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【書介】Time Will Run Back | Henry Hazlitt


摘錄:Time Will Run Back | Henry Hazlitt

文:吳莉瑋
圖:Ludwig von Mises Institute

《Time Will Run Back》是 Henry Hazlitt 在 1951 年發表的小說,情節主要在探討自由主義與社會主義的經濟理論,相較於學術論文或是經濟學專書裡的抽象解釋與容易喧賓奪主的註解或引用來源,閱讀小說的讀者能夠輕鬆地隨著故事情節發展,一步一步地跟著故事主角一起探討與體驗,深刻又一氣呵成地了解自由主義與社會主義這兩個不同政治主張下的經濟學現象。

Hazzlitt 首先探討社會主義下的規劃經濟樣貌及其難以避免的經濟困局,接著在故事主角逐步推動的自由經濟改革下,將奧地利經濟學派的經濟學理論融合在主角與其幕僚的蘇格拉底式討論中,將成本、價格、市場、貨幣、交換學、供需平衡、所有權、企業家精神、政府干預的結果等等經濟理論內容,以經濟分析的角度配合情節發展的種種社會現象,進行淺顯易懂的推演說明。

有興趣的讀者,可以在 Mises Institute 網站免費下載閱讀,雖然《Time Will Run Back》的故事張力與娛樂性可能不比《Nighteen Eighty-Four》,但透過 Hazlitt 循序漸進的經濟分析,可以概觀瞭解奧地利學派的經濟學概念,相當適合做為入門讀物。

【故事簡介】

Hazlitt 以虛構的純共產主義世界 Wonworld 為舞台,在 Wonworld 裡,所有與自由主義相關的知識都被刻意抹除,人民從出生就開始接受純正的共產主義教育,雖然理論上所有人皆平等,但世界政府仍因社會運作之必要而將人民依照社會功能分類,並將所有生產活動交由世界政府規劃統籌,人民只能按照政府指派的方式生活,沒有選擇工作、教育、住所、娛樂甚至是食物的自由,幾乎所有人都被教育為服從領導、信仰共產主義思想、犧牲自我以成全社會整體意識的復刻雷鋒

相較於批判、誇大式的政治小說手法,Hazlitt 筆下的 Wonworld 政府嚴謹地依照馬克思的教條指導建構社會制度,為了統籌實行「規劃經濟」,無可避免地出現集權中央政府,為了做出最後決策,共產主義社會必然出現一個最高領導人,由於共產社會在理論上僅存在一個意志,因此這個最高領導人也就順理成章地成為極權者。

延續這樣一套共產主義的邏輯與社會運作,Wonworld 在政治上出現類似《Nighteen Eighty-Four》的恐懼統治氛圍,而在經濟上,人民只能依照政府指定方式生活而不被允許自由交換配給物資,自由市場的消滅使得政府失去評估生產成本與供需成效的經濟計算基準,造成中央政府主導的生產計劃難以衡量成效,不僅計畫成果與人民需求脫鉤,也難以在其後的計畫中修正投入各項生產的資源分配,Wonworld 面臨眾多難以克服的經濟困局。

故事主角 Peter 為 Wonworld 最高領導人 Stalenin 的獨子,由於其母親的堅持,Peter 從小被隔離於孤島,未曾受過 Wonworld 式教育的他,因為 Stalenin 晚年健康狀況不佳而被接回 Wonworld,進入中央政府組織後逐漸學習有關 Wonworld 的各種社會知識,隨著 Stalenin 的實際退隱,Peter 在與覬位者的鬥爭中漸漸取代 Stalenin 而成為 Wonworld 實際上的最高領導人。

面臨陌生又問題重重的社會困境及龐大的決策責任,促使 Peter 重新思考 Wonworld 現有系統的經濟基礎,透過親身體驗、社會觀察以及身邊幕僚提供的訊息,他開始懷疑共產主義的經濟理論是否正確,為了讓 Wonworld 的人民擁有更好的生活,Peter 著手進行一系列經濟改革,透過 Peter 的摸索以及他與幕僚 Adam 間的討論,他發現 Wonworld 人民的生活在開始擁有部分交換物資的自由後普遍獲得改善,隨著經濟政策的逐漸放寬,Wonworld 的社會制度也隨之變化。

故事隨著覬位者的政變,迫使 Peter 流亡到美州省,並依照原先自由經濟改革的概念逐漸建立了與 Wonworld 相抗衡的新世界 Freeworld,Peter 與 Adam 在 Freeworld 中進行了徹底的自由經濟試驗獲得了相當大的成效,接著劇情急轉直下,藉由 Wonworld 發動的戰爭、Peter 的昏迷、Adam 的戰時經濟干預政策、戰爭的勝利、轉型民主政體等等情境,把情境逐漸帶到似曾相似的現實生活經驗,在猜想 Freeworld 的未來究竟會如何的同時,不禁也想著,我們的未來究竟會如何?

