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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Envy or Conceit?, April 2, 2008
This review is from: The Anti-capitalistic Mentality (Lib Works Ludwig Von Mises PB) (Paperback)
The Anti Capitalistic Mentality is Mises' attempt to uncover the driving force behind the socialist movement of the early twentieth century. As such, it should be seen as an alternative to Hayek's `Fatal Conceit/Abuse of Reason' hypothesis. Mises and Hayek agree on some points. Mises claims that "everyone is prone to overate his own worth and deserts" (p10). This is consistent with Hayek's Fatal Conceit hypothesis, but Mises takes the idea that people overate themselves inn a different direction. Hayek thought that intellectuals disdain capitalism because it offends their intellectual pride. Those who see themselves as the best and brightest cannot accept the idea that spontaneously evolved orders outperform any system that they can consciously design.

Mises emphasizes envy and resentment, along with the lack of proper economic education. As Mises puts it on page 36 socialists "are blinded by envy and ignorance. They stubbornly refuse to stuffy economics ... they pretend to trust only in experience. But they also stubbornly refuse to take cognizance of the undeniable facts of experience".

The main problem with this book is that it is too short. Mises did not develop his ideas in this book to the extent he developed other ideas elsewhere. Also, Mises relies too much on the notion that people hate capitalism because the market value of their wage is below their self-evaluation. People do tend to overate their own worth. However, it should be noted that even those who succeed often hate capitalism. Consider the following list of highly successful wealthy capitalism haters: John Lennon, James Cameron, George Soros, Stephen Speilberg, Warren Beatty, Ted Turner, Jane Fonda... These people passed the market test and then some. Yet they hate the system that made them wealthy and famous. Why? Lack of economic education might explain more than does envy. Who would they envy?

The Anti Capitalistic Mentality is still an important book. It explores vital issues that should be sorted out more completely. Since Mises kept this book brief, the task of developing this and Hayek's work on the motivations behind the socialist/interventionist movement will be left to their intellectual heirs.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 3, 2009 12:12:57 PM PST
Once i read an article of Mises, where he said that many intellectuals hate capitalism beacuse they feel that they deserve a status of power, that they can't achieve in this system. Maybe Lennon or Spielberg felt that they were superior in sensibility and awareness, and they should manage our lifes...

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2009 3:50:03 PM PDT
I think it definitely plays a huge role.

The will to control other people's lives, take away some of their rights and do 'the best' for them seems to be a major motivation for a lot of statist groups, because, obviously, the government offers the only legal way to do that. Not only intellectuals, but people of all classes and backrounds think they know what should be banned, what should be allowed and how the resources should be redistributed.

This powerfull desire to be 'set free' from the restrictions of other people's individual rights and get a godlike power to decide for others - or at least grant this power to some wise man or organization - seems to be one of the ьman driving forces of statists.

P.S.: Some people probably don't desire to have this power, but rather to be ruled by it - and for some reasons assume it also will be best for all other people.

P.P.S.: I haven't read 'Anti-capitalist mentality' yet, but some insights into statist psychology and motivation in a form of fiction can be found in a flawed but visionary novel 'Atlas Shrugged' by Ayn Rand.
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