198 "Ludwig Von Mises" Quotes And Sayings

Born in 1881, Ludwig von Mises earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Vienna and taught at the Universities of Vienna and Prague (1908-1913). A confirmed classical liberal, Mises was a passionate defender of capitalism and a bitter opponent of socialism. In 1920, he emigrated to the United States, where he lectured at New York University and Columbia University and published Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis (1922), Liberalism (1927) and Human Action (1949), which introduces the Austrian theory of human action.

Only stilted pedants can conceive the idea that there are absolute norms to tell what is beautiful and what is not. They try to derive from the works of the past a code of rules with which, as they fancy, the writers and artists of the future should comply. But the genius does not cooperate with the pundit. Ludwig Von Mises
The biological equipment of a man rigidly restricts the field...
The biological equipment of a man rigidly restricts the field in which he can serve. Ludwig Von Mises
Science does not give us absolute and final certainty. It...
Science does not give us absolute and final certainty. It only gives us assurance within the limits of our mental abilities and the prevailing state of scientific thought. Ludwig Von Mises
The worship of the state is the worship of force. There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men. The worst evils which mankind ever had to endure were inï¬â€šicted by bad governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster. Ludwig Von Mises
Used to the conditions of a capitalistic environment, the average American takes it for granted that every year business makes something new and better accessible to him. Looking backward upon the years of his own life, he realizes that many implements that were totally unknown in the days of his youth and many others which at that time could be enjoyed only by a small minority are now standard equipment of almost every household. He is fully confident that this trend will prevail also in the future. He simply calls it the American way of life and does not give serious thought to the question of what made this continuous improvement in the supply of material goods possible. . Ludwig Von Mises
If one prevents a man from working for the good of society while at the same time providing for the satisfaction of his own needs, then only one way remains open to him: to make himself richer and others poorer by the violent oppression and spoliation of his fellow men. Ludwig Von Mises
Against what is stupid, nonsensical, erroneous, and evil, [classical] liberalism...
Against what is stupid, nonsensical, erroneous, and evil, [classical] liberalism fights with the weapons of the mind, and not with brute force and repression. Ludwig Von Mises
In a battle between force and an idea, the latter...
In a battle between force and an idea, the latter always prevails. Ludwig Von Mises
It is the consumers who make poor people rich and...
It is the consumers who make poor people rich and rich people poor. Ludwig Von Mises
Socialism is an alternative to capitalism as potassium cyanide is...
Socialism is an alternative to capitalism as potassium cyanide is an alternative to water. Ludwig Von Mises
It is true that some secluded intellectuals in their esoteric circles talk differently. They proclaim the priority of what they call eternal absolute values and feign in their declamations–not in their personal conduct–a disdain of things secular and transitory. But the public ignores such utterances. The main goal of present-day political action is to secure for the respective pressure group memberships the highest material well-being. The only way for a leader to succeed is to instill in people the conviction that his program best serves the attainment of this goal. Ludwig Von Mises
These people look upon inequality as upon an evil. They do not assert that a definitedegree of inequality which can be exactly determined by a judgment free of anyarbitrariness and personal evaluation is good and has to be preserved unconditionally. They, on the contrary, declare inequality in itself as bad and merely contend that alower degree of it is a lesser evil than a higher degree in the same sense in which asmaller quantity of poison in a man’s body is a lesser evil than a larger dose. But ifthis is so, then there is logically in their doctrine no point at which the endeavorstoward equalization would have to stop. Whether one has already reached a degree ofinequality which is to be considered low enough and beyond which it is not necessaryto embark upon further measures toward equalization is just a matter of personaljudgments of value, quite arbitrary, different with different people and changing in thepassing of time. As these champions of equalization appraise confiscation and“redistribution” as a policy harming only a minority, viz., those whom they considerto be “too” rich, and benefiting the rest–the majority–of the people, they cannotoppose any tenable argument to those who are asking for more of this allegedlybeneficial policy. As long as any degree of inequality is left, there will always bepeople whom envy impels to press for a continuation of the equalization policy. Nothing can be advanced against their inference: If inequality of wealth and incomesis an evil, there is no reason to acquiesce in any degree of it, however low;equalization must not stop before it has completely leveled all individuals’ wealth andincomes. Ludwig Von Mises
