Ludwig von Mises Quotes

Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises, 1881 – 1973

Born: 29 September 1881, Lemberg, Galicja, Austro-Hungary (now Lviv, Ukraine)
Died: 10 October 1973, New York City

Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises was an Austrian economist, philosopher, author and classical liberal who had a major influence on the modern libertarian movement. At twelve he spoke fluent German, Polish, and French. He received his doctorate from Universität Wien in 1906 and taught there until 1934. He taught at Geneva, Switzerland until moving to New York in 1940 with other Jews fearing that Hitler would occupy Switzerland. He was a visiting professor at New York University until his retirement.

Ludwig von Mises quotes:

A man who chooses between drinking a glass of milk and a glass of a solution of potassium cyanide does not choose between two beverages; he chooses between life and death. 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.
    Ludwig von Mises

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.
    Ludwig von Mises

All rational action is in the first place individual action. Only the individual thinks. Only the individual reasons. Only the individual acts.
    Ludwig von Mises

All this talk: the state should do this or that, ultimately means: the police should force consumers to behave otherwise than they would behave spontaneously.
    Ludwig von Mises

All varieties of interference with the market phenomena not only fail to achieve the ends aimed at by their authors and supporters, but bring about a state of affairs which — from the point of view of their authors’ and advocates valuations — is less desirable than the previous state of affairs which they were designed to alter.
    Ludwig von Mises

As society is only possible if everyone, while living his own life, at the same time helps others to live; if every individual is simultaneously means and end; if each individual’s well-being is simultaneously the condition necessary to the well-being of others, it is evident that the contrast between I and thou, means and end, automatically is overcome.
    Ludwig von Mises

As soon as we surrender the principle that the state should not interfere in any questions touching on the individual’s mode of life, we end by regulating and restricting the latter down to the smallest detail.
    Ludwig von Mises

As the science of economics … exploded the fallacies of every brand of utopianism, it was outlawed and stigmatized as unscientific.
    Ludwig von Mises

Business is a means — the only means — to increase the quantity of goods available for preserving life and rendering it more agreeable.
    Ludwig von Mises

Education rears disciples, imitators, and routinists, not pioneers of new ideas and creative geniuses. The schools are not nurseries of progress and improvement, but conservatories of tradition and unvarying modes of thought.
    Ludwig von Mises

Every specific tax, as well as the nation’s whole tax system, becomes self-defeating above a certain height of the rates.
    Ludwig von Mises

Facts per se can neither prove nor refute anything. Everything is decided by the interpretation and explanation of the facts, by the ideas and the theories.
    Ludwig von Mises

He who disdains the fall in infant mortality and the gradual disappearance of famines and plagues may cast the first stone upon the materialism of the economists.
    Ludwig von Mises

If history could teach us anything, it would be that private property is inextricably linked with civilization.
    Ludwig von Mises

If one rejects laissez faire on account of man’s fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action.
    Ludwig von Mises

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