Icons of Freedom: Ludwig Von Mises
We believe part of the problem for the Conservative Party over the last few years is that it’s allowed itself to travel too far from its ideological roots. In this occasional series of short explorations, we’ll be taking a look at some of the loudest voices in the philosophical shaping of our movement. First up: Ludwig Von Mises.
Von Mises was the great Early 20th Century proponent of Austrian School Economics, which originated in the late 19th Century, as a response to the dangerous and impoverishing rise of Marxism. Friedrich Hayek studied under him, and his arguments for free markets and against centralised planning have reverberated through Conservative politics ever since.
Some of his most well-known theories include ‘quantity theory of money’, ‘the Austrian business cycle theory’ and ‘the economic calculation problem’. As well as inspiring, his works are still eminently readable, pivoting as they do around Von Mises’ timeless belief in the freedom of the individual, the power of markets to cater to the individual, and capitalism as an engine of peace and enlightenment.
Von Mises Quotes:
“All people, however fanatical they may be in their zeal to disparage and to fight capitalism, implicitly pay homage to it by passionately clamoring for the products it turns out.”
“A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society.”
“If one prevents a man from working for the good of society while at the same time providing for the satisfaction of his own needs, then only one way remains open to him: to make himself richer and others poorer by the violent oppression and spoliation of his fellow men.”
“If history could teach us anything, it would be that private property is inextricably linked with civilization.”
A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism: is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.”
For further exploration of the wisdom – and wit – of Ludwig Von Mises, we recommend “The Quotable Mises”, available for free here: https://mises.org/sites/default/files/The%20Quotable%20Mises_2.pdf
And for a more detailed understanding of the great man: http://www.iea.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/files/upldbook514pdf.pdf