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Mises's classic statement in defense of a free society. One of the most inspiring books ever written on the idea of liberty.

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This is Mises's classic statement in defense of a free society, one of the last statements of the old liberal school and a text from which we can continue to learn. It has been the conscience of a global movement for liberty for 80 years. 

It first appeared in 1927, as a followup to both his devastating 1922 book showing that socialism would fail, and his 1926 book on interventionism.

It was written to address the burning question: if not socialism, and if not fascism or interventionism, what form of social arrangements are most conducive to human flourishing? Mises's answer is summed up in the title, by which he meant classical liberalism.

Mises did more than restate classical doctrine. He gave a thoroughly modern defense of freedom, one that corrected the errors of the old liberal school by rooting the idea of liberty in the institution of private property (a subject on which the classical school was sometimes unclear). Here is the grand contribution of this volume.

"The program of liberalism, therefore, if condensed into a single word, would have to read: property, that is, private ownership of the means of production... All the other demands of liberalism result from this fundamental demand."

But there are other insights too. He shows that political decentralization and secession are the best means to peace and political liberty. As for religion, he recommends the complete separation of church and state. On immigration, he favors the freedom of movement. On culture, he praised the political virtue of tolerance. On education: state involvement must end, and completely.

He deals frankly with the nationalities problem, and provides a stirring defense of rationalism as the essential foundation of liberal political order. He discusses political strategy, and the relationship of liberalism to special-interest politics.

In some ways, this is the most political of Mises's treatises, and also one of the most inspiring books ever written on the idea of liberty. It remains the book that can set the world on fire for freedom, which is probably why it has been translated into more than a dozen languages.

How marvelous to have it available in this low-priced, modern edition.



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(based on 2 reviews)

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by James
on 12/3/2012
from Gobles
This book, purchased in May 2011, was my first order through the Mises Store and my first contact with Ludwig von Mises.  I was surprised to learn that instead of being a highly confused conservative, I was in fact a "Classical Liberal".  This book started me on my quest to fill my mind and my library with all things Mises.  As a middle aged man who has avoided anything remotely resembling economics his entire life, this book and others by Professor von Mises and his students, have awakened in me an intense interest in and enjoyment of the study of this "dismal science".
by Robert
on 6/30/2012
from Conyers
It took me a long time to get through the first half of this as it seemed to be somewhat repetitive. I put it down for a couple months and finally picked it back up. The second half however was incredible! With all the labels today I've often found myself trying to decide where I fit. I'm sick and tired of the two party system. Disgusted with both the Republicans and Democrats, they all seem to be Progressives today. After reading this I am convinced that I am a "Classic" Liberal.

I've read almost 200 books over the last few years and have finally stumbled across somebody who actually makes sense to me! I just bought Socialism by Mises and am very much excited to get going on it. A friend of mine who is an Economics major suggested that I read Human Action as soon as possible. I just ordered that and will work it in very soon. 

In short. If you want a comprehensive look at Capitalism, without all the "Left" "Right" politics getting in the way, this is the book for you! 
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Preface to the English-Language Edition


1. Liberalism

2. Material Welfare

3. Rationalism

4. The Aim of Liberalism

5. Liberalism and Capitalism

6. The Psychological Roots of Antiliberalism

1. The Foundations of Liberal Policy

1. Property

2. Freedom

3. Peace

4. Equality

5. The Inequality of Wealth and Income

6. Private Property and Ethics

7. State and Government

8. Democracy

9. Critique of the Doctrine of Force

10. The Argument of Fascism

11. The Limits of Governmental Activity

12. Tolerance

13. The State and Antisocial Conduct

2. Liberal Economic Policy

1. The Organization of the Economy

2. Private Property and Its Critics

3. Private Property and the Government

4. The Impracticability of Socialism

5. Interventionism

6. Capitalism: The Only Possible System of Social Organization

7. Cartels, Monopolies, and Liberalism

8. Bureaucratization

3. Liberal Foreign Policy

1. The Boundaries of the State

2. The Right of Self-Determination

3. The Political Foundations of Peace

4. Nationalism

5. Imperialism

6. Colonial Policy

7. Free Trade

8. Freedom of Movement

9. The United States of Europe

10. The League of Nations

11. Russia

4. Liberalism and the Political Parties

1. The “Doctrinairism” of the Liberals

2. Political Parties

3. The Crisis of Parliamentarism and the Idea of a Diet Representing Special Groups

4. Liberalism and the Parties of Special Interests

5. Party Propaganda and Party Organization

6. Liberalism as the “Party of Capital”

5. The Future of Liberalism


1. On the Literature of Liberalism

2. On the Term “Liberalism”


ISBN 9781610166911
eISBN 9781610164085
Publisher Ludwig von Mises Institute
Publication Date 2018
Original Publisher Van Nostrand
Original Publication Date 1927, 1962, 1978
Binding PB
Page Length 224
Dimensions 6" x 9"

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