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Liberalism (Lib Works Ludwig Von Mises PB) Paperback – October 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Lib Works Ludwig Von Mises PB
  • Paperback: 203 pages
  • Publisher: Liberty Fund (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865975868
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865975866
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,234,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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92 of 97 people found the following review helpful By bregen@empe.com on June 3, 1998
Format: Paperback
Ludwig Von Mises had created a sensation in 1922 when he demolished all the intellectual arguements for socialism that had been advanced in defense of collectivist in his book Socialism. In 1927 Mises published his rebuttal to critics who had accused him of attacking the flaws of socialism without offering an alternative. Mises valiantly defends the liberalism of Burke, Locke,and Menger. He proscribed policies that even now are considered revolutionary i.e an end to national borders, the free flow of goods and people across borders, the immediate end to the brutal colonialism then popular in Europe, and vast limitations on state authority. Mises believed that there are two basic forms of human organization, coercion and cooperation, and that collectivism (socialism, fascism, communism) is capable of only using the former method and not the latter. Only liberalism maximizes the freedom of the individual.
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Heersink on February 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
It's a shame that the liberalism von Mises espouses must be pre-classed as "classical," since the word "liberal" has come to mean precisely the opposite of what von Mises and his predecessors in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries meant by the word. In today's lexicon, his liberalism is closer to libertarianism, although I caution readers not to dismiss this book if they dismiss the political movement.
What von Mises intends to show in easy to read eloquent prose is that capitalism and democracy are natural complements to a free society. Betwixt the two, prosperity and freedom of choice have been maximized beyond all other systems, and the general well-being benefits all, even those on the lowest economic rung. This is not a comprehensive exegesis of economics that one will find in von Mises' "Human Action." Rather, it is a general survey of the dominant themes that are given their fuller voice in his more detailed analysis. Thus, this book is an excellent introduction to democratic economics in general and to capitalism in particular.
What makes the book particularly engaging is its polemical tone. It is not a polemic, but it never loses sight of its opponents, and frequently takes socialism and critics of capitalism to task for their anxiety over the merits of being free.
After a brief introduction that is thoroughly engaging, von Mises covers four broad themes: (1) The foundations of liberalism and its policies; (2) liberalism's economic policies; (3) implications of liberalism in foreign policy; and (4) how liberalism is manifested in the political process. It's in the last section that he deals with doctrinaire liberalism and why, short of necessary regulations, the market must be free if man is to be free.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By D. W. MacKenzie on August 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
Mises wrote Liberalism in dark times. Depression and social unrest plagued Europe after the Great War. Fascists and Nazis were on the march in Italy, Germany, and Spain. Lenin and Stalin held Russia in an iron grip. It seemed that everyone was giving up on limited government and laissez faire. Mises understood that the future of civilization was at stake. Someone needed to revive the ideas of the enlightenment. Mises had already written lengthy books against inflation and socialism, but how many people outside of academia would read such long and sophisticated books? How could human reason prevail over the demagoguery of socialists and interventionists without a succinct statement of classical liberal arguments?

Liberalism is one of the most readable book that Mises wrote. It is concise and compelling. Mises makes a strong case for limited government in a mere 193 pages. The central message of this book is that capitalism is the only economic system that can deliver the prosperity and freedom that many of us take for granted in the West. Socialism leads inevitably to a rigid inefficient bureaucracy. Interventionism is a senseless, self defeating, absurd policy". Capitalism is the progressive system. Socialism is, in contrast, a reactionary system that would fail to feed the current population, were we to attempt to live under this system.

Given the length of this book, Mises does not explain his arguments as thoroughly, compared to Human Action or Socialism, an Economic and Sociological Analysis. Yet he does explain his main points, and these other books are long enough to deter many readers. For most people the detail of his other books is unnecessary, so reading Liberalism is a good way to economize on your time.

Times have changed.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By D. W. MacKenzie on September 7, 2007
Format: Audio Cassette
The audio version of this book makes an easy read even more accesible. Liberalism is hardly the most difficult book that Mises wrote. Yet it is well worthwhile, and the ability to listen to it fits with a busy schedule.

Mises wrote Liberalism in dark times. Depression and social unrest plagued Europe after the Great War. Fascists and Nazis were on the march in Italy, Germany, and Spain. Lenin and Stalin held Russia in an iron grip. It seemed that everyone was giving up on limited government and laissez faire. Mises understood that the future of civilization was at stake. Someone needed to revive the ideas of the enlightenment. Mises had already written lengthy books against inflation and socialism, but how many people outside of academia would read such long and sophisticated books? How could human reason prevail over the demagoguery of socialists and interventionists without a succinct statement of classical liberal arguments?

Liberalism is one of the most readable book that Mises wrote. It is concise and compelling. Mises makes a strong case for limited government in a mere 193 pages. The central message of this book is that capitalism is the only economic system that can deliver the prosperity and freedom that many of us take for granted in the West. Socialism leads inevitably to a rigid inefficient bureaucracy. Interventionism is a senseless, self defeating, absurd policy". Capitalism is the progressive system. Socialism is, in contrast, a reactionary system that would fail to feed the current population, were we to attempt to live under this system.

Given the length of this book, Mises does not explain his arguments as thoroughly, compared to Human Action or Socialism, an Economic and Sociological Analysis.
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