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Anti-Capitalistic Mentality, The

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Why intellectuals so often loathe the free market.
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In 1954, after a lifetime of serious theoretical work in economic science, Mises turned his attention to one of the great puzzles of all time: discovering why the intellectuals hate capitalism. The result is this socio-psycho-cultural analysis informed by economic theory.

Mises explores answers from a wide variety of angles, and discusses the nature of academic institutions, popular culture, and how vices like jealousy and envy affect theory. All play a role in preventing people from seeing the self-evident benefits of economic freedom relative to controls. His comments on the resentment of the intellectuals cut very deeply. Mises shrewdly teases the anti-capitalist bias out of contemporary fiction and popular culture generally.

In the course of his narrative, he explains aspects of the market that have generally eluded even its defenders. For example, is it true that markets dumb down the culture, exalting trashy novels and movies over higher-brow fare? Mises points out that the tastes of the masses will always and everywhere be lower than those educated and cultivated to love higher culture. But, he says, the glory of capitalism is that it brings to every sector what it wants and needs, and more of it than any other system. So, yes, there will be more trash, but also more great work as well. It is a matter of availability: Under socialism, nothing is available. Under capitalism, choice seems nearly infinite.

His is quite subtle in his analysis here and throughout. It's remarkable how his narrative applies in our time, even more than when it was written.

The style of this volume is more casual than you will find elsewhere. In some sense, it is more thrilling for it. The reader senses that Mises has unleashed a lifetime of frustration here, and shined a very bright light on some dark corners of opinion.

The contents of this volume include:

  • I. The Social Characteristics of Capitalism and the Psychological Causes of Its Vilification
    • 1. The Sovereign Consumer
    • 2. The Urge for Economic Betterment
    • 3. Status Society and Capitalism
    • 4. The Resentment of Frustrated Ambition
    • 5. The Resentment of the Intellectuals
    • 6. The Anti-capitalistic Bias of American Intellectuals
    • 7. The Resentment of the White-Collar Workers
    • 8. The Resentment of "Cousins"
    • 9. The Communism of Broadway and Hollywood
    • 10. The Non-Economic Objections to Capitalism
    • 11. Ant-Communism vs. Capitalism

     

  • II. The Ordinary Man's Social Philosophy
    • 1. Capitalism as it is and as it is Seen by the Common Man
    • 2. The Anti-capitalistic Front

       

  • III. Literature Under Capitalism
    • 1. The Market for Literary Products
    • 2. Success on the Book Market
    • 3. Remarks about the Detective Stories
    • 4. Freedom of the Press
    • 5. The Bigotry of the Literati
    • 6. The "Social" Novels and Plays

Reviews

Average Rating:
(based on 7 reviews)

Showing 1 - 5 of 7 Reviews:

by zensquirrel
on 1/16/2011
Food for thought
"A free press can only exist where there is private control of the means of production" - yet why is there so much resentment against capitalism expressed where there is freedom of the press? Mises explores many areas where this is the case, and why, including some I hadn't considered before such as detective fiction. Somewhat in the same vein as Eric Hoffer, Mises cuts across ideological boundaries and transcends conventional wisdom. As much a work of sociology as economics, don't expect cliches here but lots of food for thought. This is a good place to start for someone new to Mises, and a good book to go to next for those who have read Hoffer.
by Octobox
on 6/8/2010
Semantical errors when evaluating "Capitalism"
Capitalism was coined by Karl Marx - he created and defined the word. Capitalism (to Marx) meant "economic-feudalism" ---The wedding of Big Industry with Big Gov't ---The need for the extension of and protection of slave-property (necessitated Big Gov't) ---The need to drive Indians off their land, to kill them in mass numbers, and to drive them to Reservations again necessitated Big Gov't) ---Ownership during Marx critique was based on currency manipulation (zero free-market era) ---The wealth of the industrialist was not based on a proper reflection of consumer-sovereignty. ---Just because Marx was wrong in other areas does not mean we should start a perpetual intellectual war based on the hijacking of his term. Economic-Individualism is not "capitalism" it is a "free-market" thats why most Austrians will throw the caveat "free-market" capitalism as a prefix.
by Abhimanyu Jha
on 5/17/2010
Misses the Point By About 90%
I am a first generation entrepreneur, just received our second round of funding. I think... Mises may be right about by 10 % For those who want to know better, go to 2 different areas of study 1. Evolutionary Biology on Human Morality (J Haidt's SIM theory, 2001) Nature has evolved in us five sense of morality of which Conservatives (in American sense) have their moral sense distributed around all 5 moral senses. Liberals, have only two heightened moral senses: Care/Harm and Justice/Fairness. Many socialists are simply people to whom immediate harm to poor people through Capitalism causes them enough moral anxiety to override for them any long-term benefit that Capitalism may have. Books like these will only infuriate them 2. Capitalism does enough harm to itself when it doesn't evolve good enough mechanisms to prevent rogue capitalists (who destroy instead of create value and make life difficult for genuine entrepreneurs)from fudging, fooling and harming the system (Taleb,Black Swan)
by Soldier Svejk
on 4/11/2010
Think again
Fascist propaganda missing the point that academia specialises in ideas and the capitalist establishment specialises in power, creating a bias towards (social) justice in one and an obsession with wealth and a hatred of people in the other. The search for a "psychological" explanation for the supposed "socialist" bias is sickening and perverse. Pseudo-intellectual porn for money grubbers trying to ease their conscience.
by Doug
on 3/29/2010
Writers should read it
Outstanding analysis of the literati's infatuation with socialism, with Zola as a key example of 'social' literature. Acerbic, learned, precise work from the Austrian master.
12
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  • I. The Social Characteristics of Capitalism and the Psychological Causes of Its Vilification
    • 1. The Sovereign Consumer
    • 2. The Urge for Economic Betterment
    • 3. Status Society and Capitalism
    • 4. The Resentment of Frustrated Ambition
    • 5. The Resentment of the Intellectuals
    • 6. The Anti-capitalistic Bias of American Intellectuals
    • 7. The Resentment of the White-Collar Workers
    • 8. The Resentment of "Cousins"
    • 9. The Communism of Broadway and Hollywood
    • 10. The Non-Economic Objections to Capitalism
    • 11. Ant-Communism vs. Capitalism

  • II. The Ordinary Man's Social Philosophy
    • 1. Capitalism as it is and as it is Seen by the Common Man
    • 2. The Anti-capitalistic Front

  • III. Literature Under Capitalism
    • 1. The Market for Literary Products
    • 2. Success on the Book Market
    • 3. Remarks about the Detective Stories
    • 4. Freedom of the Press
    • 5. The Bigotry of the Literati
    • 6. The "Social" Novels and Plays
  • ISBN 9781610161336
    UPC 1610161335
    Publisher LvMI
    Publication Date 1/1/2008
    Binding PB
    Page Length 120

    Why intellectuals so often loathe the free market.
    Price: $5.00