【書摘】

Page 38 | Location 578-579 | Added on Sunday, October 28, 2012 1:25:26 PM
Everybody in Wonworld lived in fear. Peter now realized that the Dictator himself lived in as great fear as anyone else. He had to rule by fear because he was himself ruled by fear. 
Page 47 | Location 716-718 | Added on Monday, October 29, 2012 8:39:03 AM
Nobody had the courage to defend a capitalism that was true to the basic premises of capitalism. Each had his own little plan for a ‘reformed’ capitalism. They could stave off communism, they thought, only by ‘correcting abuses’; but all their plans for correcting abuses were steps toward socialism and communism. 
Page 55 | Location 841-844 | Added on Monday, October 29, 2012 8:58:22 AM
For everyone who used the Marxist terms—capitalism, finance capitalism, bourgeoisie, petty bourgeoisie, proletariat, the masses, the class struggle, class antagonism, capitalist imperialism, historical determinism, dialectic materialism, utopianism, capitalist exploitation—whoever used these terms accepted along with them the concepts that must inevitably lead him to the Marxist conclusions. 
Page 56 | Location 844-845 | Added on Monday, October 29, 2012 8:58:40 AM
Why not, then, complete and nail down the intellectual triumph by eradicating every word embodying a bourgeois concept and substituting for it words embodying the Marxist concepts? 
Wonworld was cemented together by a single international language! And this language itself was so constructed, and its words so defined, that nobody could henceforth arrive at any but Marxist conclusions! 
Page 57 | Location 867-869 | Added on Monday, October 29, 2012 9:02:19 AM
“You don’t seem to understand. What I have given you is the present official history of that dead world. It is the history that the Protectors of Wonworld have voted to teach. When they wiped out all the old books, they had to decide what history to put in its place. What I have told you is the agreed-upon history.” 
Page 60 | Location 905-907 | Added on Monday, October 29, 2012 9:51:16 AM
The version of Karl Marx’s Capital that is available in the State bookstores is, of course, an abridged and expurgated volume. It is not a mere translation into the Marxanto of Marx’s original book.” 
“Because if our communist ancestors had retained all the passages in which Marx denounced capitalism it might have been possible for someone to reconstruct from them what capitalism was actually like, and to try to restore it. It would be obviously foolish to allow any such idea to get into anyone’s head. The people, left to themselves, are capable of any sort of perverse idea.” 
Page 65 | Location 986-989 | Added on Monday, October 29, 2012 11:29:42 AM
The children were taught to repeat endlessly that Stalenin was omniscient, that their parents had no claim on them, that their only loyalty war to the State, that private property was theft, that hell meant capitalism and heaven socialism. “Do they understand what all these phrases mean?” asked Peter. “They will when they grow up,” answered Bolshekov, “and then they will be incapable of believing anything else.” 
Page 67 | Location 1014-1017 | Added on Monday, October 29, 2012 11:42:47 AM
“We do not ask in Wonworld whether a statement is ‘true’ or not. We only ask: What good will it do? And what good—or harm—a statement does depends on whom you are talking to. It is obviously important, for example, that the Proletarians should believe that Wonworld has made tremendous progress; but it is also important that the Central Committee should know exactly how much progress it has made.” 
Page 71 | Location 1078-1079 | Added on Monday, October 29, 2012 11:54:27 AM
“It is a wonderful and inspiring thing,” he said, “when one thinks that everybody in the world is simultaneously reading the same editorial, imbibing the same views, reaching precisely the same conclusions. What harmony!” 
Page 73 | Location 1107-1109 | Added on Monday, October 29, 2012 12:36:15 PM
There must be heroes to inspire the people to greater achievement, greater conformity to the party line, and greater relentlessness in tracking down deviationists; and there must be villains as scapegoats and as examples to be shunned. We on he newspaper decide who they are.” 
Page 74 | Location 1120-1122 | Added on Monday, October 29, 2012 12:40:47 PM
His principal impression was of mountains of paper work. “Every pin produced in Wonworld is recorded,” he was proudly told. It certainly was. At least in triplicate, and sometimes through endless carbon copies. Peter wondered whether the time and expense of recording the pins weren’t greater than that of making them. 
Page 94 | Location 1425-1429 | Added on Monday, October 29, 2012 1:26:25 PM
“But everyone, No. 13, ought to work to the peak of his abilities! It’s his duty to work to the peak of his abilities! Why shouldn’t he? He’s no longer being exploited by a master class!” “But what he really fears under our present system, No. 2, is that he is being exploited by the slackness or malingering of his fellow workers. And perhaps his suspicions of others arise from his knowledge that he himself is secretly trying to exploit them by his own slackness or malingering—” 
Page 105 | Location 1595-1597 | Added on Monday, October 29, 2012 9:47:12 PM
Liberty meant responsibility. It compelled decisions. Liberty was compulsion. To be free to decide meant that you had to decide. And you had no one to blame for the result of bad decisions but yourself. 
Page 130 | Location 1979-1983 | Added on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 8:26:20 AM
