We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

A gem of a short work that repays study

As we await the UK government’s financial statement known as the Pre-Budget Report, expected to be full of stuff designed to appease Labour’s so-called “base” of banker haters, I have been re-reading Ludwig von Mises’ classic explanation of why there has been so much hatred for markets and business down the years from the likes of intellectuals and their media outlets. Some of the names and examples will be a little dated – who now remembers such old monsters like Harold Laski? – but the message is as pertinent as ever.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on VK

13 comments to A gem of a short work that repays study

  • Current

    The funny thing about this book is that it was reviewed very negatively in “The Economist” magazine.

    They regarded it as far too simplistic. Even the left are not that stupid, and they’re getting smarter they said. Time, alas, has proved Mises right and the Economist wrong.

  • “Even the left are not that stupid, and they’re getting smarter they said. Time, alas, has proved Mises right and the Economist wrong.”

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    I spent a fair few lunch hours in Starbucks around this time last year banking his “The Theory Of Money & Credit”.

  • Kev

    Well according to the BBC

    But he was also forced to admit that the recession in the UK had been worse than he predicted last year.

    He said the economy would shrink by 4.75% in 2009 compared with his Budget estimate in April of 3.5%.

    Now I’m sure I’m not remembering things wrongly when I say that’s what pretty much everyone apart from Mr Darling predicted at the time, wasn’t it? One wonders why this moron is the one in charge…

    Also, there’s this…

    From next month, no-one under 24 needs to be unemployed for longer than six months – down from the current 12 months – before being guaranteed work or training.

    Now surely if it was that easy to give them guaranteed work or training, there wouldn’t be enough unemployed people around that anyone would need to worry about it in the first place… I suppose I’m just missing something as I’m clearly not as bright as our wonderful overlords.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    The fact that the Economist regarded von Mises’ superb book only demonstrates why Paul Marks of this parish has such torrential contempt for that magazine these days.

  • RRS

    For those concerned with similar effects in the U S (and partially applicable in the U K and parts of the E U) there is a much shorter but penetrating analysis along the same lines in:

    Why Do Intellectuals Oppose Capitalism

    An essay by Robert Nozick reprinted in his
    Socratic Puzzles
    (Harvard University Press, 1997) It was first written in 1989 [zooks, 20 years ago!!!] An adaptation is available at Cato.

    I can supply (within reason) to those interested a copy (28KB) of the Cato issue, by attachment, from s24rrs@aol.com

  • Kev, getting everybody into work or training is so trivial that even I could organize it. But what would be accomplished by training every unemployed person to become a competent plumber to the entire satisfaction of Mickey Mouse, or paying them to sing Gordon Is A Moron for eight hours a day with the proceeds of my John Bull printing set?

    Fortunately, the Government is not as frivolous as I am, and therefore makes no apologies for brushing aside such self-indulgent philosophical quibbles in this hour of national crisis. Down with the idle, heartless, do-nothing running dogs of the fat cattery! New Labour, at least, understands the need for bold action.

    Bet the Tories do, too… ;-(

  • Laird

    Thanks for the link, GF.

    RRS, I would like to see the Nozick article and will contact you separately. Thanks.

  • Laird,

    You can actually find the article online in its entirety, here.

  • Laird

    Thanks, Mastiff, but RRS already sent it to me.

  • Kev

    Kev, getting everybody into work or training is so trivial that even I could organize it. But what would be accomplished by training every unemployed person to become a competent plumber to the entire satisfaction of Mickey Mouse, or paying them to sing Gordon Is A Moron for eight hours a day with the proceeds of my John Bull printing set?

    You’re right, I suppose he didn’t specify worthwhile work or training… shouldn’t assume these things I guess!

  • Paul Marks

    Sadly the Economist has now gone well beyond saying that such-and-such examination of the left is not good for such-and-such reasons.

    These days Ludwig Von Mises’ work would not even have been reviewed in the Economist.

    Take the example of the two best selling works on the present economic crises.

    Thomas Woods “Meltdown” and Thomas Sowell “Housing: Boom and Bust”.

    Now the Economist has had whole sections devoted to books on the current crises – but (as far as I can remember) neither of the above works has ever been reviewed by the Economist – even though Thomas Sowell is NOT part of the Austrian School (he is a Chicago School man) and even cites Economist articles (in a positive way – sometimes taking a small decent out of a terrible article in order to be positive) in his book. Yet, I repeat, as far as I can remember they have not even reviewed Sowell’s book “Housing Bubble: Boom and Bust”.

    The reason for this is simple (although it is still hard for many people to believe) for all its free market language the Economist is PART OF THE LEFT.

    On everything from the banking bailouts to the “stimulus” spending, to universal government supported health care, the Economist is part of the left (and on “gun control” and other such – if we wish to bring in “noneconomic” issues).

    The Economist is the sister publication of the Financial Times – and both serve a similar function.

    They use “free market” business language to support more statism – they try and subvert the pro “capitalist” side from the inside.

    Not because they are socialists (although some on the F.T. are – and the F.T. has had such people on its staff for decades), but because they are establishmentarians.

    How could they be anything else.

    Remember the Economist top staff are Oxford educated (often straight from Oxford into journalism) – and they were “good students” who lapped up and repeated all the statist stuff they were taught in their “Politics, Philosophy and Economics” (PPE) course.

    Like a certain leader of a British political party.

  • Paul Marks

    “Who remembers monsters like Harold Laski?”

    You know what I am going to say J.P. – but I am going to say it anyway.

    It does not matter if people remember his name (in fact it is better for the statists if no one remembers his name – or anything else about the disgusting man). What matters is that his work is held in awe.

    Oh yes (for example) he and his fellow statist E.H. Carr were the principle writers of the international (U.N.) human rights charter – with all the pro freedom sounds and freedom destroying details of the various international treaties that have come to pass and are being worked on right now.

    The work of Harold Laski is considered the highest achievement and safeguard of liberty – things are that bad.

    And I am sure the Economist (and so on) loves the international declaration and all the other treaties.