Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government
Thomas J. DiLorenzo
Thomas DiLorenzo is probably best known to the public for his revisionist studies of Lincoln, but he has a wide range of economic and historical interests. Organized Crime, a collection of 52 short articles by him, shows again and again his keen eye for the striking historical detail that exactly illustrates the point he wants to make.
It will come as no surprise to readers of the Mises Daily that price control does not work. But DiLorenzo still manages to come up with an unexpected point about this familiar topic. The Nazi leader Hermann Goering warned the American occupation authorities that they stood in danger of repeating the mistakes of his own recently fallen regime. Speaking to the American correspondent (and, by the way, later American Ambassador to Switzerland) Henry Taylor, Goering said,
Your America is doing many things in the economic field which we found out caused us so much trouble. You are trying to control peoples’ wages and prices — peoples’ work. If you do that you must control peoples’ lives. And no country can do that part way. I tried and it failed. Nor can any country do it all the way either. I tried that too and it failed. You are no better planners than we. I should think your economists would read what happened here. (p. 5)
Unfortunately the American government has not managed to equal the level of insight here displayed by the late and unlamented Reichsmarschall. The Obama administration brought suit against
a proposed merger between AT&T and T-Mobile USA. According to the New York Times on August 31, 2011, stopping the merger would supposedly “help save jobs of American workers.” (p. 24)
To this contention, DiLorenzo offers a brilliant riposte. Just as the mercantilists wrongly thought that the way to national wealth was to amass gold and silver, so do the modern opponents of economic progress falsely believe that full employment requires that existing jobs be conserved: “The Obama mercantilists apparently believed that existing jobs, not gold, must be hoarded” (p. 25).