Society consists, and consists necessarily, of a small body of rulers and a large body of ruled. And this body of rulers itself consists of a hierarchy, finally topped by one man with the power to resolve disputes and make final decisions. So when we say that ‘society’ does this or that, we mean that the State does this or that. And when we say the State, we mean the ruling hierarchy. We mean the Protectors; we mean the Party; we mean the Central Committee; we mean the Politburo; we mean merely the Dictator himself—or,” Peter grinned, “the Dictator’s Deputy.” 
Page 141 | Location 2145-2147 | Added on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 8:49:53 AM
“The kings were actually, on the average, very commonplace men. Many of them were outright idiots. Their alleged superiority did not exist. They often led their countries to disaster. They started wars easily and often because they could get somebody else to fight them. Their policies were based purely on their own narrow interests.” 
Page 143 | Location 2186-2188 | Added on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 8:55:30 AM
socialism is incompatible with democracy, incompatible with the expression of any free, uncoerced majority will. You are forcing me to admit that the reign of slavery and terror imposed by my father and Bolshekov is not an accident, not some monstrous perversion of the socialist ideal, but merely the logical and inevitable outcome of the socialist ideal! 
Page 145 | Location 2209-2209 | Added on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 8:57:41 AM
“We can never achieve good ends except by good means,” 
Page 152 | Location 2323-2325 | Added on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 9:44:53 AM
Wonworld were horrible: that he knew. But you couldn’t reform them simply by rushing in and demanding hysterically that everything be changed. He had been self-complacent and priggish to assume that he was the only man of good will. 
Page 156 | Location 2379-2380 | Added on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 9:55:51 AM
Forms, flash, ostentation, pomp, ceremony, distort the judgment of everybody, he thought, even those who pride themselves most on their realism or cynicism. 
Page 171 | Location 2616-2622 | Added on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 1:05:12 PM
We must, of course, have socialism and central planning. Anything else is unthinkable. But we have been forced step by step to one depressing conclusion after another. We have been forced to conclude that under socialism and central planning we can have no economic liberty for the individual and therefore no liberty of speech or thought; that under socialism and central planning we can have no free, informed and unintimidated public opinion, and therefore no meaningful democracy. And now we are forced to conclude that we cannot even figure under socialism; we cannot even calculate; we do not know how to produce goods in proportion to human needs and wants; we cannot tell whether or when or how much we are misdirecting and wasting labor and materials and other precious resources.... We are working completely in the dark, by guess and by goose step.” 
Page 176 | Location 2696-2698 | Added on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 1:14:39 PM
The gain from the exchange occurs in each case not because of some inherent difference in the relative objective value of the goods themselves, but because each party to the exchange more fully meets his own desires by making it. Both parties to the exchange gain, because both are better satisfied—otherwise the exchange would not have been made.” 
Page 186 | Location 2838-2841 | Added on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 2:18:06 PM
These market adjustments were anything but “automatic.” They took place solely because there was an alert group of people ready to seize upon the slightest discrepancy to make a transaction profitable to themselves. It was precisely the constant alertness and the constant initiative of these specialists that prevented any but the most minute and short-lived discrepancies from occurring. 
Page 188 | Location 2872-2873 | Added on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 2:23:47 PM
For they found that they could make the best and quickest bargains by taking cigarette coupons first, and then re-exchanging them for what they ultimately wanted, instead of trying to make a direct exchange. 
Page 198 | Location 3033-3034 | Added on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 9:10:08 PM
Things are not valued merely in relation to their scarcity. They are valued in relation to how much they are wanted in relation to their scarcity.” 
Page 202 | Location 3092-3095 | Added on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 9:33:31 PM
The ideal productive system would be one that produced the maximum overall satisfactions with the minimum overall sacrifices or cost. The hundreds of different consumption goods must be produced in the relative proportions and by the methods that secure this result. Otherwise we are wasting our sacrifices and our resources or failing to obtain the maximum welfare from them.” 
Page 207 | Location 3158-3159 | Added on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 9:46:28 PM
“‘Trial and error’ doesn’t mean anything, Adams, unless you have some definite way of recognizing and measuring the extent of the error. Otherwise you don’t know what to correct for in your next trial. 
Page 225 | Location 3436-3440 | Added on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 8:32:38 AM
