≡ Menu

Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 101 of the 1969 Arlington House edition of Ludwig von Mises’s 1944 Yale University Press book, Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War (available free-of-charge on-line here):

Mere acquaintance with Western methods of production, transportation, and marketing would have proved useless for the backward nations. They did not have the capital for the adoption of the new processes. It was not difficult to imitate the technique of the West. But it was almost impossible to transplant the mentalities and ideologies which had created the social, legal, constitutional, and political milieu from which these modern technological improvements had sprung. An environment which could make for domestic capital accumulation was not so easy to produce as a modern factory. The new industrial system was but the effect of the new spirit of liberalism and capitalism. It was the outcome of a mentality which cared more about serving the consumer than about wars, conquest, and the preservation of old customs. The essential feature of the advanced West was not its technique but its moral atmosphere which encouraged saving, capital formation, entrepreneurship, business, and peaceful competition.

DBx: Yes.

The people of countries that rely for their economic growth chiefly on copying industrial and commercial methods developed by, and market-tested in, more-entrepreneurial and innovative countries will never be as prosperous as are the people of entrepreneurial and innovative countries. Even less prosperous are the people of countries that rely largely for their economic ‘successes’ on stealing from entrepreneurial and innovative countries.

Economic prosperity for the masses is far less a matter of physical activity and the accumulation of capital than it is of gumption, creativity, permissionless innovation, and the freedom of individuals to express their preferences as consumers and to adjust, as producers, to the fine details of often-changing economic realities.