Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday to Ludwig von Mises

Yesterday marked the 128th anniversary of one of the world's greatest economists and champions of liberty, Ludwig von Mises. Mises always stuck to his principles, even when the world around him became a dangerous and intolerant place. He accurately predicted the problems caused by inflation and central economic planning, including the Great Depression.

George Reisman, an excellent economist himself and former Mises student, wrote this tribute to him three years ago.
Mises was not primarily anti-socialist. He was pro-capitalist. His opposition to socialism, and to all forms of government intervention, stemmed from his support for capitalism and from his underlying love of individual freedom and conviction that the self-interests of free men are harmonious—indeed, that one man’s gain under capitalism is not only not another’s loss, but is actually others’ gain. Mises was a consistent champion of the self-made man, of the intellectual and business pioneer, whose activities are the source of progress for all mankind and who, he showed, can flour­ish only under capitalism.

Mises is well-known for his critique of Socialism because it

not only abolishes the incentive of profit and loss and the freedom of competi­tion along with private ownership of the means of pro­duction, but makes economic calculation, economic co­ordination, and economic planning impossible, and therefore results in chaos. For socialism means the abo­lition of the price system and the intellectual division of labor; it means the concentration and centralization of all decision-making in the hands of one agency: the Central Planning Board, or the Supreme Dictator.

We need people like Mises now more than ever before. Do you hear us knocking, Barry? Your propaganda will only go so far.

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