The first thing the workers in each industry had done had been to exclude anybody else from entering the industry. Each industry had quickly discovered that it could exact the best terms of exchange for its particular product by rendering it relatively scarce. There had then developed a competitive race for scarcity instead of for production. The workers in each industry voted themselves shorter and shorter hours. Each industry was either withholding goods or threatening to suspend production altogether until it got the prices it demanded for the particular kind of goods it had to supply. 
It was inherent in the system he had set up. He had allowed each industry to become an unrestrained monopoly. The more essential or irreplaceable the product that it made, therefore, the more it could and would squeeze everybody else. Inherent in his system had been the assumption that production existed primarily for the benefit of the producers—whereas, he now saw, its only real justification was what it provided for consumers. 
Page 226 | Location 3459-3459 | Added on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 8:35:30 AM
Private ownership of the means of production!” 
Page 227 | Location 3476-3479 | Added on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 8:37:52 AM
The draft went on to explain what “ownership” would mean. It would be a system of legal rights, established and protected by the government. Each individual would have the right to use as he saw fit the particular implement or machine to which he held legal title. He would not have to wait for directions from the Central Planning Board for every move he made. He would be able to share his tools or machines voluntarily with others, to “lease” them or exchange them on any terms mutually agreeable 
Page 253 | Location 3873-3874 | Added on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 10:12:28 AM
The cure for a low price was a low price. The cure for a high price was a high price. The cure for an excessive profit was an excessive profit. 
Page 256 | Location 3916-3918 | Added on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 10:21:11 AM
It seems to me that a market economy, the private enterprise system, adopts exactly the right in-between solution—the solution of constant but gradual advance. It replaces old machines with new ones, and old models with better models; but it can’t make the entire change-over instantaneously, and that would not be economical even if it could.” 
Page 259 | Location 3962-3966 | Added on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 10:31:55 AM
Patelli’s invention of double-entry bookkeeping and cost accounting will go down as two of the great triumphs of the human mind. Such discoveries were not possible under Wonworld’s socialist system. They enable the individual enterpriser to calculate with the greatest nicety, not only for his organization as a whole but for each department within it and for each product, whether resources are being wasted and misdirected or whether they are being used to produce the maximum return.” 
Each of these men is ‘selfishly’ seeking merely his own private profit. And yet under this new system we have invented, under this private ownership of the means of production, each of these men acts as if he were being led by an invisible hand to produce the things that the whole community most wants, to produce them in the right proportions, and to produce them by the most economical methods.” 
Page 261 | Location 3994-3995 | Added on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 12:59:49 PM
We must draft our laws in such a way as to raise the level of competition. We must so draft them that a man who seeks his personal profit cannot attain that selfish goal except by promoting the public welfare.” 
Therefore we must forbid theft, fraud, deceit and all misrepresentation of goods. We must illegalize every form of force, violence, extortion, intimidation, coercion. We must compel men to keep their contractual promises, to pay their just obligations and to fulfill their contracts. The corollary to private property is private responsibility. We must not allow a private industry to thrive at the cost of killing or maiming its workers, or injuring consumers of its products, or menacing the public health, or polluting public streams, or polluting the air, or smudging whole communities with the residue of smoke. We must force every industry to pay the costs of the injury it inflicts on the person or property of others.” 
Page 262 | Location 4013-4014 | Added on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 1:02:09 PM
individual freedom is impossible without individual responsibility.” 
“despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot.” 
Page 263 | Location 4025-4026 | Added on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 1:03:41 PM
Perhaps the masses of mankind will never abide by a moral code unless they feel a deep sense of reverence for something....” 
‘Purpose’ describes a purely human attitude—the use of present limited means to attain future ends.” 
Page 267 | Location 4080-4082 | Added on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 1:12:14 PM
For Marx’s unworkable dictum: From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs, we have substituted a new, workable principle: To each what he creates.” 
Page 271 | Location 4141-4143 | Added on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 1:20:19 PM
