Ludwig von Mises

(Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises)

Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig von Mises
  • Born: September 29, 1881
  • Died: October 10, 1973
  • Nationality: Austrian
  • Profession: Economist

113

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87

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427

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Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
… as a rule capitalists and entrepreneurs are not saints excelling in the virtue of self-denial. But neither are their critics saintly. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
… everyone is convinced that all sexual wrongs represent a symptom of decadence peculiar to our age. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
… the state, the government, the laws must not in any way concern themselves with schooling or education. Public funds must not be used for such purposes. The rearing and instruction of youth must be left entirely to parents and to private associations and institutions…. Continued adherence to a policy of compulsory education is utterly incompatible with efforts to establish lasting peace. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
A government enterprise can never be “commercialized” no matter how many external features of private enterprise are superimposed on it. Management & Managing Government
A privilege accruing to the majority ceases to be such. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Again and again, the early historians of capitalism have—one can hardly use a milder word—falsified history. History ;Capitalism
All modern political parties and all modern party ideologies originated as a reaction on the part of special group interests fighting for a privileged status … Lobbying & Special Interests
All modern political parties and all modern party ideologies originated as a reaction on the part of special group interests fighting for a privileged status against liberalism. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
All who have had something new to offer humanity have had nothing good to say of the state or its laws! Miscellaneous
Capitalism is not simply mass production, but mass production to satisfy the needs of the masses. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Social Sciences ;Capitalism
Christianity has acquiesced in slavery and polygamy, has practically canonized war, has, in the name of the Lord, burnt heretics and devastated countries. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Continued adherence to a policy of compulsory education is utterly incompatible with efforts to establish lasting peace…. the state, the government, the laws must not in any way concern themselves with schooling or education. Public funds must not be used for such purposes. The rearing and instruction of youth must be left entirely to parents and to private associations and institutions. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Economics is not about goods and services; it is about human choice and action. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
Even capital punishment could not make price control work in the days of Emperor Diocletian and the French Revolution. Capital Punishment, Dealth Penalty & State Execution
Every conservative policy, however, is fated from the start to fail; after all, its essence is to stop something unstoppable, to resist a development that cannot be impeded. Liberals & Conservatives
Every new theory encounters opposition and rejection at first. The adherents of the old, accepted doctrine object to the new theory, refuse it recognition, and declare it to be mistaken. Years, even decades, must pass before it succeeds in supplanting the old one. A new generation must grow up before its victory is decisive. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Every reactionary lacks intellectual independence. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Every restriction of trade creates vested interests that are from then onward opposed to its removal. Regulation & Deregulation
Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders; no one is relieved of his share of responsibility … Miscellaneous
For fully developed imperialism, the individual no longer has value. He is valuable to it only as a member of the whole, as a soldier of an army. Expansionism, Colonialism & Imperialism
Freedom is indivisible. As soon as one starts to restrict it, one enters upon a decline on which it is difficult to stop. Freedom & Liberty
Government is essentially the negation of liberty. Freedom & Liberty
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 Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Governmental power is the faculty to beat into submission all those who would dare to disobey the orders issued by the authorities. … Every governmental action is backed by constables, prison guards, and executioners. However beneficial a governmental action may appear, it is ultimately made possible only by the government's power to compel its subjects to do what many of them would not do if they were not threatened by the police and the penal courts. Power
Governments and local administrative bodies decide to inform the public of their mistakes only when losses have become disproportionately great. Secrecy & Transparency
He who is unfit to serve his fellow citizens wants to rule them. Detriments & Qualifications ;Public Office: Benefits
History does not provide any example of capital accumulation brought about by a government. As far as governments invested in the construction of roads, railroads, and other useful public works, the capital needed was provided by the savings of individual citizens and borrowed by the government. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
History makes one wise, but not competent to solve concrete problems. History
Hitler and his clique conquered Germany by brutal violence, by murder and crime. But the doctrines of Nazism had got hold of the German mind long before then. Persuasion, not violence, had converted the immense majority of the nation to the tenets of militant nationalism. If Hitler had not succeeded in winning the race for dictatorship, somebody else would have won it. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest ;Dictators, Despots, Autocrats, Autocracies & Dictatorships
If history could prove and teach us anything, it would be that private ownership of the means of production is a necessary requisite of civilization and material well-being. . . . Only nations committed to the principle of private property have risen above penury and produced science, art and literature. Business, Commerce & Finance ;Capitalism
If one rejects laissez faire on account of man’s fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action. Democracies & Republics
If one wants to avoid the recurrence of economic crises, one must avoid the expansion of credit that creates the boom and inevitably leads into the slump. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
If the diligence of modern industry were replaced by the contemplative life of the past, unnumbered millions would be doomed to death by starvation. Nutrition, Food, Starvation, Farming & Agriculture
