- Publisher: Libertarian Pr (June 1980)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0910884331
- ISBN-13: 978-0910884334
- Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,437,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Essential Von Mises
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This 1973 essay begins with Rothbard's summary of "The Austrian School," commenting that "It was (Carl) Menger who founded the 'Austrian School,'" and "(Eugen) Böhm-Bawerk towered above (19th century economists) all." (Pg. 5)
Mises' The Theory of Money and Credit showed that governmental money inflation creates over-investment in the capital goods industries and under-investment in consumer goods, and a "recession" or "depression" is "the necessary process by which the market liquidates the distortions of the boom and returns to the free-market system of production... Recovery arrives when this adjustment process is completed." (Pg. 19-20)
Rothbard notes that Mises' accomplishments "were never really acknowledged or accepted by the economics profession." His position at the University of Vienna was unsalaried, and his income came from his position as an economic advisor to the Austrian Chamber of Commerce. His book was also not translated into English until 1934, and "it came too late to take hold." (Pg. 21)
Still, in a 1920 journal article (later expanded in his book Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis), Mises demonstrated that "socialism was an unviable system," as it "could not rationally calculate costs or allocate factors of production efficiently." (Pg. 24) Mises then developed his concept of praxeology: the "general theory of human action." Since each event, each act in human history is different and unique, "there can be no statistical predictions or 'tests' of economic theories." (Pg. 27)
Concerning Mises' 1940 magnum opus Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, Third Revised Edition (published in English in 1949), Rothbard confesses, "it was an achievement that changed the course of (Rothbard's) life and ideas." (Pg. 29) But with the Keynsian Revolution, Mises' work was never refuted, but was "simply forgotten." (Pg. 33)
Rothbard laments that after Mises left Nazi Austria and came to the U.S. in 1940, "It was an unforgivable and shameful blot on American academia" that he never found a paid, full-time university post, and was simply a Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Business Administration at New York University. (Pg. 35) But Rothbard adds, "Those of us privileged to attend his seminar at New York University could well understand how Mises was a great TEACHER as well as a great economist." (Pg. 36)
Mises continued this seminar until he retired at age 87, "undoubtedly the oldest active professor in the United States" (pg. 37), as well as "a noble and magnificent man" (pg. 40).
This is an excellent introduction to Mises' thought, by one who genuinely reveres his former teacher.