Of course the more competition we have, the greater this tendency will be. So the effort of our government must be to encourage the maximum of healthy competition, to keep every field of competition constantly open to newcomers.” 
Page 282 | Location 4312-4316 | Added on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 1:43:41 PM
interest springs out of the fact that people value present goods more than future goods of the same kind and quality. In other words, future goods are bought and sold at a discount as against present goods. Interest, he contends, is the ratio of the value assigned to want-satisfaction in the immediate future and the value assigned to want-satisfaction in remoter periods of the future. It is a ratio of commodity prices, not a price itself. In other words, Patelli says that interest arises out of what he calls ‘time-preference.’ “ 
we always tend to underestimate our future needs and to overestimate our future supplies.” 
Page 287 | Location 4395-4397 | Added on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 1:55:29 PM
The enterpriser is the man who decides whether a new business shall be started, or whether an old business shall be contracted or expanded, or whether to turn from making one product to another. The enterprisers are the men who decide what shall be made, and how much of it, and by what method. There could be no more crucial function in any economy.” 
Page 288 | Location 4399-4401 | Added on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 8:36:17 PM
The enterprisers are the men who seem to decide what shall be made, and how much of it, and by what method. Under our new system the real decisions are made by the whole body of consumers. The enterprisers merely try to guess what the wants and preferences of the consumers are going to be. The consumers are the real bosses. 
Uncertainty regarding the future inevitably exists in human affairs, particularly in economic affairs. And somebody has to bear it.” 
Page 289 | Location 4422-4427 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 8:25:42 AM
First of all, the losses caused by their mistakes fall primarily on the enterprisers themselves. And because they know this in advance, because they have the hope of big profits on the one hand and the fear of big losses on the other, they usually estimate very carefully before they go into a new venture. Therefore their mistakes are incomparably smaller and fewer than those of government bureaucrats. In addition to this, Adams, there is a relentless process of selection and weeding out going on all the time. If the enterpriser’s ventures are good, he can use his profits from them for still bigger ventures; if his ventures are bad, his losses prevent him from undertaking new ones.” 
Page 291 | Location 4460-4462 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 8:31:41 AM
In an expanding economy, in which capital is constantly increasing, there is a transient profit. But even that is constantly tending to disappear into higher wages or higher prices for productive goods or lower prices for consumers.” 
Page 292 | Location 4464-4467 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 8:32:31 AM
Profits, in other words, are not a net price or cost that the community has to pay to the riskbearers. The unsuccessful risk-bearers themselves pay that cost. The people who talk of ‘unreasonable’ profits, as I reminded you a while back, never mention ‘unreasonable’ losses. Any attempt to take away profits from the successful would destroy the vital function that enterprisers play in the private enterprise system.” 
Page 294 | Location 4494-4497 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 8:37:27 AM
Now if the people outside the lottery looked only at the winners of the huge prizes and thought these were typical, and forgot about the huge mass of losers, and if they began to talk as if these winnings were made at their—the outsiders’—expense, they would be talking the same way you are talking about profits under our new free enterprise system.” 
Page 295 | Location 4514-4518 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 8:41:09 AM
‘Profitable’ action of any sort is merely action that achieves, or partly achieves, the end we are seeking, regardless of whether that end is self-regarding or not.... I can’t understand this unpopularity of ‘profit’ except as envy of the successful. Why should there be any more stigma attached to the word ‘profit’ than to the word ‘wage’ or ‘salary’? Why should one form of income be considered less honorable than another? Why should the people who are afraid to take risks begrudge the rewards of those who have taken them successfully?” 
Page 296 | Location 4534-4536 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 8:43:59 AM
Everyone will be willing to take it for granted that those who have less than himself have less because they have contributed less value to the world. But almost no one will be willing to admit that those who have more wealth and income than himself have it because they have contributed more value to the world. 
Page 299 | Location 4582-4583 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 8:50:27 AM
It was found that in the long run, in fact, people judged a product by the product itself. For the great majority of products, the most skillful advertising soon proved to be impotent if the product itself was not good. 
Page 305 | Location 4670-4672 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 9:04:29 AM
