What follows is a snippet of an extract from an interesting essay by Ludwig von Mises, entitled 'The Clash of Group Interests', written in 1945. It is worth calling attention to the world he is describing, that being the post-WWII world, where central planning was proclaimed as the wave of the future. Things are different now. The system we labour under today is described as the very apotheosis of capitalism, and all perceived evils can thus be attributed to its operation. Never mind, I'll deal with that later. Here's the quote:
One of the objections raised against the liberal philosophy recommending a free-market society runs this way: "Mankind can never go back to any system of the past. Capitalism is done for because it was the social organization of the 19th century, an epoch that has passed away."
However, what these would-be progressives are supporting is tantamount to a return to the social organization of the ages preceding the "industrial revolution." The various measures of economic nationalism are a replica of the policies of mercantilism. The jurisdictional conflicts between labor unions do not essentially differ from the struggles between medieval guilds and inns. Like the absolute princes of 17th- and 18th-century Europe, these moderns are aiming at a system under which the government undertakes the direction of all economic activities of its citizens. It is not consistent to exclude beforehand the return to the policies of Cobden and Bright if one does not find any fault in returning to the policies of Louis XIV and Colbert.