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Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis Paperback – November 1, 1981

4.6 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was a preeminent philosopher and economist during the twentieth century. He shared an intellectual friendship with literary giant Ayn Rand, and his theorems and philosophies have continued to influence the careers and ideas of politicians and economists alike.

F. A. Hayek (1899-1992), recipient of the Medal of Freedom in 1991 and co-winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 1974, was a pioneer in monetary theory and the principal proponent of libertarianism in the twentieth century. He taught at the University of London, the University of Chicago, and the University of Freiburg.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 596 pages
  • Publisher: Liberty Classics; 6th edition (November 1, 1981)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0913966630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0913966631
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.5 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. W. MacKenzie on April 26, 2006
Format: Paperback
October 25th 1917- The Bolsheviks stage a coupe in Petrograd and overthrow the Kerensky regime. For the first time ever Marxists seize control of a major nation. It will be several years before the Bolsheviks overwhelm their opponents within Russia. However, one question demands an answer. Will it work? Can socialism at least match the results of capitalism? The full answer to this question came in 1922- the year that Mises published Socialism, an Economic and Sociological Analysis. Here Mises proved that socialism must fail.

Why must socialism fail? The simple answer is because it lacks private ownership and a market for the means of production. As Mises put it "where there is no market there is no price system, and where there is no price system there can be no economic calculation". The full answer has several parts. First, economic calculation requires functioning financial markets. Second, economic calculation requires actual rivalry in markets. Third, economic calculation requires entrepreneurial alertness to profit opportunities. With these three elements in place monetary calculation of private profit reflects true economic costs. As Mises put it economic calculation "is essentially a matter for the capitalists- the capitalists who buy and sell stocks and shares, who make loans and recover them, who make deposits in the banks and draw them out of the banks again, who speculate in all kinds of commodities". Perpetually changing economic conditions mean that- "it is above all necessary that capital should be withdrawn from particular lines of production, from particular undertakings and concerns and should be applied in other lines of production, in other undertakings and concerns".
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2 Comments 72 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This work is an absolute masterpiece. Originally published in 1922, this work features von Mises at his best. He completely demolishes socialism from almost every angle concievable. He demonstrates that socialism cannot function rationally, period. The primary contribution that this work is cited for, is of course the proof of the theory that economic calculation is impossible under socialism. Building on this fact, as well as many other important insights, socialism is shown to be little more than a chimera with virtually no scientific backing whatsoever. Quite nearly every major form or variant of socialism is critiqued, from marxism to Christian socialism, and even syndicalism. In each case, the conclusion is the same, i.e. socialism destroys society and civilization and replaces it with slavery, chaos, and poverty. Indeed, Mises correctly identifies socialism as a fundamentally destructive, purely anti-social force. In sharp contrast to this is the capitalist form of society based upon the principles of (classical) liberalism. Throughout the work, Mises refutes widespread misconceptions, myths and anti-capitalist dogmas associated with the market economy. At all times it is made clear that it is only capitalism that can sustain and advance the needs of individuals and their civilization. The importance of this work is difficult to overestimate. It is without a doubt, one of the greatest works of the last century, if not of all time. Even now, after almost eight decades in print, his principles stand unrefuted, even as we continue to slip down the slope toward complete state slavery. The fact that the message of his work has not eliminated the evils that he exposed takes nothing away from his achievement. As long as there are a few individuals remaining in whom the spirit of liberty remains strong, this work will continue to shine as a profound monument to the intellectual potential of man, and the superiority of capitalism.
4 Comments 174 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
A thorough analysis and brilliant refutation of socialism and the politics of redistribution. This book confront the many myths surrounding socialism that are stilled echoed today. It is so concise, straight-forward and covers all the bases in a simple, yet powerful text. Also, this book confronts all the so called "Third Way" positionists advocating social justice, a mixed economy, a corporatist state, fascism, syndicalism and other dubiously named contrivances that are essentially socialist forms of economic organization. Mises makes it clear that socialism, the so called economic system of the future, is anti-social and incompatible with human nature. As Mises declares, "Men must choose between capitalism and socialism," which is simply because, "If the the market is not allowed to steer the whole economic apparatus, the government must do it." There is no Third Way, how true! The debate lies between free-markets and socialism -and this book makes it clear socialism is illogical. This book might be helpful at deprogramming a quasi-socialist by exposing and refuting all the major myths. If you're getting a start on studying classical economics than get this book. The Law by Frederic Bastiat and Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt is also recommended.
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Format: Paperback
In a well thought out work of considerable length (nearly 600 pages) Von Mises effectively demolishes the various arguments that have been made by the advocates of socialism. He approaches the problem of socialism from a number of different perspectives and provides very persuasive arguments concerning why socialism and its derivatives can only result in chaos. The underlying premise of Von Mises' work is that economic calculation is impossible under socialism, and the arguments that he advances on behalf of this proposition are in my view irrefutable. Overall, this is an excellent work by a very lucid, thorough, and perceptive thinker. My one complaint with the work - which was not enough to reduce it to below 5 stars - is that I found the manner of exposition sometimes more difficult than need be the case. Since this was not true with regard to "Liberalism" which was also authored by Von Mises, I can only conclude that this one deficiency may be attributable to the translation. However, if you are interested in reading Von Mises, I recommend that you read "Liberalism" (which is much shorter, easier to read, and a good introduction to Von Mises' thought), before reading "Socialism."
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