The transition to socialism, in the sense of an almost subconscious, sleep-walking sort of “maximax” strategy by the state, both to augment its potential discretionary power and actually to realize the greatest possible part of the potential thus created, is likely to be peaceful, dull, and unobtrusive. This is its low-risk high-reward approach. Far from being any noisy “battle of democracy … to centralise all instruments of production in the hands of the state”; far from involving some heroic revolutionary break with continuity; far from calling for the violent putting down of the propertied minority, the transition to socialism would probably be the more certain the more it relied on the slow atrophy of initially independent, self-regulating subsystems of society. As their free functioning was constrained, the declining vitality of successive chunks of the “mixed economy” would eventually lead to a passive acceptance of a step-by-step extension of public ownership, if not to a clamour for it.
— Anthony de Jasay, The State