Front Page Titles (by Subject) 1.: Past Failures - Bureaucracy
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1.: Past Failures - Ludwig von Mises, Bureaucracy 
Bureaucracy, edited and with a Foreword by Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2007).
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We must acknowledge the fact that hitherto all endeavors to stop the further advance of bureaucratization and socialization have been in vain. In the twenty-seven years that have passed since President Wilson led America into the war to make the world safe for democracy, democracy has lost more and more ground. Despotism triumphs in most of the European countries. Even America has adopted policies which, some decades ago, it disparaged as “Prussian.” Mankind is manifestly moving toward totalitarianism. The rising generation yearns for full government control of every sphere of life.
Learned lawyers have published excellent treatises depicting the progressive substitution of administrative arbitrariness for the rule of law.1 They have told the story of how the undermining of self-government makes all the rights of the individual citizen disappear and results in a hyperdespotism of the oriental style. But the socialists do not care a whit for freedom and private initiative.
Neither have satirical books been more successful than the ponderous tomes of the lawyers. Some of the most eminent writers of the nineteenth century—Balzac, Dickens, Gogol, Maupassant, Courteline—have struck devastating blows against bureaucratism. Aldous Huxley was even courageous enough to make socialism’s dreamed paradise the target of his sardonic irony. The public was delighted. But his readers rushed nonetheless to apply for jobs with the government.
Some people like to make fun of especially extravagant features of bureaucracy. It is indeed curious that the government of the world’s most powerful and richest nation runs an office—the Bureau of Home Economics of the United States Department of Agriculture—one of the tasks of which is to design trousers “for the very small child who is just learning to dress himself.” But for many of our contemporaries there is nothing ridiculous in this. They aim at a mode of government under which the production of hose, underwear, and all other useful things should be a task of the authorities.
All learned criticisms and witty satires are of no avail because they do not hit the core of the problem. Bureaucratization is only a particular feature of socialization. The main matter is: Capitalism or Socialism? Which?
The supporters of socialism contend that capitalism is an unfair system of exploitation, that it is extremely detrimental to the welfare of the masses and that it results in misery, degradation, and progressive pauperization of the immense majority. On the other hand, they depict their socialist utopia as a promised land of milk and honey in which everybody will be happy and rich. Are they right or are they wrong? This is the question.
[1. ]It may suffice to quote two of the most brilliant books of this class: The New Despotism by Lord Hewart of Bury, Lord Chief Justice of England (New York, 1929), and Our Wonderland of Bureaucracy by James M. Beck, former Solicitor General of the United States (New York, 1932). It is noteworthy that the latter book was published before the inauguration of the New Deal.