Regardless of the need some may see for government golf courses or price supports or compulsory education of children or federally financed hospitals or numberless other socializations, the fact is that tens of millions of American citizens in consequence are now engaged in and wholly dependent on unmarketable specializations—and the number grows apace. Increasingly, more and more millions are becoming dependent on such forced exchange of their unwanted specializations for those goods and services without which they cannot live. Even if the personal virtues of honesty and self-responsibility were at their highest state of development, instead of their present eroded state, such a system could not be made to work. Nothing but the total state—the police force in charge of everything—can cause us to exchange with each other goods and services none of us wants. And, the total state, as I have already tried to demonstrate, is noncreative. The possibility of a good economy disappears with the total state.
Bear in mind, when it comes to assessing prosperity and the state of the economy statistically, that dollars exchanged for unnatural specializations are counted as earned income precisely as if exchanged for natural specializations. This is a misleading fiction. For instance, there would be no decline in gross national product (GNP), as presently computed by government, if all of us indulged in unmarketable specializations provided, of course, that the state priced the specializations high enough and forced us to exchange them even while we are slowly starved!
Statistical measurements of economic well-being cannot gauge the honesty and self-responsibility of the citizens, nor can any statistics warn us when unnatural specializations are becoming top heavy; such is beyond the scope of statistical measurement.
If one wishes to know how socialism harms the economy, I suggest that much less attention be given to statistics than to the question: How much immoral action is being introduced into the economy? If socializing the means and the results of production is immoral, as I contend, then socialism harms the economy by introducing immorality into it. In short, watch moral trends, rather than numerical fictions, for danger signals.