Best quotes by Ludwig von Mises

Ludwig von Mises

Ludwig von Mises

Austrian School economist, historian, logician, and sociologist

Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (29 September 1881 – 10 October 1973) was an Austrian School economist, historian, logician, and sociologist. Mises wrote and lectured extensively on the societal contributions of classical liberalism and is known for explaining[according to whom?] how communism always ends in totalitarianism and dictatorships. He is best known for his work on praxeology studies comparing communism and capitalism. He is considered one of the most influential economic and political thinkers of the 20th century.

Mises emigrated from Austria to the United States in 1940. Since the mid-20th century, libertarian movements have been strongly influenced by Mises's writings. Mises' student Friedrich Hayek viewed Mises as one of the major figures in the revival of classical liberalism in the post-war era. Hayek's work "The Transmission of the Ideals of Freedom" (1951) pays high tribute to the influence of Mises in the 20th century libertarian movement.

Mises's Private Seminar was a leading group of economists. Many of its alumni, including Friedrich Hayek and Oskar Morgenstern, emigrated from Austria to the United States and Great Britain. Mises has been described as having approximately seventy close students in Austria.

Ludwig von Mises quotes by category:

All CategoriesAbout happinessAbout peopleAbout dreamsAbout warAbout lifeAbout freedomAbout artAbout mindAbout passion

PassionHe who acts under an emotional impulse also acts. What distinguishes an emotional action from other actions is the valuation of input and output. Emotions disarrange valuations. Inflamed with passion, man sees the goal as more desirable and the price he has to pay for it as less burdensome than he would in cool deliberation.

HappinessTrue, man cannot escape death. But for the present he is alive; and life, not death, takes hold of him... It is mans innate nature that he seeks to preserve and to strengthen his life, that he is discontented and aims at removing uneasiness, that he is in search of what may be called happiness.

HappinessIn the land of the lotus-eaters there is no action. Action arises only from need, from dissatisfaction. It is purposeful striving towards something. Its ultimate end is always to get rid of a condition which is conceived to be deficient-to fulfill a need, to achieve satisfaction, to increase happiness.

HappinessWarWar is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror. Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things. Only economic action has created the wealth around us; labor, not the profession of arms, brings happiness. Peace builds, war destroys.

HappinessPeopleDreamsLifeFreedomIf we live our lives as a gift it is possible to reach a blissful state of eternal happiness. It is those who live their life with a sense of entitlement that undermine peace , freedom and liberty. Know that every breath is a miracle and every moment a blessing and you will achieve your dreams. Planning other people's actions means to prevent them from planning for themselves, means to deprive them of their essentially human quality, means enslaving them.

HappinessLifeWhoever prefers life to death, happiness to suffering, well-being to misery must defend without compromise private ownership in the means of production.

MindAgainst what is stupid, nonsensical, erroneous, and evil, [classical] liberalism fights with the weapons of the mind, and not with brute force and repression.

MindIf you give the government the right to determine the consumption of the human body, to determine whether one should smoke or not smoke, drink or not drink, there is no good reply you can give to people who say, More important than the body is the mind and the soul, and man hurts himself much more by reading bad books, by listening to bad music and looking at bad movies. Therefore it is the duty of the government to prevent people from committing those faults. And, as you know, for many hundreds of years governments and authorities velieved that it was their duty.

MindPerhaps there are somewhere in the infinite universe beings whose minds outrank our minds to the same extent as our minds surpass those of the insects. Perhaps there will once somewhere live beings who will look upon us with the same condescension as we look upon amoebae.

MindThere are for man only two principles available for a mental grasp of reality, namely, those of teleology and causality. What cannot be brought under either of these categories is absolutely hidden to the human mind. An event not open to an interpretation by one of these two principles is for man inconceivable and mysterious. Change can be conceived as the outcome either of the operation of mechanistic causality or of purposeful behavior; for the human mind there is no third way available.

WarMindOnly one thing can conquer war-that attitude of mind which can see nothing in war but destruction and annihilation.

MindThe mark of the creative mind is that it defies a part of what it has learned.

MindLiberalism and capitalism address themselves to the cool, well-balanced mind. They proceed by strict logic, eliminating any appeal to the emotions. Socialism, on the contrary, works on the emotions, tries to violate logical considerations by rousing a sense of personal interest and to stifle the voice of reason by awakening primitive instincts.

MindA new type of superstition has got hold of people's minds, the worship of the state. People demand the exercise of the methods of coercion and compulsion, of violence and threat. Woe to anybody who does not bend his knee to the fashionable idols!

ArtThere can be no freedom in art and literature where the government determines who shall create them.

