Honoring the Great Ludwig von Mises—50 Years after His Passing

Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published in the FEE Daily email newsletter.

It was fifty years ago today that Ludwig von Mises took his final breath. Born on September 29, 1881, in what is now Lviv, Ukraine, the Austrian economist accomplished a great deal in his 92 years.

His first major treatise—The Theory of Money and Credit (1912)—made significant contributions to monetary theory and systematically integrated for the first time the fields of micro and macroeconomics. In 1920 he penned Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth, sparking a debate that would last decades. His great treatise Human Action likewise changed the world of economics.

Mises was also involved considerably with FEE in the early years, writing essays, delivering lectures, and providing scholarly guidance to the organization. His intellectual prowess continues to inspire us today, and we are proud that his quotes and lessons have become regular features in our content.

Regrettably, there are many today who have never even heard of Mises. While Marx and Keynes have become household names, Mises has been largely forgotten, his scholarly accomplishments ignored.

One of our goals at FEE is to change that. We firmly believe the ideas he championed are the ideas that will save the world, and we are committed to popularizing them.

We will resume sharing our latest content tomorrow. For now, we’d like to leave you with this forceful passage from the end of Human Action, a passage that motivates everything we do here at FEE.

“There is no means by which anyone can evade his personal responsibility. Whoever neglects to examine to the best of his abilities all the problems involved voluntarily surrenders his birthright to a self-appointed elite of supermen. In such vital matters blind reliance upon ‘experts’ and uncritical acceptance of popular catchwords and prejudices is tantamount to the abandonment of self-determination and to yielding to other people’s domination. As conditions are today, nothing can be more important to every intelligent man than economics. His own fate and that of his progeny is at stake.

Very few are capable of contributing any consequential idea to the body of economic thought. But all reasonable men are called upon to familiarize themselves with the teachings of economics. This is, in our age, the primary civic duty.

Whether we like it or not, it is a fact that economics cannot remain an esoteric branch of knowledge accessible only to small groups of scholars and specialists. Economics deals with society’s fundamental problems; it concerns everyone and belongs to all. It is the main and proper study of every citizen.”

The post Honoring the Great Ludwig von Mises—50 Years after His Passing was first published by the Foundation for Economic Education, and is republished here with permission. Please support their efforts.