Front Page Titles (by Subject) Utility and Progress - Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1
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Utility and Progress - Leonard P. Liggio, Literature of Liberty, January/March 1978, vol. 1, No. 1 
Literature of Liberty: A Review of Contemporary Liberal Thought was published first by the Cato Institute (1978-1979) and later by the Institute for Humane Studies (1980-1982) under the editorial direction of Leonard P. Liggio.
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Utility and Progress
“J. S. Mill: Socialist or Libertarian.” Prophets of Freedom and Enterprise. Edited by Michael Ivens. London: Kogan Page, 1975.
Mill is generally regarded as becoming a socialist late in life. But a careful examination of his later works suggests he was considerably closer to a position advocating personal liberty. He was not certain, for instance, that common or socialized ownership would satisfactorily bring intellects into stimulating collision so as to produce mental and moral progress.
Mill's major concern was with ownership by free association (rather than state ownership), groups which would presumably compete in the market. He also opposed confiscatory death taxes, progressive taxation, and subsidy or monopoly of workers' cooperatives. He totally rejected monopoly in any form and regarded every restriction on competition as evil. He favored restricting government to promulgating information but then leaving individuals free to use their own means.
Even where government was delivering the mail or providing for the sick in public hospitals, Mill favored private competition. Similarly with education: “A government which can mould...the people from their youth upwards, can do with them whatever it pleases.”
Even in his last work on socialism, Mill warned of the dangers of making all decisions politically and collectively. He urged that communes be tested in a market framework. He was skeptical about rooting out money-making ambition, fearing that struggles for preeminence and influence would produce bitterness when the money-making desire was diverted to seek gratification in other directions.