Ludwig von Mises Quotes


The first thing a genius needs is to breath free air.
The main political problem is how to prevent the police power from becoming tyrannical. This is the meaning of all the struggles for liberty.
The aim of all struggles for liberty is to keep in bounds the armed defenders of peace, the governors and their constables. The political concept of the individual's freedom means: freedom from arbitrary action on the part of the police power.
People do not cooperate under the division of labor because they love or should love one another. They cooperate because this best serves their own interests. Neither love nor charity nor any other sympathetic sentiments but rightly understood selfishness is what originally impelled man to adjust himself to the requirements of society, to respect the rights and freedoms of his fellow men and to substitute peaceful collaboration for enmity and conflict.
The meaning of economic freedom is this: that the individual is in a position to choose the way in which he wants to integrate himself into the totality of society.
Society is joint action and cooperation in which each participant sees the other partner's success as a means for the attainment of his own.
Scientific criticism has no nobler task than to shatter false beliefs.
Business is a means- the only means- to increase the quantity of goods available for preserving life and rendering it more agreeable.
The essence of democracy is not that everyone makes and administers laws but that lawgivers and rulers should be dependent on the people's will in such a way that they may be peaceably changed if conflict occurs.
Those fighting for free enterprise and free competition do not defend the interests of those rich today. They want a free hand left to unknown men who will be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow...
The rich adopt novelties and become accustomed to their use. This sets a fashion which others imitate. Once the richer classes have adopted a certain way of living, producers have an incentive to improve the methods of manufacture so that soon it is possible for the poorer classes to follow suit. Thus luxury furthers progress. Innovation "is the whim of an elite before it becomes a need of the public. The luxury today is the necessity of tomorrow." Luxury is the roadmaker of progress: it develops latent needs and makes people discontented. In so far as they think consistently, moralists who condemn luxury must recommend the comparatively desireless existence of the wild life roaming in the woods as the ultimate ideal of civilized life.
The class of those who have the ability to think their own thoughts is separated by an unbridgeable gulf from the class of those who cannot.
...it is solely bigness in business which makes it possible to supply the masses with all those products the present-day American common man does not want to do without. Luxury goods for the few can be produced in small shops. Luxury goods for the many require big business.
For the sake of domestic peace, liberalism aims at democratic government. Democracy is therefore not a revolutionary institution. On the contrary it is the very means of preventing revolution and civil wars. It provides a method for the peaceful adjustment of government to the will of the majority.
Action based on reason, action therefore which is only to be understood by reason, knows only one end, the greatest pleasure of the acting individual.
Reason is the main resource of man in his struggle for survival.
It is the worst of all superstitions to assume that the epistemological characteristics of one branch of knowledge must necessarily be applicable to any other branch.
If history could teach us anything, it would be that private property is inextricably linked with civilization.
The worst evils which mankind has ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster.
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.
What pays under capitalism is satisfying the common man, the customer. The more people you satisfy, the better for you.
The uncouth hordes of common men are not fit to recognize duly the merits of those who eclipse their own wretchedness.
There is in the universe something for the description and analysis of which the natural sciences cannot contribute anything. There are events beyond the range of those events that the procedures of the natural sciences are fit to observe and describe. There is human action.
A nation's policy form an integral whole. Foreign policy and domestic policy are closely linked together; they are but one system; they condition each other.

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