If the government objects to monopoly prices for new inventions, it should stop granting patents. Copyrights, Patents & Intellectual Property
If trade were completely free, production would only take place under the most suitable conditions. Foreign Trade
In many fields … favoritism simply cannot be avoided.
In the capitalist society there is a place and bread for all. Its ability to expand provides sustenance for every worker. Permanent unemployment is not a feature of free capitalism. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Capitalism
In the long run even the most despotic governments with all their brutality and cruelty are no match for ideas. Eventually the ideology that has won the support of the majority will prevail and cut the ground from under the tyrants feet. Then the oppressed many will rise in rebellion and overthrow their masters. Civil Disorder, Riots, Protests & Demonstrations
In the United States, the two-party system of the old days is seemingly still preserved. But this is only a camouflage of the real situation. In fact, the political life of the United States . . . is determined by the struggle and aspirations of pressure groups. Lobbying & Special Interests
It cannot be denied that Fascism and similar movements aiming at the establishment of dictatorships are full of the best intentions and that their intervention has, for the moment, saved European civilization. The merit that Fascism has thereby won for itself will live on eternally in history. But though its policy has brought salvation for the moment, it is not of the kind which could promise continued success Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
It is an enormous simplification to speak of the American mind. Every American has his own mind. It is absurd to ascribe any achievements and virtues or any misdeeds and vices of individual Americans to America as such.... What makes the American people different from any other people is the joint effect produced by the thoughts and actions of innumerable uncommon Americans. Public Opinion & Polling
Let us not forget that the actual menace to our civilization does not originate from a conflict between the white and colored races but from conflict among the various peoples of Europe and of European ancestry. War & Peace
Majorities are no less exposed to error and frustration than kings and dictators. That a fact is deemed true by the majority does not prove its truth. Human Nature ;Dictators, Despots, Autocrats, Autocracies & Dictatorships
Most actions do not aim at anybody’s defeat or loss. They aim at an improvement in conditions. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
No chapter of history is steeped further in blood than the history of colonialism. Blood was shed uselessly and senselessly. Flourishing lands were laid waste; whole peoples destroyed and exterminated. All this can in no way be extenuated or justified. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
No one can escape the influence of a prevailing ideology. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
No politician is any longer interested in the question whether a measure is fit to produce the ends aimed at. What alone counts for him is whether the majority of the voters favor or reject it. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
No ruler who lacks the gift of persuasion can stay in office long; it is the indispensable condition of government. It would be an idle illusion to assume that any government, no matter how good, could lastingly do without public consent. Leaders & Leadership
Not everything that exists today is reasonable; but this does not mean that everything that does not exist is sensible. Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
Nothing corrupts a man so much as being an arm of the law and making men suffer. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Nothing is more useless than complaining over errors that can no longer be rectified, nothing more vain than regret. Human Nature
People favor discrimination and privileges because they do not realize that they themselves are consumers and as such must foot the bill. In the case of protectionism, for example, they believe that only the foreigners against whom the import duties discriminate are hurt. It is true the foreigners are hurt, but not they alone: the consumers who must pay higher prices suffer with them. Business, Commerce & Finance
Scientific criticism has no nobler task than to shatter false beliefs. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Since the third century Christianity has always served simultaneously those who supported the social order and those who wished to overthrow it. . . . Religion & God
Tax-supported universities are under the sway of the party in power. The authorities try to appoint only professors who are ready to advance ideas of which they themselves approve. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
The bigness and the economic “power” of the railroad companies did not impede the emergence of the motor car and the airplane. Transportation
The closed-door policy [to immigration] is one of the root causes of our wars. Immigration & Emigration
The educated classes are possessed by the idea that in the social domain anything can be accomplished if only one applies enough force and is sufficiently resolute. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
The essence of an individual’s freedom is the opportunity to deviate from traditional ways of thinking and of doing things. Freedom & Liberty
The factory owners did not have the power to compel anybody to take a factory job. They could only hire people who were ready to work for the wages offered to them. Low as these wage rates were, they were nonetheless much more than these paupers could earn in any other field open to them. It is a distortion of facts to say that the factories carried off the housewives from the nurseries and the kitchens and the children from their play. These women had nothing to cook with and to feed their children. These children were destitute and starving. Their only refuge was the factory. It saved them, in the strict sense of the term, from death by starvation. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
The gold standard has one tremendous virtue: the quantity of the money supply, under the gold standard, is independent of the policies of governments and political parties. This is its advantage. It is a form of protection against spendthrift governments Money, Coins & Minting
The great mass of people are incapable of realizing that in economic life nothing is permanent except change. They regard the existing state of affairs as eternal; as it has been so shall it always be. Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers
The idea that political freedom can be preserved in the absence of economic freedom, and vice versa, is an illusion. Political freedom is the corollary of economic freedom. Freedom & Liberty
The issue is always the same: the government or the market. There is no third solution. Regulation & Deregulation ;Capitalism
The market economy itself was not a product of violent action—of revolutions—but of a series of gradual peaceful changes. The implications of the term “industrial revolution” are utterly misleading. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
