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Author Ludwig von Mises was concerned with the spread of socialist ideals and the increasing bureaucratization of economic life. While he does not deny the necessity of certain bureaucratic structures for the smooth operation of any civilized state, he disagrees with the extent to which it has come to dominate the public life of European countries and the United States. The author's purpose is to demonstrate that the negative aspects of bureaucracy are not so much a result of bad policies or corruption as the public tends to think but are the bureaucratic structures due to the very tasks these structures have to deal with. The main body of the book is therefore devoted to a comparison between private enterprise on the one hand and bureaucratic agencies/public enterprise on the other.

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