ArtHow pale is the art of sorcerers, witches, and conjurors when compared with that of the government's Treasury Department!

He who disdains the fall in infant mortality and the gradual disappearance of famines and plagues may cast the first stone upon the materialism of the economists.

American authors or scientists are prone to consider the wealthy businessman as a barbarian, as a man exclusively intent upon making money.

The capitalist system of production is an economic democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote. The consumers are the sovereign people. The capitalists, the entrepreneurs, and the farmers are the people's mandatories. If they do not obey, if they fail to produce, at the lowest possible cost, what

Behaviorism proposes to study human behavior according to the methods developed by animal and infant psychology. It seeks to investigate reflexes and instincts, automatisms and unconscious reactions. But it has told us nothing about the reflexes that have built cathedrals, railroads, and fortresses, the instincts that have produced philosophies, poems, and legal systems, the automatisms that have resulted in the growth and decline of empires, the unconscious reactions that are splitting atoms.

A lasting order cannot be established by bayonets.

The methods of the natural sciences cannot be applied to human behavior because this behaviorlacks the peculiarity that characterizes events in the field of the natural sciences, viz., regularity.

The Santa Claus principle liquidates itself.

The Reichswirtschaftsministerium ('Reich Ministry of Economic Affairs') tells the shop managers what and how to produce, at what prices and from whom to buy, at what prices and to whom to sell. It assigns every worker to his job and fixes his wages. It decrees to whom and on what terms the capitalists must entrust their funds. Market exchange is merely a sham.

Servile labour disappeared because it could not stand the competition of free labour; its un-profitability sealed its doom in the market economy.

The uncouth hordes of common men are not fit to recognize duly the merits of those who eclipse their own wretchedness.

Government policies try to prevent the emergence of serious unemployment by credit expansion, i.e., inflation. The outcome was rising prices, renewed demands for higher wages and reiterated credit expansion; in short, protracted inflation.

Government force is derived from the sum of the physical force each citizen could exert which by one citizen himself would be ineffective, but when summed from the force of all the area's citizens indeed composes a power no citizen or group can withstand. That force is then rightly but justly to be used against those who violate the foundation pillars of freedom.

Every step by which an individual substitutes concerted action for isolated action results in an immediate and recognizable improvement in his conditions. The advantages derived from peaceful cooperation and division of labor are universal.

The market economy needs no apologists and propagandists. It can apply to itself the words of Sir Christopher Wren's epitaph in St. Paul's: 'If you seek his monument, look around.'

If the present tax rates had been in effect from the beginning of our century, many who are millionaires today would live under more modest circumstances. But all those new branches of industry which supply the masses with articles unheard of before, would operate, if at all, on a much smaller scale, and their products would be beyond the reach of the common man.

Scientific research sooner or later, but inevitably, encounters something ultimately given that it cannot trace back to something else of which it would appear as the regular or necessary derivative. Scientific progress consists in pushing further back this ultimately given.

The productivity of social cooperation surpasses in every respect the sum total of the production of isolated individuals.

Fascism was an emergency makeshift. To view it as something more would be a fatal error.

Public opinion takes no offense at the endeavors of farmers, workers, clerks, teachers, doctors, ministers, and people from many other callings to earn as much as they can. But it censures the capitalists and entrepreneurs for their greed.

You know that the population is of this planet is now ten times greater than it was in the ages preceding capitalism.; you know that all men today enjoy a higher standard of living than your ancestors did before the age of capitalism. But how do you know that you are the one out of ten who would have lived in the absence of capitalism? The mere fact that you are living today is proof that capitalism has succeeded, whether or not you consider your own life very valuable.

The system that would stand midway between capitalism and socialism.

In relation to the immense sacrifices that the state demands of the individual through the blood tax, it seems rather incidental whether it compensates the soldier more or less abundantly for the loss of time that he suffers from his military-service obligation.

Is still fulfilling its social function in supplying the consumers with more, better and cheaper goods.

Wars of aggression are popular nowadays with those nations convinced that only victory and conquest could improve their material well-being.

What is needed for a sound expansion of production is additional capital goods, not money or fiduciary media. The credit expansion is built on the sands of banknotes and deposits. It must collapse.

It is completely in accord with the etatist thinking prevalent everywhere today to consider a theory to be finally disposed of merely because the authorities who control appointments to academic positions, want to know nothing of it, and to see the criterion of truth in the approval of a government office.

Where there is no market economy, the best intentioned provisions of constitutions and laws remain a dead letter.

