Front Page Titles (by Subject) 3.: The Restrictive Measure as a Privilege - Interventionism: An Economic Analysis
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3.: The Restrictive Measure as a Privilege - Ludwig von Mises, Interventionism: An Economic Analysis 
Interventionism: An Economic Analysis, Edited with a Foreword by Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).
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Interventionism was written by Ludwig von Mises in 1940 and is here translated from the original German by Thomas Francis McManus and Heinrich Bund. Editorial additions and index © 1998, 2011 by Liberty Fund, Inc. Interventionism was originally published in 1998 by Foundation for Economic Education, Inc.
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The Restrictive Measure as a Privilege
The policy of restrictive measures was believed to be a policy favoring producers, while the policy which does not want to impair the working of the market process was considered to be a policy favoring consumers. The advocates of the former policy justify it by pointing out that it was not the task of the authority to pursue a policy for the benefit of those who merely consume the products of other people’s efforts; rather the authority should serve the man actively engaged in production. But in a system which is based on the division of labor, all are both producers and consumers. There are no consumers whose income would not flow from production. The consumer is either an entrepreneur, an owner of means of production, or a worker. Or he is, as a member of a family, being supported by an entrepreneur, an owner of means of production, or by a worker. Each producer, on the other hand, is necessarily also a consumer. It is naive to claim that a single measure or a single policy would protect the interests of producers against the interests of consumers. The only statement which can properly be made is that almost every restrictive measure1 brings advantages to a limited group of people while it affects adversely all others, or at least a majority of others. The interventions, therefore, may be regarded as privileges, which are granted to some at the expense of others.
Privileges benefit the recipient and impair the position of the other members of the system. If the privileges benefit a limited number of persons only, they fulfill their purpose; they benefit them at the expense of others not so favored. If, however, all are equally benefited, then the system of privileges becomes nonsensical. As long as protective tariffs benefit only some of the producers or various groups of producers to a different extent, then some producers are still privileged. But if all producers are equally protected, then the policy becomes truly self-defeating. Then nobody gains but everybody loses.
[1. ]The limitation implied here by the word “almost” should not mean that there are restrictive measures which do not disadvantage anyone; it should indicate only that some such measures not only do not benefit anyone, but put everybody at a disadvantage.