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An Economic Analysis

Ludwig von Mises

Publication Year: 2012

Interventionism provides Mises's analysis of the problems of government interference in business from the Austrian School perspective. Written in 1940, before the United States was officially involved in World War II, this book offers a rare insight into the war economies of Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy. Mises criticizes the pre-World War II democratic governments for favoring socialism and interventionism over capitalist methods of production. Mises contends that government's economic role should be limited because of the negative political and social consequences of the economic policy of interventionism.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. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xi

Ludwig von Mises lived a long life—from 1881 to 1973. He was born within the borders of the huge European empire of Austria-Hungary and was for many years the leading spokesman of what became known as the Austrian School of Economics. This theoretical school differs from other schools of economics because it does not deal with aggregates ...

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Author’s Preface

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pp. xiii-xvii

It is the purpose of this essay to analyze the problems of government interference in business from the economic standpoint. The political and social consequences of the policy of interventionism1 can only be understood and judged on the basis of an understanding of its economic implications ...

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pp. 1-17

We call capitalism or market economy that form of social cooperation which is based on private ownership of the means of production. Socialism, communism, or planned economy, on the other hand, is the form of social cooperation which is based on public ownership of the means of production. The terms state capitalism and authoritarian ...

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I.Interference by Restriction

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pp. 19-23

Restrictive measures are those measures undertaken by the authority which directly and primarily are intended to divert production, in the widest meaning of the word, including commerce and transportation, from the ways which it would take in the unhampered economy. Each interference diverts production from the channels prescribed by the market. The peculiar characteristic of restrictive measures lies in the ...

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II.Interference by Price Control

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pp. 24-36

Measures of price control are directed at fixing prices, wages, and interest rates at amounts different from those prevailing in the unhampered market. The authority or the group expressly or tacitly entrusted by the authority with power to control prices fixes them as maximums or minimums. The police power is used to enforce these ...

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III.Inflation and Credit Expansion

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pp. 37-52

Inflationism is that policy which by increasing the quantity of money or credit seeks to raise money prices and money wages or seeks to counteract a decline of money prices and money wages which threatens as the result of an increase in the supply of consumers’ goods. In order to understand the economic signifi cance of inflationism we ...

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IV. Confiscation and Subsidies

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pp. 53-61

The complete confi scation of all private property is tantamount to the introduction of socialism. Therefore we do not have to deal with it in an analysis of the problems of interventionism. We are concerned here only with the partial confi scation of property. Such confiscation is today attempted primarily by taxation. The ideological motivations ...

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V. Corporativism and Syndicalism

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pp. 62-68

Corporativism1 is a program, not a reality. This has to be stated at the very beginning to avoid misunderstandings. Nowhere was it attempted to translate this program into actuality. Even in Italy, in spite of the constant propaganda talk, nothing has really been done to establish the system of the corporative state (stato corporativo). It has been attempted ...

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VI. War Economy

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pp. 69-77

Democracy is the corollary of the market economy in domestic affairs; peace is its corollary in foreign policy. The market economy means peaceful cooperation and peaceful exchange of goods and services. It cannot persist when wholesale killing is the order of the day. The incompatibility of war with the market economy and civilization has not been fully recognized because the progressing ...

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VII. The Economic, Social, and Political Consequences of Interventionism

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pp. 78-92

Interventionism is not an economic system, that is, it is not a method which enables people to achieve their aims. It is merely a system of procedures which disturb and eventually destroy the market economy. It hampers production and impairs satisfaction of needs. It does not make people richer; it makes people poorer. Concededly, the interventionist ...

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VIII. Conclusions

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pp. 93-95

This essay does not deal with the question whether socialism—public ownership of the means of production, a planned economy—is in any way a system superior to capitalism or whether socialism represents a feasible workable system of social cooperation at all. It does not discuss the programs of those parties that want to replace capitalism, democracy, and freedom by socialist totalitarianism according to either the ...

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Reading References

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pp. 97-98

In this book, Mises shows how government intervention results in consequences its proponents did not intend. It hampers production, causing artificial scarcities. It creates special interest groups. It leads to inflation, domestic economic conflict, a militant nationalism, international conflict, and even war. The books listed here deal with various aspects of intervention and help ...

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pp. 99-101

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 and book designer (he coined the term “graphic designer”), Dwiggins cre-...

E-ISBN-13: 9781614878919
E-ISBN-10: 1614878919
Print-ISBN-13: 9780865977396

Page Count: 122
Publication Year: 2012

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Subject Headings

  • Economic policy.
  • Central planning.
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