All varieties of the producers' policy are advocated on the ground of their alleged ability to raise the party members' standard of living. Protectionism and economic self-sufficiency, labor union pressure and compulsion, labor legislation, minimum wage rates, public spending, credit expansion, subsidies, and other makeshifts are always recommended by their advocates as the most suitable or the only means to increase the real income of the people for whose votes they canvass. Every contemporary statesman or politician invariably tells his voters: My program will make you as affluent as conditions may permit, while my adversaries' program will bring you want and misery. Ludwig Von Mises
Inequality of wealth and incomes is an essential feature of the market economy. It is the implement that makes the consumers supreme in giving them the power to force all those engaged in production to comply with their orders. It forces all those engaged in production to the utmost exertion in the service of the consumers. It makes competition work. He who best serves the consumers profits most and accumulatesriches. Ludwig Von Mises
Therefore it is not arrogance or narrow-mindedness that leads the economist to discuss these things from the standpoint of economics. No one, who is not able to form an independent opinion about the admittedly difficult and highly technical problem of calculation in the socialist economy, should take sides in the question of socialism versus capitalism. No one should speak about interventionism who has not examined the economic consequences of interventionism. An end should be put to the common practice of discussing these problems from the standpoint of the prevailing errors, fallacies, and prejudices. It might be more entertaining to avoid the real issues and merely to use popular catchwords and emotional slogans. But politics is a serious matter. Those who do not want to think its problems through to the end should keep away from it. . Ludwig Von Mises
Without exception all political parties promise their supporters a higher real income. There is no difference in this respect between nationalists and internationalists and between the supporters of a market economy and the advocates of either socialism or interventionism. If a party asks its supporters to make sacrifices for its cause, it always explains these sacrifices as the necessary temporary means for the attainment of the ultimate goal, the improvement of the material well-being of its members. Each party considers it as an insidious plot against its prestige and its survival if somebody ventures to question the capacity of its projects to make the group members more prosperous. Each party regards with a deadly hatred the economists embarking upon such a critique. Ludwig Von Mises
People must learn that the accumulation of wealth by the successfulconduct of business is the corollary of the improvement of their own standard ofliving and vice versa. They must realize that bigness in business is not an evil, but both the cause and effect of the fact that they themselves enjoy all those amenitieswhose enjoyment is called the “American way of life. Ludwig Von Mises
In the market economy the consumers are supreme. Consumers determine, by theirbuying or abstention from buying, what should be produced, by whom and how, ofwhat quality and in what quantity. The entrepreneurs, capitalists, and landowners whofail to satisfy in the best possible and cheapest way the most urgent of the not yetsatisfied wishes of the consumers are forced to go out of business and forfeit theirpreferred position. In business offices and in laboratories the keenest minds are busyfructifying the most complex achievements of scientific research for the production ofever better implements and gadgets for people who have no inkling of the scientifictheories that make the fabrication of such things possible. The bigger an enterprise is, the more it is forced to adjust its production activities to the changing whims andfancies of the masses, its masters. The fundamental principle of capitalism is massproduction to supply the masses. It is the patronage of the masses that makesenterprises grow into bigness. The common man is supreme in the market economy. He is the customer “who is always right. Ludwig Von Mises
The social function of economic science consists precisely in developing soundeconomic theories and in exploding the fallacies of vicious reasoning. In the pursuit ofthis task the economist incurs the deadly enmity of all mountebanks and charlatanswhose shortcuts to an earthly paradise he debunks. The less these quacks are able toadvance plausible objections to an economist’s argument, the more furiously do theyinsult them. Ludwig Von Mises
Repression by brute force is always a confession of the inability to make use of the better weapons of the intellect–better because they alone give promise of final success. Ludwig Von Mises