Which of the following works would be most likely to agree with the statement below?
Business owners are allowed to keep their private status, but they have to produce goods and make profits in the interests of the state. Corporations are encouraged to expand by being given the use of state capital and labor. The government itself is the largest buyer of goods and services and if the government wants military equipment, the production of consumer goods is cut back.
To further clarify the description in the above source, which of the following primary sources would be most useful?
A. Das Kapital, by Karl Marx
B. Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler
C. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
D. Two Treaties on Government by John Locke
The only possible answer to this question is B. The system described is compatible only with the Nazis' ideology.
The system that is described above cannot be either communism or capitalism. In communism, the means of production are not left in private hands. Therefore, the idea that businesses will still be owned by private citizens is incompatible with Marx. However, the statement is also incompatible with capitalism. In a capitalist system, state labor is not given to private companies. Neither are private companies made to produce goods "in the interest of the state."
This is, instead, a statement of Naziism or fascism. In a fascist system, companies remain private but are expected to act in close coordination with the government.
The statement describes the general characteristic of economics practiced in a Fascist system, which was the system advocated for by Adolf Hitler. In a Fascist system, the government exerts full control on the territory it controls. The system heightens and magnifies class distinctions with the upper or business classes being favored over the working classes. In this regard, business owners are allowed to maintain their social status. However, all their business engagements are expected to be for the direct benefit of the national interest. Businesses are accorded all benefits and resources required in their operations, which included government capital and state labor. In addition, fascist governments are highly militaristic, and this translates in their acquisition of military equipment and the maintenance of a high military budget. Following the similarity between the description and Fascism, Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler would be the most useful primary source for further research.