The people who think that the power of big business is enormous are mistaken

Inflation is an increase in the quantity of money without a corresponding increase in the demand for money, i.e., for cash holdings.

Those who satisfy the wants of a smaller number of people only collect fewer votes-dollars-than those who satisfy the wants of more people.

Progress of any kind is always at variance with the old and established ideas and therefore with the codes inspired by them. Every step of progress is a change involving heavy risks.

At eighty-eight how do you feel when getting up in the morning?...Amazed!

The idea of Socialism is at once grandiose and simple. . .We may say, in fact, that it is one of the most ambitious creations of the human spirit, . . .so magnificent, so daring, that it has rightly aroused the greatest admiration. If we wish to save the world from barbarism we have to refute Socialism, but we cannot thrust it carelessly aside.

Only the naive inflationist's could believe that government could enrich mankind through fiat money.

The philosophy commonly called individualism is a philosophy of social cooperation and the progressive intensification of the social nexus.

Capitalists have the tendency to move toward those countries in which there is plenty of labor available and at which labor is reasonable. And by the fact that they bring capital into these countries, they bring about a trend toward higher wage rates.

Notwithstanding all the passionate fulminations of the spokesmen of governments, the inevitable consequences of inflationism and expansionism...are coming to pass. And then, very late indeed, even simple people will discover that Keynes did not teach us how to perform the 'miracle...of turning a stone into bread,' but the not at all miraculous procedure of eating the seed corn. harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror.

There prevails on a free labor market a tendency toward full employment.

Action is an attempt to substitute a more satisfactory state of affairs for a less satisfactory one. We call such a willfully induced alteration an exchange.

These people talk of a "middle-of-the-road" policy. What they do not see is that the isolated interference, which means the interference with only one small part of the economic system, brings about a situation which the government itself — and the people who are asking for government interference — find worse than the conditions they wish to abolish: the people who are asking for rent control are very angry when they discover there is a shortage of apartments and a shortage of housing.

Western civilization is based upon the libertarian principle, and all its achievements are the results of the action of free men.

Each epoch has found in the Gospels what it sought to find there, and has overlooked what it wished to overlook.

Violent resistance against the power of the state is the last resort of the minority in its effort to break loose from the oppression of the majority. ... The citizen must not be so narrowly circumscribed in his activities that, if he thinks differently from those in power, his only choice is either to perish or to destroy the machinery of state.

If one regards inflation as an evil, then one has to stop inflating. One has to balance the budget of the government.

This dilettantish inability to comprehend the essential issues of the conduct of production affairs is not only manifested in the writings of Marx and Engels. It permeates no less the contributions of contemporary pseudo-economics.

The attainment of the economic aims of man presupposes peace.

The capitalist system, in spite of all obstacles put in its way by governments and politicians, has raised the standard of living of the masses in an unprecedented way.

The recurrence of periods of depression and mass unemployment has discredited capitalism in the opinion of injudicious people. Yet these events are not the outcome of the operation of the free market. They are on the contrary the result of well-intentioned but ill-advised government interference with the market.

The only source of the generation of additional capital goods is saving. If all the goods produced are consumed, no new capital comes into being.

Within the market society each serves all his fellow citizens and each is served by them. It is a system of mutual exchange of services and commodities, a mutual giving, and receiving.

Once public opinion is convinced that the increase in the quantity of money will continue and never come to an end, and that consequently the prices of all commodities will not cease to rise, everybody becomes eager to buy as much as possible and restrict his cash holdings to minimum size... If the credit expansion is not stopped in time, the boom turns to crack-up boom: the flight into real values begins, and the whole monetary system founders.

The men who are to protect the community against violent aggression easily turn into the most dangerous aggressors. They transgress their mandate. They misuse their power for the oppression of those whom they were expected to defend against oppression. The main political problem is how to prevent the police power from becoming tyrannical. This is the meaning of all the struggles for liberty.

Lenin's ideal was to build a nation's production effort according to the model of the post office.

The tricks and artifices of advertising are available to the seller of the better product no less than to the seller of the poorer product. But only the former enjoys the advantage derived from the better quality of his product.

You call it a 'loophole' when the government still allows you some freedom.

All that Lenin learned about business from the tales of his comrades who occasionally sat in business offices was that it required a lot of scribbling, recording, and ciphering. Thus, he declares that accounting and control are the chief things necessary for the organizing and correct functioning of society. . . . Here we have the philosophy of the filing clerk in its full glory.

There is no kind of freedom and liberty other than the kind which the market economy brings about.

Everybody thinks of economics whether he is aware of it or not. In joining a political party or in casting his ballot, the citizen implicitly takes a stand upon essential economic theories.