What your suggested ethical system implies, Adams, is that someone at the top—or some underling bureaucrat, for that matter—knows better what is good for you than you do yourself. It is an arrogant assumption of superiority on the part of the ruling clique. It is the essence of the. authoritarian attitude. It treats the people like irresponsible wards of the government. It treats the common man with contempt.” 
Page 306 | Location 4678-4679 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 9:08:21 AM
Our laws must seek to give people the fullest liberty possible. And the best way they can do that is to restrain only the liberty of each individual to infringe upon the equal liberty of others. 
Page 307 | Location 4703-4704 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 10:54:00 AM
Therefore our laws must do everything possible to close these avenues to success and to create conditions under which people can succeed only by superior zeal and ability in serving their fellows. 
Page 309 | Location 4736-4738 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 11:00:52 AM
Money is merely a means. If we are discussing personal motives, we must go further and ask what each of us is trying to get money for. Money is wanted as a medium of exchange for something else. It is one means—though a highly important one—of achieving our ultimate purposes. What do we intend to do with the money when we get it? This is the main place where the question of motive comes in. 
Page 316 | Location 4832-4833 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 12:22:27 PM
Marxist separation of ‘employers’ and ‘workers’ into antagonistic and irreconcilable ‘classes’ is nonsensical. The relationship of the employer to the worker is essentially cooperative; it is basically a partnership in production.” 
Page 317 | Location 4842-4846 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 12:25:39 PM
Simple freedom! You set men free, and each turns to doing what he most wishes to do, or what he thinks he can do best, or what he thinks will bring him the greatest means to happiness. The secret is the freedom of each man to make a living in his own way; the freedom to produce what he wishes; the freedom to keep what he creates, or to share it or dispose of it in accordance with the dictates of his own and not some bureaucrat’s conscience; the freedom to associate with whom he wishes; the freedom to consume what he wishes; the freedom to make and to correct his own mistakes—” 
Private ownership of the means of production, Adams, is certainly a great idea. But that is because it is an inescapable corollary, an integral part, of the great idea, which is individual freedom. 
Page 318 | Location 4864-4870 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 12:32:49 PM
“Wonworld is a hell; but no one inside dares to criticize it, which is precisely one of the things that makes it a hell. Worse, everyone inside is compelled continually to praise it. And the result is that stupid people, hearing nothing but praise of the system, think they must be living in a heaven, though they are sick and terrorized and wretched. And in Freeworld we have created what is—at least by comparison—a heaven. And one of the very things that makes it a comparative heaven is the freedom to criticize it. But stupid people, when they hear so much criticism, begin to think they must be living in a hell, though no one in our recorded history was ever as well off in material and cultural resources as they are.... I confess I don’t know any answer to this paradox... except, perhaps, still more freedom....” 
Page 333 | Location 5088-5092 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 12:59:57 PM
For what we are trying to do now is to maximize the production of goods needed in war and to minimize the production of goods needed only in peace. And the way to do that most quickly is to make the profits of war production more attractive and the profits of mere ‘peace-goods’ production less attractive. That would also quickly bring about a higher wage scale in war-goods production than in civiliangoods production. And all this could be most quickly accomplished under a free and flexible price and wage system, not under an arbitrarily petrified price and wage system.” 
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Democracy won’t always make the right decisions, he thought; its merit will lie in the law of averages. 
Page 346 | Location 5289-5292 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 1:24:15 PM
No system, I suppose, can be any better than the men and women who operate it. If they are selfish, stupid, unjust, hungry for power at the expense of their fellows, I don’t suppose our new system, or any conceivable system, can wipe out such vices or save people from themselves. But under a free system man has the opportunity, at least, to do his best, and to show the moral and intellectual stature to which he is capable of growing....” 
Page 347 | Location 5306-5309 | Added on Thursday, November 1, 2012 1:26:26 PM
“Isn’t that enough? To try to play with perfection, and never succeed, but always to feel one’s self getting better; to help to enlarge, if I can, that great manmade world of harmony that seems to be beyond the vicissitudes of nature itself; to walk along the beach, to look out on the sea, to—” he felt embarrassed—“to love and be loved—to raise a family. Isn’t that enough to fill out the rest of my life?” 
After all, my new definition of a good society is simple: it is one in which it is possible for a man who loves Mozart to devote himself to Mozart. In other words, it is one in which an artist can feel free to devote himself exclusively to his art.