Monday, January 29, 2018

Paul Leroy-Beaulieu: A Warning Voice of the Socialist Tragedy to Come

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

My latest article on the website of the Future of Freedom Foundation is on, “Paul Leroy-Beaulieu: A Warning Voice of the Socialist Tragedy to Come.”

The Russian Revolution, which occurred 100 years ago, left a legacy of terror, tyranny, mass murder and economic disaster over the last century. There were, however, some voices in the decades before the communist takeover in Russia that anticipated most of what happened in the attempted building of the socialist utopia.

One of them was the French classical liberal, free market economist, Paul Leroy-Beaulieu, who in his book, “Collectivism” (1885) explained what to expect from socialism-in-practice, and all said 30 years before Lenin and his communist accomplishes came to power in Russia. Anticipating much of the later arguments made by Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich A. Hayek, Leroy-Beaulieu explained the economic chaos that would follow from the abolition of private property in the means of production and an end to a market-based competitive price system to guide private enterprisers into coordinating changing supplies and demands.

He also warned of the forms and degree of personal, social and cultural tyranny that would follow from the establishment of the absolute socialist state, as the individual had no way to escape from the control, command and coercion of the central planning system. Civilization and its achievements would all be threatened with the coming of collectivism-in-practice. Anyone who read Paul Leroy-Beaulieu in the decades before the First World War could have no illusions about the socialist tragedy to come.



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