report of the German Socialization Commission of February 15th, 1919, where it was affirmed as “indisputable” that the monopolistic position of the German coal industry “constitutes an independent power which is incompatible with the nature of the modern state, and not merely the socialist one.” It was, in the opinion of the Commission, “unnecessary to discuss anew the question whether and to what degree this power is misused to the detriment of the remaining members of society, those to whom it is raw material, the consumers, and the workers; its existence suffices to make evident the necessity for completely abolishing it.”7
The Concentration of Establishments
[6. ]Clark, Essentials of Economic Theory, pp. 374 ff., 397.
[7. ]Report of the Sozialisierungskommission über die Frage der Sozialisierung des Kohlenbergbaus vom 31 Juli 1920 (Appendix: Vorläufiger Bericht vom 15 Februar 1919), op. cit., p. 32.