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My Struggle: Book Four
Eighteen-year-old Karl Ove moves to a tiny fishing village in the Arctic Circle to work as a school teacher. As the nights get longer, the shadow cast by his father's own sharply increasing alcohol consumption, also gets longer. Read the full description
Ludwig Von Mises is considered one of the giant figures in economic thought. He is an acolyte of the Austrian school of economics, which began as a response to Marxist economic thought. The Austrian school advocated the idea of marginal utility and the importance of the consumer in the production process. This book, which is a fairly short read, is Von Mises's look at the people who advocate the imposition of a planned, or socialistic, economic system. Needless to say, Von Mises launches massive attacks against these people. As some of the other reviews stated, Von Mises believes that the reason some people in a capitalist society hate free markets and advocate socialism is due to their own shortcomings. As everyone with an ounce of sense knows, reality does not make everyone equal. Everyone has flaws and shortcomings. These shortcomings, according to Von Mises, manifest themselves in inner turmoil that finds release through attacking the system in which others succeed where these people fail. These people look at the successful entrepreneurs and resent them deeply. Since they can't attack them directly without exposing their own deep flaws, they attack the capitalist system which they think "created" these successful businessmen. Von Mises goes on to show several ways how this hostility expresses itself. One way is through literature. Von Mises makes a very perceptive observation while examining literature. He shows how the genre of detective stories is actually an expression of hatred for the capitalist system.Read more ›
THE ANTI-CAPITALISTIC MENTALITY is an outstanding little book by Ludwig von Mises which explains why Capitalism - which has raised the standard of living of so many people - is hated by so many. We often think of von Mises as a great economist (which he certainly was), but Mises considered his work to be "sociology" as well. However, his writings are full of brilliant sociological commentary on any number of subjects. Take the chapter "The Non-Economic Objections to Capitalism." How often people criticize Capitalism for its alleged "materialism." But listen to Mises: "The preeminent art of this age of . . . `materialism' was music. Wagner and Verdi, Berlioz and Bizet, Brahms and Bruckner, Hugo Wolf and Mahler . . . ." [p. 61.] And this music was written before the record permitted the great masters to be enjoyed by the common man, who could never hob-nob with aristocracy at the great music halls of the world. In addition to this type of sociology, sprinkled throughout the book are concise economic lessons about how the increase in capital is the cause of higher wages, not unions and socialist schemes. So this book is a useful introduction to Mises' thought. Although this book is important, if you want to understand the greatness of Mises, read: HUMAN ACTION, SOCIALISM, and THEORY OF MONEY AND CREDIT. Also, Prof. Kirzner's book on Mises is an outstanding introduction.
This book explains the basis for the American (and Western) fascination with non-capitalism despite an increasing standard of living that has come about precisely because of capitalism. Mises explains how little, if any, of such fascination is grounded in intellectual arguments. After all, it can hardly be admitted that non-capitalist systems offer the same type of prosperity and lifestyle that have been enjoyed by capitalist societies. Nevertheless, animosity towards capitalism abounds and some still look towards non-capitalist ideologies to save us. But one must ask: Save us from what? An increasing standard of living? Enjoying commodities that had been reserved for the wealthy only a generation before? The mass availability of goods and services? The freedom to choose goods and indirectly control production? In posing such questions, Mises shows how absurd the anti-capitalist mentality is. But he does not leave the reader without an explanation for such sentiments. He shows how this continued fascination with anti-capitalism it rooted in emotionalism - particularly resentment, envy, jealousy, and self-doubt. And how those that despise and disparage entrepreneurs and "the wealthy" are doing so not for valid reasons, but because they feel cheated since they have less and believe they somehow have a right to more absent any effort on their part. Yet, anti-capitalists never entertain the notion or possibility that effort and sweat may have gone into such achievement and prosperity among entrepreneurs and "the wealthy." Neither do they recognize the importance of such individuals in increasing the standard of living for all people. It is quite amazing how much "punch" this book packs considering it is less than 100 pages in length.Read more ›
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This small book is an excellent introduction to the thought of the great economist, Ludwig von Mises. In a penetrating look at the 'anticapitalistic mentality', Mises refutes some of the most common objections to a social order based on private property and free, voluntary exchange, correctly attributing most such opposition to envy and covetousness. (Readers of Ayn Rand will recognise one of her unacknowledged sources!) In fact, as Mises shows not only in this book but in his tremendous body of pioneering work in economic theory, both liberty and justice require a market-based social order. The reader who enjoys this little book may also wish at some point to tackle Mises' magnum opus HUMAN ACTION.
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