The Fallacy Of Calls For A “Manhattan Project” To Solve National Economic Challenges

Source: Cobden Centre
by Patrick Barron

“Many see the World War II project to build an atomic bomb as a template for government action to solve what appear to be national economic problems beyond the scope of private enterprise. The analogy fails on several levels. First of all, the Manhattan Project was not an economic problem per se. It was a military development and procurement problem. There was and still is no commercial demand for a weapon of mass destruction. Secondly, there is a difference between very large commercial projects and very large government projects. As Ludwig von Mises explained in his first great book, Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth, economic calculation is possible only with private ownership of the means of production. Government does not own means of production in the true, private sense of the term. It uses only resources that it has confiscated from the private economy.” (07/25/22)