The market is a democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote. It is true that the various individuals have not the same power to vote. The richer man casts more ballots than the poorer fellow. But to be rich and to earn a higher income is, in the market economy, already the outcome of a previous election. The only means to acquire wealth and to preserve it, in a market economy not adulterated by government-made privileges and restrictions, is to serve the consumers in the best and cheapest way. Capitalists and landowners who fail in this regard suffer losses. If they do not change their procedure, they lose their wealth and become poor. It is consumers who make poor people rich and rich people poor. It is the consumers who fix the wages of a movie star and an opera singer at a higher level than those of a welder or an accountant.Democracy is the God of Progressives and socialists. "Majority rule" is their mantra. This belief implies that the wisdom of the masses is contained in the mind of each voter. Yet, when considering the free market, progressives and socialists deny the wisdom of the masses who cast their votes freely for the producer they favor by purchasing his products or services. Instead of the uncoerced vote of consumers in the marketplace, progressives and socialists trust the judgement of unelected government bureaucrats and elected government regulators to pick economic winners and losers.
By taking money out of the pockets of the masses via taxation, progressives and socialists are in effect taking the right to vote away from individual citizens and giving that right to bureaucrats. The larger the size of government as compared to the size of the free market, the more the democracy of the free market is undermined and replaced by the economic edicts of bureaucratic tyrants.
Ask a progressive or a socialist whether they believe in "economic democracy." They will gush about that idea as a man of religion gushes about his God. They, of course, understand "economic democracy" to mean a political system wherein bureaucratic tyrants decide who produces what and how. That "what" is then equally divided amongst all the individual citizens.
These fools do not understand that their "economic democracy" is, in fact, economic despotism. A true "economic democracy" would be a system wherein each individual citizen freely votes to elect economic winners and losers -- the exact system Mises describes.