"The direction of all economic affairs is in the market society a task of the entrepreneurs. Theirs is the control of production. They are at the helm and steer the ship. A superficial observer would believe that they are supreme. But they are not. They are bound to obey unconditionally the captain's orders. The captain is the consumer. ...[Consumers] make poor people rich and rich people poor. They determine precisely what should be produced, in what quality, and in what quantities."
Ludwig von Mises
(1881-1973) Economist and social philosopher
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It isn't the consumer that determines what should be produced to any great extent today. What one needs, wants, the quality and quantity, are determined by industry itself and those that control corporate industry and shuffle it around the world depending where they want it placed for whatever purpose.
 -- Anon     
    In a free economy, the comment would be more accurate. By way of example: In a free economy, life and food production wouldn't be given patents and licenses. Thousands and thousands of varieties of food stock (apples, potatoes, grains, etc., etc., etc.) wouldn't have gone extinct without direct control of production and governmentally induced genocide. The consumer has had no voice in the matter.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
     -- jim k, austin      
    "Rich" people truly get their money only from the "poor". I think Mike is patently wrong. Most people still decide on a daily basis whether to buy this or that, now some majority and different majorities in different locales may make decisions that effect my ability to get every thing I want, but of course I can always go on the internet and have it shipped to me. I think of course of trying to buy grits in New York or Norwalk. But still the individual decision to buy this or that ultimiately controls the market and production.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
    Wow, you mean there is a truth that Waffler acknowledges!?
     -- Blue     
    Waffler, what of all the food stocks that I've mentioned, that are now extinct due to production controls, can you go on the internet and buy. There were 100/200 mpg carburetors that were available but made non-functional due to production controls on gasoline and other governmental interventions. Waffler, if I'm patently wrong, you can still find plans to build those carburetors but, on what internet site or anywhere else can you buy the gas to make those carburetors work? Again, the consumer had no say. Supply and demand is a great concept if production isn't monopolized. Once government de-industrializes a nation, as has occurred in the US through production controls (by way of example: for environmental reasons, through favoring one industry over another - one rule over another, TV signals, theft of profits, etc.) the consumer loses all control. Further, the quote reeks of keynesian economics which is now destroying this nation.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    A free enterprise system only works in a free society. We are abolishing both right now as we look at this site. The government thinks it is moral for it to decide who should be allowed to get rich and who shouldn't. I fear that it soon will be the case that if you are rich enough to make large political contributions to the right political party you can stay rich or get richer. Other wise you may find yourself on the outside. Remember Gates and Microsoft. Hate him or love him it doesn’t matter. He was in big trouble with Uncle Sam until he started to contribute money to the political parties and then all the trouble seemed to just go away.
     -- warren, olathe     
    Government schools do not teach being entrepreneurial -- in fact, entrepreneurs are treated as some sort of 'lucky' get rich quick types when in fact, as Mises alludes, are the backbone of 'progress.' Most are simply taught how to obey their bosses and protect their salaries by not rocking the boat. I understand Mike's point well, but Mises is just making a different point in the argument for private enterprise -- I think the Mises Institute will agree that business practiced in America today is slanted towards protecting government monopolies/subsidies than the entrepreneur.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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