Dinner Topics for Wednesday
If we were to regard the Soviet regime as an experiment, we would have to say that the experiment has clearly demonstrated the superiority of capitalism and the inferiority of socialism.~Ludwig von Mises
Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises; 29 September 1881 – 10 October 1973) was a philosopher, Austrian School economist, sociologist, and classical liberal. He became a prominent figure in the Austrian School of economic thought and is best known for his work on praxeology. Fearing a Nazi takeover of Switzerland, where he was living at the time, Mises emigrated to the United States in 1940. Mises had a significant influence on the libertarian movement in the United States in the mid-20th century.
Work in the United States
In 1940 Mises and his wife fled the German advance in Europe and emigrated to New York City.:xi There he became a visiting professor at New York University. He held this position from 1945 until his retirement in 1969, though he was not salaried by the university. Businessman and libertarian commentator Lawrence Fertig, a member of the NYU Board of Trustees, funded Mises and his work. For part of this period, Mises studied currency issues for the Pan-Europa movement, which was led by a fellow NYU faculty member and Austrian exile, Richard Coudenhove-Kalergi. In 1947, Mises became one of the founding members of the Mont Pelerin Society. Mises had an indirect role in the economic reconstruction of Europe after World War II through his professional relationships with Ludwig Erhard, Charles de Gaulle and Luigi Einaudi. In 1962, von Mises received the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art for political economy at the Austrian Embassy in Washington, D.C.:1034
Mises’s work influenced various Americans, including Benjamin Anderson, Leonard Read, Henry Hazlitt, Max Eastman, legal scholar Sylvester J. Petro, and novelist Ayn Rand. His American students included Israel Kirzner, Hans Sennholz, Ralph Raico, Leonard Liggio, George Reisman and Murray Rothbard.
Mises received students at his home in New York. He retired from teaching at the age of 87. Mises died at the age of 92 in New York. He is buried at Ferncliff Cemetery, in Hartsdale, New York. Grove City College houses the 20,000 page archive of Mises papers and unpublished works.
Mises wrote and lectured extensively on behalf of classical liberalism. In his treatise Human Action, Mises adopted [praxeology]] as a general conceptual foundation of the social sciences and set forth his methodological approach to economics.
Mises criticized socialism in his 1922 work Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis:
The only certain fact about Russian affairs under the Soviet regime with regard to which all people agree is: that the standard of living of the Russian masses is much lower than that of the masses in the country which is universally considered as the paragon of capitalism, the United States of America. If we were to regard the Soviet regime as an experiment, we would have to say that the experiment has clearly demonstrated the superiority of capitalism and the inferiority of socialism.