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Ludwig von Mises - A Primer

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To understand the brilliance of Mises, start here. A comprehensive yet accessible overview of Mises’ outstanding achievements. At a time of economic crisis, this monograph makes it clear that Mises’ work is highly relevant today.
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Ludwig von Mises was one of the greatest economists and political scientists of the twentieth century. He revolutionized the understanding of money, inflation, and recessions; comprehensively refuted the arguments for socialism; and provided a devastating critique of the methodologies of mainstream economics. His contributions to the Austrian school laid the intellectual groundwork for thinkers such as F. A. Hayek, Murray Rothbard, and Israel Kirzner.

In Ludwig von Mises  A Primer , Eamonn Butler provides a comprehensive yet accessible overview of Mises’s outstanding achievements. At a time of economic crisis, this monograph makes it clear that Mises’s work is highly relevant today. Indeed, while mainstream economics has been found wanting, the latest recession appears to have been entirely consistent with his analysis. Furthermore, the poor performance of state health and education services can be explained by Mises’s Austrian theories. Nevertheless, Mises remains neglected by the economics profession, policymakers, and academics.

This readable primer explains why his work should be at the core of economic thinking.


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The author 9
Foreword by Steven Baker 10
Summary 13

1 Why Mises is important 17
Intellectual contributions 18

2 Life, career and writings 25
Career in Europe and America 25
Writings on economics, political science and method 28
The legacy of Mises today 32

3 The science of economics 34
The importance of values 34
The science of human action 36
Interpreting values from actions 37
Faulty thinking in mainstream economics 39

4 The logic of human action 42
The origins of exchange and prices 43
The false foundations of textbook economics 44

5 The dynamic economy 46
Change is inherent in economics 46
The real nature of markets 48
The critical importance of time 50

6 Entrepreneurship 52
Entrepreneurship and profit 52
The pricing process 54
The prices of production goods 55

7 Competition, cooperation and the consumer 57
The sovereignty of consumers 57
The process of competition 58
Capitalism does not lead to monopoly 60

8 Capital and interest 62
The importance of time in human choices 62
The complexities of capital 63
The phenomenon of interest 65

9 Money and inflation 67
Money as an exchange good 67
The supply, demand and price of money 68
The real consequences of monetary expansion 71
The goals of monetary policy 72
A commodity standard? 73

10 The tragedy of the business cycle 75
The lure of cheap borrowing 76
The progress of the business cycle 76
No painless escape 78
The Mises–Hayek explanation today 78

11 The problems of socialism 81
Consumption and production goods 81
The socialist calculation problem 82
The need for a unit of account 83
Market socialism 86

12 The flaws in Marxism 88
The supposed problems of capitalism 89
Ideology and class 89
Marxism and classical economics 90
The erosion of freedom under socialism 91

13 Interventionism and bureaucracy 93
Hostility against capitalism 94
Misguided efforts to improve capitalism 94
Interventionism 96
Bureaucracy 97
14 The liberal alternative 100
The liberal framework 101
The benefits of liberalism 103
Liberalism and equality 104

15 Quotations from Ludwig von Mises 106
On the problems of socialism 106
On the dangers of interventionism 107
On liberalism 108
On the drivers of economic progress 109
On the importance of individual values 110
On entrepreneurship and competition 111
On inflation, booms and busts 113
Selected books and articles by Mises 114
About the IEA 118
ISBN 9780255366298
Publisher IEA
Publication Date 04/21/2010
Binding PB
Page Length 119

Mises Reader
A book you can recommend to anyone as an undaunting introduction to the economics of Ludwig von Mises.

Price: $11.95