Mises and Money

I’m at a seminar in Indianapolis on the economics of sound money; the discussants include very serious economists (and some others, as well!) and a set of readings largely focused on the writings of Ludwig von Mises, especially Human Action. I’d not read the book for many years and was struck by how original and intelligent it is (as well as occasionally repetitive and a wee bit harsh on his critics, but those are minor flaws in a serious book). It’s been a joy to read as I snatched time between meetings in Kyrgyzstan (and it helped me to fill the many flights and hours to get there and back — it’s a big book). It was in my satchel during my presentations on the model of economic reform in the Republic of Georgia at the Kyrgyz Ministry of Economic Development, at the invitation of acting minister Emil Umetaliev, a founding board member of the Central Asian Free Market Institute. I think that Mises might have been pleased.**

The conference on sound money is organized by the Liberty Fund, which is the publisher of Mises’s books. They are commemorating their fiftieth anniversary by “re-running” a number of their old seminars, including one that was held on these readings (plus or minus a few) in 1974. (At the University of Southern California in 1973-1974 we had a reading group that read Mises. I recall our meeting on October 10, 1973, at which the wonderful teacher and philosopher Prof. John Hospers was present, when we learned about the death that day of Mises; a great mind left the scene that day, but through his works he continues to be active and to enlighten and inspire us.)

**By the way, there’s an interesting, critical discussion of the reform process in Georgia, focusing on the contributions of fellow Mises fan Kakha Bendukidze, here; I organized some of the conferences in Tbilisi that are discussed in the papers.

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2 Responses to “Mises and Money”

  1. “Human Action” is an extremely important work; it is also tragically misunderstood and underrated.

    Among other things, it goes against much of what passes for “Austrian economics” nowadays. It’s full of very sound economics, built on — of all things — a comprehensive general equilibrium model, and a clear and sensible vision of how economic science should proceed that is remarkably modern. And Mises forswears free market fundamentalism and repeatedly endorses comparisons of benefits vs. costs, eschewing the Nirvana fallacy.

    I’m glad you’re rereading it and promoting it — it’s a very important work.

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