Bureaucracy contrasts the two forms of economic management—that of a free-market economy and that of a bureaucracy. In the market economy entrepreneurs are driven to serve consumers by their desire to earn profits and to avoid losses. In a bureaucracy, the managers must comply with orders issued by the legislative body under which they operate; they may not spend without authorization, and they may not deviate from the path prescribed by law.
Ludwig von Mises here lucidly demonstrates how the efficiencies of private ownership and control of public good production ultimately trump the guesswork of publicly administered “planning” through codes and “officialdom.”
Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) was the leading spokesman of the Austrian School of economics throughout most of the twentieth century.
Bettina Bien Greaves is a former resident scholar and trustee of the Foundation for Economic Education and was a senior staff member at FEE from 1951 to 1999.