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“The Triumph of Capitalism” (Socialism is Intellectually Dead, but Central Planning in the Mixed Economy Lives On)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 7, 2014

“Less than 75 years after it officially began, the contest between capitalism and socialism is over: capitalism has won… Capitalism organizes the material affairs of humankind more satisfactorily than socialism.”

– Robert Heilbroner, “The Triumph of Capitalism,” The New Yorker, January 23, 1989, p. 98.

A major event in the history of political economy thought occurred in 1989 when socialist economics writer Robert Heilbroner (1919–2005) renounced his belief in central planning in the pages of the New Yorker. For anti-market liberals, this made it official: socialism was out of the mainstream. Socialism could not plan a modern economy and was an open sesame for totalitarianism. Hayek said as much in his 1944 classic, The Road to Serfdom. A trusted voice on the Left confirmed it 45 years later.