- Capitalism and Alternatives -

the philosophy of the filing clerk

Posted by: Frenchy on November 27, 1999 at 13:16:44:

In Reply to: Oil, substitutability, and socialism posted by Stuart Gort on November 26, 1999 at 22:33:13:

: Truthfully Sam, I look forward to the day that viable substitutes are developed in lieu of oil. It will run out someday and that is a certainty. Trusting the oil companies to find suitable substitutes in a hurry might be bad policy and I would hope and expect that numerous companies are researching the subject now. Nevertheless, the oil companies are self-interested and logic dictates that of all the companies doing research now, they are probably leading the pack. They have the resources and the financial imperative to do so. I have to imagine that the self-interest of the oil companies will translate well for the consumer.

: The next point is whether a collectivist or green system could administer such issues more effectively than a free market system. The collectivists speculate, hope, and pontificate that they have the experience, savvy, and motivation to handle things. The history of man and his foibles does not convince me that these humanists are even close to understanding man well enough to succeed on a grand scale.

Yeah, I think you might have something there Stu. Here's something to bring the point home to the 'humanists' here.

"...Lenin himself and most of his fellow-conspirators never learned anything about the operation of the market economy and never wanted to. All they knew about capitalism was that Marx had described it as the worst of all evils. They were professional revolutionaries. The only sources of their earnings were the party funds which were fed by voluntary and more often involuntary-extorted-contributions and subscriptions and by violent "expropriations." But, before 1917, as exiles in Western and Central Europe, some of the comrades occasionally held subaltern routine jobs in business firms. It was their experience-the experience of clerks who had to fill out forms and blanks, to copy letters, to enter figures into books and to file papers-which provided Lenin with all information he had acquired about entrepreneurial activities.
Lenin correctly distinguishes between the work of the entrepreneurs on the one hand, and that of "the scientifically educated staff of engineers, agronomists and so on" on the other hand. These experts and technologists are mainly executors of orders. They obey under capitalism and the capitalists, they will obey under socialism "the armed workers." The function of the capitalists and entrepreneurs is different; it is, according to Lenin, "control of production and distribution, of labor and products." Now the tasks of the entrepreneurs and capitalists are in fact the determination of the purposes for which the factors of production are to be employed in order to serve in the best possible way the wants of the consumers-i.e., to determine what should be produced, in what quantities and in what quality. However, this is not the meaning that Lenin attaches to the term "control." As a Marxian he was unaware of the problems the conduct of production activities has to face under any imaginable system of social organization: the inevitable scarcity of the factors of production, the uncertainty of future conditions for which production has to provide, and the necessity of picking out from the bewildering multitude of technological methods suitable for the attainment of ends already chosen those which obstruct as little as possible the attainment of other ends-i.e.; those with which the cost of production is lowest. No allusion to these matters can be found in the writings of Marx and Engels. All that Lenin learned about business offices was that it required a lot of scribbling, recording and ciphering. Thus,he declares that "accounting and control" are the chief things neccessary for the organizing and correct functioning of society. But "accounting and control," he goes on saying, have already been "simplified by capitalism to the utmost, till they have become the extraordinarily simple operations of watching, recording and issuing receipts, within the reach of anybody who can read and write and knows the first four rules of arithmetic."*
Here we have the philosophy of the filing clerk in its fullest glory."

From "The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality" by Ludwig Von Mises
*Lenin , State and Revolution (Little Lenin Library, No. 14, published by International Publishers, NY) pp 83-84.

By repressing the entreprenuer and capitalist Socialist/Communist nations have never been and never will be innovators on the scale needed to solve economic problems.
On a side note, Lenin did realize that the revolution had fizzled out when he instituted his first 5 Year Plan. This gave more economic freedom to the serfs to grow their own food after collectivizing their farms had proven to be a failure.

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