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Liberalism

Ludwig von Mises

Publication Year: 2012

The term "liberalism" comes from the Latin word liber meaning "free." Mises defines liberalism as "the liberal doctrine of the harmony of the rightly understood interests of all members of a free society founded on the principle of private ownership of the means of production." This book presents the theoretical and practical arguments for liberalism in the classical tradition.The foundation of liberalism, Mises says, rests on an understanding and appreciation of private property, social cooperation, the freedom idea, ethics and morality, democracy, and the legitimate role of government. Liberalism is not a political party; it is a system of social organization. The liberal program aims at securing equality under law and freedom of opportunity for everyone to make their own choices and decisions, so long as they do not interfere with the equal rights of others; it offers no special privileges to anyone. Under liberalism, the role of government would be limited to protecting the lives, property, and freedom of its citizens to pursue their own ends and goals. Mises is more specific here than elsewhere in applying the liberal program to economic policy, domestic and foreign. Also in this book, Mises contrasts liberalism with other conceivable systems of social organization such as socialism, communism, and fascism. Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) was the leading spokesman of the Austrian School of Economics throughout most of the twentieth century. He earned his doctorate in law and economics from the University of Vienna in 1906. In 1926, Mises founded the Austrian Institute for Business Cycle Research. From 1909 to 1934, he was an economist for the Vienna Chamber of Commerce. Before the Anschluss, in 1934 Mises left for Geneva, where he was a professor at the Graduate Institute of International Studies until 1940, when he emigrated to New York City. From 1948 to 1969, he was a visiting professor at New York University.Bettina Bien Greaves is a former resident scholar, trustee, and longtime staff member of the Foundation for Economic Education. She has written and lectured extensively on topics of free market economics. Her articles have appeared in such journals as Human Events, Reason, and The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty. A student of Mises, Greaves has become an expert on his work in particular and that of the Austrian School of economics in general. She has translated several Mises monographs, compiled an annotated bibliography of his work, and edited collections of papers by Mises and other members of the Austrian School.

Published by: Liberty Fund

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-viii

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Preface, 1985

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pp. ix-xii

The term “liberalism,” from the Latin “liber” meaning “free,” referred originally to the philosophy of freedom. It still retained this meaning in Europe when this book was written (1927) so that readers who opened its covers expected an analysis of the freedom philosophy of classical...

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Preface to the English-Language Edition

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pp. xiii-xv

The social order created by the philosophy of the Enlightenment assigned supremacy to the common man. In his capacity as a consumer, the “regular fellow” was called upon to determine ultimately what should be produced, in what quantity and of what quality, by whom...

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Introduction

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pp. xvii-xxxi

The philosophers, sociologists, and economists of the eighteenth and the early part of the nineteenth century formulated a political program that served as a guide to social policy first in England and the United States, then on the European continent, and finally in the other parts...

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1. The Foundations of Liberal Policy

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pp. 1-36

Human society is an association of persons for cooperative action. As against the isolated action of individuals, cooperative action on the basis of the principle of the division of labor has the advantage of greater productivity. If a number of men work in cooperation in accordance...

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2. Liberal Economic Policy

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pp. 37-75

It is possible to distinguish five different conceivable systems of organizing the cooperation of individuals in a society based on the division of labor: the system of private ownership of the means of production, which, in its developed form, we call capitalism; the system of private...

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3. Liberal Foreign Policy

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pp. 76-118

For the liberal, there is no opposition between domestic policy and foreign policy, and the question so often raised and exhaustively discussed, whether considerations of foreign policy take precedence over those of domestic policy or vice versa, is, in his eyes, an idle one. For liberalism...

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4. Liberalism and the Political Parties

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pp. 119-180

Classical liberalism has been reproached with being too obstinate and not ready enough to compromise. It was because of its inflexibility that it was defeated in its struggle with the nascent anticapitalist parties of all kinds. If it had realized, as these other parties did, the importance...

5. The Future of Liberalism

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pp. 181-151

Appendix

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pp. 153-160

Index

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pp. 161-171

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Publication Information

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pp. 174-

The typeface used in setting this book is Electra, designed in 1935 by the great American typographer William Addison Dwiggins. Dwiggins was a student and associate of Frederic Goudy and served for a time as acting director of Harvard University Press. In his illustrious career as typographer...


E-ISBN-13: 9781614878384
E-ISBN-10: 1614878382
Print-ISBN-13: 9780865975866

Page Count: 203
Publication Year: 2012

Edition: None