Page:Rise and Fall of Society.djvu/29

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Economics Versus Politics

and prices and capital accumulations have laws of their own, laws which are beyond the purview of the policeman.

The assumption that economics is subservient to politics stems from a logical fallacy. Since the State (the machinery of politics) can and does control human behavior, and since men are always engaged in the making of a living, in which the laws of economics operate, it seems to follow that in controlling men the State can also bend these laws to its will. The reasoning is erroneous because it overlooks consequences. It is an invariable principle that men labor in order to satisfy their desires, or that the motive power of production is the prospect of consumption; in fact, a thing is not produced until it reaches the consumer. Hence, when the State intervenes in the economy, which it always does by way of confiscation, it hinders consumption and therefore production. The output of the producer is in proportion to his intake. It is not wilfulness that brings about this result; it is the working of an immutable natural law. The slave does not consciously "lay down on the job"; he is a poor producer because he is a poor consumer.

The evidence is that economics influences the character of politics, rather than the other way around. A communist State (which undertakes to disregard the laws of economics, as if they did not exist) is characterized by its preoccupation with force; it is a fear State. The aristocratic Greek city-State took its shape from the institution of slavery. In the nineteenth century, when the State, for purposes of its own, entered into partnership with the rising industrial class, we had the mercantilist or merchant State. The Welfare State is in fact an oligarchy of bureaucrats who, in return for the perquisites and prestige of office, undertake to confiscate and redistribute production according to formulae of their own