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Inequality of Wealth and Incomes by Ludwig von Mises The market economy - capitalism - is based on private ownership of the material means of production and private entrepreneurship The consumers by their buying or abstention from buying ultimately determine what should be produced and in what quantity and quality They render profitable the affairs of those businessmen who best comply with their wishes and unprofitable the affairs of those who do not produce what they are asking for most urgently Profits convey control of the factors of production into the hands of those who are employing them for the best possible satisfaction of the most urgent needs of the consumers and losses withdraw them from the control of the inefficient businessmen In a market economy not sabotaged by the government the owners of property are mandataries of the consumers as it were On the market a daily repeated plebiscite determines who should own what and how much It is the consumers who make some people rich and other people penniless Inequality of wealth and incomes is an essential feature of the market economy It is the implement that makes the consumers supreme in giving them the power to force all those engaged in production to comply with their orders It forces all those engaged in production to the utmost exertion in the service of the consumers It makes competition work He who best serves the consumers profits most and accumulates riches In a society of the type that Adam Ferguson Saint-Simon and Herbert Spencer called militaristic and present-day Americans call feudal private property of land was the fruit of violent usurpation or of donations on the part of the conquering warlord Some people owned more some less and some nothing because the chieftain had determined it that way In such a society it was correct to assert that the abundance of the great landowners was the corollary of the indigence
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