The mixing of politics and business not only is detrimental to politics, as is frequently observed, but even much more so to business. Business, Commerce & Finance
The monopoly problem mankind has to face today is not an outgrowth of the operation of the market economy. It is a product of purposive action on the part of governments. It is not one of the evils inherent in capitalism as the demagogues trumpet. . Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Capitalism
The most serious dangers for American freedom and the American way of life do not come from without. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
The much abused “shopkeepers” have abolished slavery and serfdom, made woman the companion of man with equal rights, proclaimed equality before the law and freedom of thought and opinion, declared war on war, abolished torture, and mitigated the cruelty of punishment. What cultural force can boast of similar achievements? Reform, Change, Transformation & Reformers ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
The Nazis have an ally in every town or village where there is a man eager to get rid of a Jewish competitor. The secret weapon of Hitler is the anti-Jewish inclinations of many millions of shopkeepers and grocers, of doctors and lawyers, professors and writers. Discrimination & Prejudice
The ordered organization of coercion we call the State. States. Nations & Nationhood
The peoples of the economically backward countries are poorer than the Americans because their countries lack a sufficient number of successful capitalists and entrepreneurs. Foreign Aid
The productivity of social cooperation surpasses in every respect the sum total of the production of isolated individuals. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
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 his fundamental demand. Liberals & Conservatives
The proof of a theory is in its reasoning, not in its sponsorship. The proof of a theory is in its reasoning, not in its sponsorship. Policy & Policy Making
The specific experience with which economics and economic statistics are concerned always refers to the past. It is history, and as such does not provide knowledge about a regularity that will manifest itself also in the future. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
The study of economics has been again and again led astray by the vain idea that economics must proceed according to the pattern of other sciences. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
The worst and most dangerous form of absolutist rule is that of an intolerant majority. Power
There cannot be the slightest doubt that migration barriers diminish the productivity of human labor. Immigration & Emigration
There is no such thing as a just and fair method of exercising the tremendous power that interventionism puts into the hands of the legislature and the executive. Morality, Ethics & Conflict of Interest
There is no such thing as quantitative economics. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs
There was no secrecy about the ambitions of the Nazis. The Nazis themselves advertised them in innumerable books and pamphlets, and in every issue of their numerous newspapers and periodicals. Nobody can reproach the Nazis with having concocted their plots clandestinely. He who had ears to hear and eyes to see could not help but know all about their aspirations. Compliments, Insults & Rebukes
Those politicians, professors and union bosses who curse big business are fighting for a lower standard of living. Business, Commerce & Finance
Those underlings who in all the preceding ages of history had formed the herds of slaves and serfs, of paupers and beggars, became the buying public, for whose favor the businessmen canvass. They are the customers who are “always right,” the patrons who have the power to make poor suppliers rich and rich suppliers poor. Economics, The Economy & Fiscal Affairs ;Capitalism ;Slaves, Slavery & The Slave Trade
Ultimately the views of the ruling class become embodied in the law. Law, Courts, Jails, Crime & Law Enforcement
War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings. The earthquake means good business for construction workers, and cholera improves the business of physicians, pharmacists, and undertakers; but no one has for that reason yet sought to celebrate earthquakes and cholera as stimulators of the productive forces in the general interest. Business, Commerce & Finance
We must see conditions as they really are, not as we want them to be. Policy & Policy Making
A lasting order cannot be established by bayonets. War & Peace
Economically considered, war and revolution are always bad business. Business, Commerce & Finance ;War & Peace
Human civilization is not something achieved against nature; it is rather the outcome of the working of the innate qualities of man. Nature
If history could teach us anything, it would be that private property is inextricably linked with civilization. History
If men do not now succeed in abolishing war, civilization and mankind are doomed. War & Peace
If some peoples pretend that history or geography gives them the right to subjugate other races, nations, or peoples, there can be no peace. History ;War & Peace
Innovation is the whim of an elite before it becomes a need of the public.
Manufacturing and commercial monopolies owe their origin not to a tendency imminent in a capitalist economy but to governmental interventionist policy directed against free trade and laissez faire.
Men are fighting... because they are convinced that the extermination of adversaries is the only means of promoting their own well-being.
Modern society, based as it is on the division of labor, can be preserved only under conditions of lasting peace. Society ;War & Peace
Only one thing can conquer war - that attitude of mind which can see nothing in war but destruction and annihilation. War & Peace
Peace and not war is the father of all things. War & Peace
Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Society ;War & Peace
Sovereignty must not be used for inflicting harm on anyone, whether citizen or foreigner.
The attainment of the economic aims of man presupposes peace. War & Peace
The philosophy of protectionism is a philosophy of war. War & Peace
The root of the evil is not the construction of new, more dreadful weapons. It is the spirit of conquest.
The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster. History
The worst evils which mankind has ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. Government
To defeat the aggressors is not enough to make peace durable. The main thing is to discard the ideology that generates war. War & Peace
War can really cause no economic boom, at least not directly, since an increase in wealth never does result from destruction of goods. War & Peace
War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings. War & Peace
War... is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror. War & Peace
Wars of aggression are popular nowadays with those nations convinced that only victory and conquest could improve their material well-being.
Whoever wants peace among nations must seek to limit the state and its influence most strictly. Power ;War & Peace
Whoever wishes peace among peoples must fight statism. War & Peace