Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1: Socialism in History - Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis
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1: Socialism in History - 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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Socialism in History
Nothing is more difficult than to get a clear, historical perspective of a contemporary movement. The proximity of the phenomenon makes it difficult to recognize the whole in true proportion. Historical judgment above all demands distance.
Wherever Europeans or the descendants of European emigrants live, we see Socialism at work today; and in Asia it is the banner round which the antagonists of European civilization gather. If the intellectual dominance of Socialism remains unshaken, then in a short time the whole co-operative system of culture which Europe has built up during thousands of years will be shattered. For a socialist order of society is unrealizable. All efforts to realize Socialism lead only to the destruction of society. Factories, mines, and railways will come to a standstill, towns will be deserted. The population of the industrial territories will die out or migrate elsewhere. The farmer will return to the self-sufficiency of the closed, domestic economy. Without private ownership in the means of production there is, in the long run, no production other than a hand-to-mouth production for one’s own needs.
We need not describe in detail the cultural and political consequences of such a transformation. Nomad tribes from the Eastern steppes would again raid and pillage Europe, sweeping across it with swift cavalry. Who could resist them in the thinly populated land left defenceless after the weapons inherited from the higher technique of Capitalism had worn out?
This is one possibility. But there are others. It might so happen that some nations would remain socialistic while others returned to Capitalism. Then the socialist countries alone would proceed towards social decline. The capitalist countries would progress to a higher development of the division of labour until at last, driven by the fundamental social law to draw the greatest number of human beings into the personal division of labour, and the whole earth’s surface into the geographical division of labour, they would impose culture upon the backward nations or destroy them if they resisted. This has always been the historical fate of nations who have eschewed the road of capitalist development or who have halted prematurely upon it.
It may be that we exaggerate enormously the importance of the present day socialist movement. Perhaps it has no more significance than the outbreaks against private property in the medieval persecution of the Jews, in the Franciscan movement, or in the Reformation period. And the Bolshevism of Lenin and Trotsky is possibly no more important than Knipperdolling’s and Bockelson’s39 anabaptist rule in Münster; it is no greater in proportion to the latter than is modern Capitalism in proportion to the Capitalism of the sixteenth century. Just as civilization overcame those attacks so it may emerge stronger and purer from the upheavals of our time.
[39. ]Johann Bockelson (also spelled Beukelsz, Boockelszoon, Buckholdt or Bockholdt) (c. 1508-1535) was better known as John of Leiden. He and Bernt Knipperdolling (also Bernhardt or Berend Knipperdollinck) (c. 1490-1536) were both Dutch and followers of the Anabaptist Jan, or Johann Matthysz (also Matthisson or Matthyszoon). In 1533 the Anabaptists took over Munster. Bockelson became burgomaster. A charismatic fanatic, Bockelson often engaged in wild excesses, even beheading one of his four wives himself in a fit of frenzy. Anabaptist-held Munster was besieged and Matthysz was killed in 1534. Bockelson succeeded him as “prophet.” Knipperdolling, at first a rival of Bockelson’s, became an abject follower. Munster was taken from the Anabaptists in 1535. Both Bockelson and Knipperdolling were then cruelly executed (Pub.).