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By Harold Joseph Laski

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They are intent on selling their products. If the consumers do not buy the goods offered to them, the businessman cannot recover the outlays made. He loses his money. If he fails to adjust his procedure to the wishes of the consumers he will very soon be removed from his eminent 22 Bureaucracy position at the helm. Other men who did better in satisfying the demand of the consumers replace him. The real bosses, in the capitalist system of market economy, are the consumers. They, by their buying and by their abstention from buying, decide who should own the capital and run the plants.

It tolerates no expression of dissent. It is the transformation of society into a strictly disciplined labor-army—as the advocates of socialism say—or into a penitentiary—as its opponents say. At any rate it is the radical break from the way of life to which the civilized nations clung in the past. It is not merely the return of mankind to the oriental despotism under which, as Hegel observed, one man alone was free and all the rest slaves, for those Asiatic kings did not interfere with the daily routine of their subjects.

At every instant of his life the “comrade” is bound to obey implicitly the orders issued by the supreme authority. The State is both his guardian and his employer. The State determines his work, his diet, and his pleasures. The State tells him what to think and what to believe in. Bureaucracy is instrumental in the execution of these plans. But people are unfair in indicting the individual bureaucrat for the vices of the system. The fault is not with the men and women who fill the offices and bureaus.

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