Who was Ludwig von Mises? It’s time to bring back his work

Phyllis Hunsinger

Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises was one of the most notable economists of the 20th century. He popularized praxeology —  the science of human action, that humans engage in conscious or purposeful actions toward chosen goals.

Ludwig von Mises demonstrated:

The expansion of free markets, the division of labor and private capital investment is the only possible path toward the prosperity of the human race.

Socialism would be disastrous for a modern economy because the absence of private ownership of land and capital goods prevents any sort of rational pricing or costs.

Government intervention hampers the market and proves counterproductive, leading inevitably to socialism.

Ludwig von Mises developed his methodology and political philosophy at the time and in the face of the socialist Frederick Engels, who was devoted to statism and collectivism. As chief economic advisor to the Austrian government in the 1920s, von Mises was credited with single-handedly slowing down Austrian inflation and demonstrating the validity of his economic philosophy.

Fleeing the Nazis, von Mises came to the United States, where he continued his work as a prolific scholar, teaching and influencing young economists like Freidrick Hayek and Henry Hazlitt and demonstrating the power of market and economic freedom to better the living conditions of all. His last public address, presented just three years before his death, was titled “Socialism Versus the Free Market,” a subject to which he’d devoted 50 years of thought.

Economist Mark Hendrickson wrote in a recent issue of the Epoch Times:       “It boggles the mind to contemplate how many human beings — literally billions of them — could have been spared the deprivations and depredations of socialist economic planning if only Mises’ explanation had been heeded. Now, a century later, with the historical evidence of socialism’s miserable failures in the USSR, Maoist China, Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, et al. having grimly played out in accord with Mises’ explanation of economic law, it’s astonishing that any adult would favor socialism over private property and free markets.”

What a shame that in today’s public schools and universities, the work of Ludwig von Mises is rarely, if ever, mentioned, while socialism is lauded despite countless examples of the damage done to its citizens by the socialist doctrine.  Students are being denied the full story. It’s time to bring back the study of Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises.

Phyllis Hunsinger is founder of the Freedom & Responsibility Education Enterprise Foundation in Grand Junction. The foundation provides resources to students and teachers in Western Colorado to promote the understanding of economics, financial literacy and free enterprise. For more information, visit www.free-dom.us.com.  A former teacher, principal and superintendent, Hunsinger also wrote “Down and Dirty: A ‘How To’ Math Book” Contact Hunsinger at phyllis@free-dom.us.com.