“Without exception all political parties promise their supporters
a higher real income. There is no difference in this respect between
nationalists and internationalists and between the supporters of a
market economy and the advocates of either socialism or interventionism. If a party asks its supporters to make sacrifices for its cause,
it always explains these sacrifices as the necessary temporary means
for the attainment of the ultimate goal, the improvement of the
material well-being of its members. Each party considers it as an
insidious plot against its prestige and its survival if somebody ventures
to question the capacity of its projects to make the group members
more prosperous. Each party regards with a deadly hatred the
economists embarking upon such a critique.
All varieties of the producers’ policy are advocated on the ground
of their alleged ability to raise the parry members’ standard of living.
Protectionism and economic self-suficiency, labor union pressure
and compulsion, labor legislation, minimum wage rates, public spending, credit expansion, subsidies, and other makeshifts are always recommended by their advocates as the most suitable or the only means
to increase the real income of the people for whose votes they canvass.
Every contemporary statesman or politician invariably tells his voters:
My program will make you as affluent as conditions may permit, while
my adversaries’ program will bring you want and misery.
It is true that some secluded intellectuals in their esoteric circles
talk differently. They proclaim the priority of what they call eternaI
absolute values and feign in their declamations-not in their persona1
conduct-a disdain of things secular and transitory. But the public
ignores such utterances. The main goal of present-day political action
is to secure for the rcspective pressure group memberships the highest material well-being. The only way for a leader to succeed is to
instill in people the conviction that hiiprogram best serves the attainment of this goal.
What is wrong with the producers’ policies is their faulty economics.”
Human Action, p. 315, Ludwig von Mises