The control of wealth is the control over human life. So if a centrally planned economy decides how wealth is to be created and how it is to be distributed, then they really have a control over human life.

That’s from Arnold Beichman, the journalist and scholar, who died Feb. 17 at the age of 96. The Heritage Foundation InsiderOnline Blog retrieved the quote from a 2004 article in a Columbia College alumni magazine. There was also this:

Centrally planned societies, Beichman says, are essentially fascist. “Even with computers, you can’t plan, because the human being does not allow himself to be planned. Today he smokes cigarettes; tomorrow he’s off cigarettes. How do you plan for that? Today he drinks vodka, tomorrow he drinks white wine. How do you plan for that? … It’s the open, the market society, that will determine what is made and what is sold and what is bought.”


  • http://blog.acton.org Jordan

    These comments illustrate quite nicely why and how the anthropological doctrine of free choice is so critical in its implications for a proper understanding of the market economy.

  • http://www.theupsstorelocal.com/4553/ PATRICK POWERS

    I recall a similar quote heading a chapter in Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, attributed, I think, to Stalin.
    If one considers the centrally orchestrated decline in the US and World economies, with attendant unemployment and necessary dependence on government (centralized)unemployment, then a variety of concepts for government mischief come to mind.

    I’ve enjoyed Ayn Rand, not for her depiction of virtue, but her detailed analysis of economic evil.