Last night I had the TV on during dinner, and while I was waiting for my food to cook (in the microwave, of course) a new commercial from GM came on. It extolled the virtue of “Government Motors,” as Lew Rockwell has taken to calling it (He must be an essentialist rather than a nominalist!). The guy with the deep voice on the voiceover told us all about the new, great stuff that is going to come from this bureaucracy: greener cars (which I always resist as a matter of principle), better design, etc, etc.
Of course, Government Motors can get away with this kind of claptrap because most people don’t know the first thing about Socialism. In his book entitled Socialism, Ludwig von Mises describes the problems of a centralized economy. One of those problems is how to respond to customer demand. A large, distant bureaucracy does not have the ability to respond quickly to what the consumer wants. So be prepared to be told what kind of car you ought to have, rather than to select the kind of car you want. Moreover, it’s quite possible that Government Motors could run out of inventory, or be left with entirely too much inventory. I suspect the former, especially if they start putting out products that are reminiscent of those Eastern European cars from the Cold War era.
Surely this is good news for the owners of Ford. If they know what they’re doing they ought to be rolling in money by the time this nightmare is over—not that we’ll have time to care, since our tax dollars will be covering the losses incurred by the new “GM.”