Bureaucracy is a political book written by Austrian School economist and libertarian thinker Ludwig von Mises. The author's stated motivation in writing the book is his concern with the spread of socialist ideals and the increasing bureaucratization of economic life. While he does not deny the necessity of certain bureaucratic structures for the smooth operation of any civilized state, he disagrees with the extent to which it has come to dominate the public life of European countries and the United States. The author's purpose is to demonstrate that the negative aspects of bureaucracy are not a result of bad policies or corruption as the public tends to think but are necessarily built into bureaucratic structures due to the very tasks these structures have to deal with. The main body of the book is therefore devoted to a comparison between private enterprise on the one hand and bureaucratic agencies/public enterprise on the other.
"There are two methods for the conduct of affairs within the frame of human society, i.e., peaceful cooperation among men. One is bureaucratic management; the other is profit management.
It is well known that profit management is highly unpopular in our age. People are anxious to substitute all-round planning by a central authority—i.e., socialism—for the supremacy of the consumers as operative in the market economy. But at the same time the same people severely blame the shortcomings of bureaucratism. They do not see that in clamoring for the suppression of profit management they themselves are asking for more and more bureaucracy, even for full bureaucratization of every sphere of human affairs."
Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (1881-1973) was the acknowledged leader of the Austrian School of economic thought, a prodigious originator in economic theory, and a prolific author. Mises’ writings and lectures encompassed economic theory, history, epistemology, government, and political philosophy. His contributions to economic theory include important clarifications on the quantity theory of money, the theory of the trade cycle, the integration of monetary theory with economic theory in general, and a demonstration that socialism must fail because it cannot solve the problem of economic calculation. Mises was the first scholar to recognize that economics is part of a larger science in human action, a science which Mises called “praxeology”. He taught at the University of Vienna and later at New York University. Mises wrote many works on two related economic themes: 1. monetary economics, inflation, and the role of government, and 2. the differences between government-controlled economies and free trade. His influential work on economic freedoms, their causes and consequences, brought him to highlight the interrelationships between economic and non-economic freedoms in societies, and the appropriate role for government.