Mises may very well have been right about these issues and, again, I happen to think he was , but the liberal tradition in Europe and the United States has been far less laissez-faire than the version he defended. Poor Mises was simply born too soon. Finally, one other observation may be in order.
The Essential Von Mises
The English versions of these works should at least have been listed in the extensive bibliography at the end of the book. We were able to obtain photocopies of virtually the entire collection, eight thousand pages of material, which we brought back to the United States. The story of the discovery and retrieval of these papers may be found in the following articles: Ebeling a, b, c, a, b.
Butler, Eamonn. Brookfield, Vt. Ebeling, Richard M. Fairfax, Va. Notes from FEE July Edwards, James Rolph. New York: Carlton Press. Hayek, Friedrich A.
The Use of Knowledge in Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism. Auburn, Ala. Kirzner, Israel M. Ludwig von Mises. Wilmington, Del. Mises, Ludwig von. Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth. London: George Rutledge. Notes and Recollections. South Holland, Ill: Libertarian Press. Nationalokonomie: Theorie des Handelns und Wirtschaftens. Munich: Philosophia Verlag. Indianapolis: Liberty Classics. Human Action: A Treatise on Economics. Irvington-on-Hudson, N. Mises, Margit von. My Years with Ludwig von Mises.
Ravi Batra's idolization of Indian philosopher, P. Sarkar, in Batra's books on societies and economics. But i suppose that i have individuals of whom i am in utter awe, so i should not be so critical about this point. I generally Murray N. I generally agree with the Austrian school of thought as a way to understand pre-transcendent man's behaviors and their ramifications in the marketplace of limited resources. But the times they are a-changing.
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An amazing biography about an amazin man! Good read into one of the most underated economists of the XX century. Sep 01, Christopher rated it liked it.
The Essential von Mises
Murray Rothbard, economic historian gives a brief overview of the works of his former professor, Ludwig Von Mises. Mises is a monolith in the Austrian School. In three economists solved the labor theory of value by analyzing individuals leading to the "marginalist revolution" and our modern concepts of supply and demand. Menger's student Bohm-Bawerk solved the "frozen labor" problem of capital. Marx argued that the existence of profit produced from capital is actual originally derived from the labor that created the capital in the first place.
Bohm-Bawerk's response was to introduce time preference into it.
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The capitalist are the creditors who save and pay out present money, and then wait for their eventual return. It is the degree and intensity of time preferences that determines the interest rate and profits. Thus capital is more than simply "frozen labor", but also "frozen time or land ". Ludwig Von Mises was Bohm-Bawerk's pupil, who surpassed his mentor's contributions. He began by studying money arguing that increases in the supply of money do not happen in a lump sum. Rather they are injected at one point in the economy and prices will only rise as the new money spreads in ripples throughout the economy.
This could imply that the incomes of those close to the government will rise before the rest of the prices do. Money receives its utility based on the price level. The utility of five dollars depends on how much five dollars can buy you. Von Mises argues that there is a direction of causality. Prices are determined first, then the demand for money is determined. In his famous "regression theorem" Mises follows this chicken and the egg down to ancient times when money was commodity backed.
Therefore gold-standard. This is unpersuasive. First, there is historical evidence that coined money emerged from government edicts in the first empires of civilization, not through natural processes from barter systems. Furthermore, it assumes time order in the determination of money's utility, rather than a simultaneous determination. People care about real-money holdings, rather than nominal.
The price level is netted out. Mises spent the last half of his career creating a systematized axiomatic approach to economics. After the fall of the Soviet Union Robert Heilbroner , a longtime advocate of Scandinavian-style social democracy, said that "It turns out, of course, that Mises was right" about the impossibility of socialism. Here is the part that's hard to swallow.
It has been the Friedmans, Hayeks, and von Miseses who have maintained that capitalism would flourish and that socialism would develop incurable ailments. Mises developed the theory of the 'sovereignty of the consumer' in a free-market economy; in his view, the consumer ultimately dictates everything that happens.
This argument was set out in Human Action : The captain is the consumer…the consumers determine precisely what should be produced, in what quality, and in what quantities…They are merciless egoistic bosses, full of whims and fancies, changeable and unpredictable. For them nothing counts other than their own satisfaction…In their capacity as buyers and consumers they are hard-hearted and callous, without consideration for other people…Capitalists…can only preserve and increase their wealth by filling best the orders of the consumers… In the conduct of their business affairs they must be unfeeling and stony-hearted because the consumers, their bosses, are themselves unfeeling and stony-hearted.
Milton Friedman considered Mises inflexible in his thinking:. The story I remember best happened at the initial Mont Pelerin meeting when he got up and said, "You're all a bunch of socialists. Some of the people there were expressing the view that there could be a justification for it. Another occasion which is equally telling: Fritz Machlup was a student of Mises's, one of his most faithful disciples.
At one of the Mont Pelerin meetings, Machlup gave a talk in which I think he questioned the idea of a gold standard; he came out in favor of floating exchange rates.
The Essential von Mises | Murray N. Rothbard
Mises was so mad he wouldn't speak to Machlup for three years. Some people had to come around and bring them together again. It's hard to understand; you can get some understanding of it by taking into account how people like Mises were persecuted in their lives. Within the post-WWII mainstream economics establishment, Mises suffered severe personal rejection: for example, in a review of his book The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality , The Economist said of von Mises: "Professor von Mises has a splendid analytical mind and an admirable passion for liberty; but as a student of human nature he is worse than null and as a debater he is of Hyde Park standard.
In a interview, Friedrich Hayek said about his book Socialism : "At first we all felt he was frightfully exaggerating and even offensive in tone. You see, he hurt all our deepest feelings, but gradually he won us around, although for a long time I had to — I just learned he was usually right in his conclusions, but I was not completely satisfied with his argument. Murray Rothbard , who studied under Mises, agrees he was uncompromising, but disputes reports of his abrasiveness.
In his words, Mises was "unbelievably sweet, constantly finding research projects for students to do, unfailingly courteous, and never bitter" about the discrimination he received at the hands of the economic establishment of his time. After his death, his wife quoted a passage that Mises had written about Benjamin Anderson , and said that it best described Mises' own personality: "His most eminent qualities were his inflexible honesty, his unhesitating sincerity.
He never yielded.