An introduction to the work of Ludwig von Mises

Philip Booth interviews Eamonn Butler, author of Ludwig von Mises – A Primer.



I once asked Hayek if he disagreed with Mises on any major conclusion and he laughed (as if surprised at the question) and said ‘No’.Of course he may have wanted to avoid a complicated ‘academic’ answer, especially to a ’student’, and clearly Hayek was more concerned with an empirical approach than Mises. Even so, I suggest they were essentially in broad agreement on a great deal.Especially about the importance of time and uncertainty, which as one of Philip’s questions implied, are very difficult to fit into ’static’ mathematical models.Both, too, were clearly in the subjectivist school pioneered by Menger, which explains why both parties normally expect to gain from market exchanges.

I find it rather interesting that Austrians won’t admit that they have a lot in common with Keynes. Namely: (1) the preoccupation with time and uncertainty; and (2) the idea (from Bohm-Bawerk) that investment spending depends on consumption, not saving.

David – there is an interesting book by Roger Kopl (though very difficult to read in parts – especially the early chapter that lays out the theory) that develops the differences between the different Austrians and explains the difficulties with some of Mises positions.

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