Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER III: RESULTS OF EXPERIENCE - Where and Why Public Ownership has Failed
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
CHAPTER III: RESULTS OF EXPERIENCE - Yves Guyot, Where and Why Public Ownership has Failed 
Where and Why Public Ownership has Failed, trans. H.F. Baker (London: Macmillan, 1914).
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 text is in the public domain.
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.
RESULTS OF EXPERIENCE
The Meagreness of the Socialist Program.—Those Who Have Office and Those Who Want It.—The Programs of Government and Municipal Operation Condemned by Experience, and from the Double Point of View of Quality and Cost of Service.—State and Municipal Ownership Show Incontestable Inferiority.—The Utility and Danger of Such Experiments.
Socialist programs are pitifully meagre. They would not amount to anything but for the weakness and hunger for popularity of candidates for office and the desire of deputies, municipal councillors and mayors to eliminate their competitors. Political ambitions form the cornerstones of such programs, and, if officials did not find in them promises of an increase in power for themselves and of employment for their sons, sons-in-law and nephews they would vanish in air.
Against a wider extension of public economic responsibilities nothing but experience stands in the way. But it condemns unreservedly any such extension. From the point of view, both of the quality and of the cost of service, state and municipal ownership show incontestable inferiority to private enterprise.
The experiments with State and Municipal Socialism have resulted so disastrously that their opponents might even see an advantage in hastening and multiplying them. Unfortunately human experiments are not like those of a laboratory. When they occur they invariably displace and break something. They provoke passions; they create conflicting interests. They exert material influences which may be ruinous, and moral influences which can be even more destructive. After men have become addicted to habits of mendacity and spoliation, it is difficult to teach them not to look upon the services that they render as pure and simple sources of remuneration.