Economic Freedom and Interventionism

Economic Freedom and Interventionism

An Anthology of Articles and Essays

By:

Ludwig von Mises

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Summary

When Mises was 81 years old, he was invited to address a student rally at Madison Square Garden that was sponsored by the Young Americans for Freedom. He readily accepted. He prepared an address that those in attendance would never forget.

He looked out over the sea of young people who had rejected the socialistic propaganda then common on college campuses, and with a smile on his face and determination in his voice, he said:

"The spell of the dreadful conformity that threatened to convert our country into a spiritual desert is broken. There are again young men and women eager to think over the fundamental problems of life and action. This is a genuine moral and intellectual resurrection, a movement that will prevents us from falling prey to the arbitrary tyranny of dictators. As an old man I am greeting the young generation of liberators."

The audience roared in applause. Here was the world's greatest economist, a legend in his time, telling them that the future of freedom was in their hands. Clearly the rally brought joy to his heart.

Where can you find this remarkable speech? In this thrilling collection of essays newly published as Economic Freedom and Interventionism. This volume publishes 47 of the most difficult to find speeches, small essays, and reviews by Mises, all written for a popular audience during his American years. Here we see Mises bringing the results of a lifetime of teaching and research to engage the ideas of his time, during the height of the great battle of the 20th century between freedom and collectivism.

The rally at Madison Square Garden gave him the boost he needed. For in the previous year, the American Economic Association and the Committee for Economic Development released a task force report designed to teach high schoolers about economics. The report sought to explain that the choice between capitalism and communism was mostly a toss up. But take note that communism offers the special merit of "avoiding the instability of profit-motivated investment which characterizes private enterprise economies."

Who would give the AEA the rebuke it deserved? Mises again stepped forward and wrote a crushing attack. His essay called this report a "dangerous recommendation" and said that "a sensible boy or girl will certainly not put up with the confused and contradictory observations that a teacher, imbued with the philosophy of the report, may bring forward."

This important essay is also included here. Also there is his 1959 declaration that the Soviet system has been a complete economic failure, from the start--an essay he wrote even as famed economist Paul Samuelson kept predicting its success.

Mises was astoundingly prescient: "The Soviet system would collapse if its victims were to get reliable information about the normal life of the common man in Western Europe and this country."

Also you will find essays on why he wrote Human Action, the outlook for investment, how capitalism turns luxuries into necessities, how it is that the market turn the saver into a voter of sorts, and how citizens are harmed by inflation.

The section compiling Mises's essays on other economists is tremendously revealing. He writes on Murray Rothbard, Adam Smith, W.H. Hutt, Israel Kirzner, Sennholz, Greaves, and Keynes ("he was highly renowned, famous, and popular in a age of decay and disintegration, but his writings were the cause of these disasters: they were only symptoms") . He also discusses a late work by Hayek, and not favorably ("the third part of Professor Hayek's book is rather disappointing").

There are also academic papers here, such as those delivered at the Mont Pelerin Society and at the Conference on Science, Philosophy, and Religion. There are interviews and answers to questionnaires.

What a busy man was Mises! And thanks to this book, we have access to material that would have otherwise been lost. You could scour the Library of Congress for months and not find the material that has been so nicely collected in this book, which is edited by Bettina Bien Greaves.

Section one includes nine essays on particular aspects of economic freedom, among which are "The Elite Under Capitalism," "The Market and the State," and "Inequality of Wealth and Incomes." Section two covers interventionism with 13 essays on topics such as welfare, unions, inflation, and business forecasting.

Because Mises was writing mostly for popular audiences in these essays, the essays are highly accessible. At 290 pages, this hardbound book is an outstanding value.

Summary courtesy of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. The Mises Institute is the premier organization in support of the free market, peace and prosperity. They provide free educational material, books audio books, lectures and courses that free your mind. This site would not exist were it not for the generosity, hard work and dedication of the Mises Institute, its employees, fellows and its benefactors. Books of Liberty is eternally grateful to all of their work and efforts. Please consider supporting the Mises Institute in any way you can.

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The economics category, as expected, is very well represented within the pages of this site. Of all the economics books, around half are explicitly Austrian Economics texts, and (with a significant overlap) around half discuss monetary theory. You may search specifically for economic treatises or books about economists; you will find historical or theoretical accounts of financial crises; you will stumble upon recent books on crypto-currencies (like bitcoin), books covering topics like income or wealth inequality, as well as more technical subjects like price theory, monopoly, division of labor, public choice theory and others. Additionally, critiques of Keynesian economics are to be found throughout the books in this category.

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A note from the curator: Liberty Classroom provides courses like: Austrian Economics Step by Step, two courses on the History of Economic Thought, and What’s Wrong with Textbook Economics, to name a few. With courses like these, how can you not become a fan of Liberty Classroom? I know I am.

And would you like your homeschoolers to learn economics right the first time around? The Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program covers 12th grade economics from teachers you can trust. In full disclosure, Books of Liberty will get a small advertising fee for purchases made through our links.


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I am a very satisfied Master Member of Liberty Classroom and have taken the Introduction to Government course that is available through the Ron Paul Curriculum. Between this course and others available through Liberty Classroom, you can’t get a better or more thought out exposition critiquing the State and all its failures or faulty premises (and in a way that is suitable for the younger ages too). I’ll disclose that Books of Liberty will get a small advertising fee for purchases made through our links.


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Within the business section you can also find books on the business organization (contrasting to bureaucracy of the State), on decision making, business growth, accounting, etc. While decision making may sometimes be covered in a book completely unrelated to business, it would be tagged to business if the benefits of such content can be applied to those entrepreneurs needing to make decisions for their venture. Likewise, entrepreneurial mindset can often be tagged to books describing characteristics that would prove valuable to an entrepreneur, even if they don’t relate directly to the entrepreneurial space.

A note from the curator: One thing I was always curious about: why is this never taught at school?! By providing your homeschoolers the Ron Paul Curriculum homeschool program, they will learn Personal Finance in the 8th grade, Business in grades 9 and 10 and will be exposed to topics to help their entrepreneurial mindset throughout the years. You may see throughout the site banners promoting this program and Books of Liberty will get a small advertising fee for purchases made through our links. I only wish I had learned these things at a young age and got a head start in life.