Monday, May 1, 2017

Ludwig von Mises' critique of socialism


Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) is a famous economist best known for his criticism of socialism. Mises was also a supporter of the Austrian School of economics. Economist Friedrich Hayek says,
There is no single man to whom I owe more intellectually, even though he [Mises] was never my teacher in the institutional sense of the word. (Coping with Ignorance, 1978)
Economist Raimondo Cubeddu says,
Just when the hopes of socialism seemed to be about to come true, Mises voiced the thoughts uppermost in the minds of so many who lacked the courage to speak out. Socialism could not work or keep its promises, he argued, because under such a system economic calculations in terms of value were rendered impossible. (The Philosophy of the Austrian School, 1993)
This post is a collection of quotes from Mises talking about socialism and economics.

Critique of socialism


"The characteristic mark of this age of dictators, wars and revolutions is its anti-capitalistic bias. Most governments and political parties are eager to restrict the sphere of private initiative and free enterprise." (Socialism, 1922)

"If historical experience could teach us anything, it would be that private property is inextricably linked with civilization." (Human Action, 1949)

"Government spending cannot create additional jobs. If the government provides the funds required by taxing the citizens or by borrowing from the public, it abolishes on the one hand as many jobs as it creates on the other." (Socialism, Epilogue 1947)

"If one master plan is to be substituted for the plans of each citizen, endless fighting must emerge" (Socialism, 1947)

Business cycle


"Credit expansion can bring about a temporary boom. But such a fictitious prosperity must end in a general depression of trade, a slump." (Socialism, 1947)

Unemployment


"Permanent mass unemployment destroys the moral foundations of the social order. The young people, who, having finished their training for work, are forced to remain idle, are the ferment out of which the most radical political movements are formed. In their ranks the soldiers of the coming revolutions are recruited." (Socialism, 1922)

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