Freeman

March 1991

Volume 41, 1991

FEATURES

Why Communism Failed

MARCH 01, 1991 by BETTINA BIEN GREAVES

Three years after the Russian Revolution, an Austrian economist, Ludwig von Mises, argued that Communism would fail and explained why. Communism, or socialism, couldn't succeed, Mises wrote in 1920, because it had abolished free markets so that officials had no market prices to guide them in planning production. Mises was relatively unknown when he made his controversial forecast, but he acquired some international renown later as the leading spokesman of the Austrian (free market) school of economics.

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Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
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