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The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Advancing Austrian Economics, Liberty, and Peace

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Freedom, Inequality, Primitivism and the Division of Labor
Murray N. Rothbard

Full chapter in PDF

Introduction (1991): "In the two decades since this essay was written, the major social trends I analyzed have accelerated, seemingly at an exponential rate..."

I. New Areas of Inequality and "Oppression"
II. Group Quotas 
III. Who Are the "Oppressed"? 
IV. The Romantics and Primitivism 
V. The Division of Labor 

Section 1: "If men were like ants, there would be no interest in human freedom. If individual men, like ants, were uniform, interchangeable, devoid of specific personality traits of their own, then who would care whether they were free or not?..." 

Section 2 : "Freedom and its concomitant, the widening division of labor, are vital for the flowering of each individual, as well as the literal survival of the vast bulk of the world's population...." 

Section 3 : "One way of gauging the extent of 'harmonious' development of all of the individual's powers in the absence of specialization is to consider what actually happened during primitive or preindustrial eras..." 

Section 4 : "The Left, of course, does not couch its demands in terms of stamping out diversity; what it seeks to achieve sounds semantically far more pleasant: equality..." 

This Rothbard e-book was prepared by Richard Perry