What books by Mises have you read at least one time in a cover to cover fashion
Human Action: 2 times cover to cover, the fist part probably 3 or 4 times
Theory and History: 1time cover to cover, a lot of quick references afterwards
Socialism: 1 for sure, maybe 2
Liberalism: 1 time, never reread
I think that's really about it for picking up his books and going cover to cover - after that just a lot of little reading here and there.
I have read 0 Mises in about a year.
I really should read his works on Epistemics, and I would like to get T&H down one or two more time - it's a great work.
"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann
"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence" - GLS Shackle
Theory and History
Ultimate Foundation for Economic Science
Theory of Money and Credit
I still want to read Bureaucracy
The Anarch is to the Anarchist what the Monarch is to the Monarchist.
Now that I think of it, I bet The Anti Capitalist Mentality would be hilarious: Mises the pissed off Freudian Thymologist lets loose. I've always wanted to read this book.
Even if it is a little cranky of a work, it's always sadistically fun to see people rip into academicians, even if it is a Quioxtic thing to do.
Haha! When you put it that way it sounds like a monster truck rally.
Wait, you haven't the book, but you're calling it cranky and Quixotic? Anyway, I loled throughout that book.
To paraphrase Marc Faber: We're all doomed, but that doesn't mean that we can't make money in the process.
Rabbi Lapin: "Let's make bricks!"
Stephan Kinsella: "Say you and I both want to make a German chocolate cake."
Quixtoic wasn't meant as an insult - it's fun to tear into the people Mises tears into - I just mean it is a fruitless and thankless task. Sisyphean may have been a better word, and yes I figure it is a book that would be hilarious, as I stated.
The Ultimate Foundations
Does anyone have any opinions about if Money and Credit is a worthwhile read? Will I get worthwhile information there I won't from HA or other Austrian authors?
And I guess that this is as good a place to ask this as anywhere, but I've always wondered about the accuracy of Mises' history. In Human Action in particular I have to wonder "is all of this really true?". Specific examples include the fact that confiscation of property by governments in medieval times was extremely common and that such policies prevented the rise of capitalism in the non-western world. I also found his claim that a huge impetus for socialism was the early economists using the idea of a perfect monarch as a means of justifying the market economy extremely odd. Furthermore whenever Mises talks about the old liberals and their motivations I become skeptical of how accurately he represents them. Another case of this is when he mentions the private management of forests in areas of America as a case of proper capitalist management of natural resources.
It would be one thing if Mises cited these things, but citations for any of these sorts of things are sorely missing from Mises' work.
Any thoughts on this?
I wouldn't mind talking about this:
can you just list page numbers off of T&H and HA so I can see everything in context?
All from Human Action
The Benevolent Socialist King: Chapter XXV Section 1
Scientific management of forests and environmental benefits through capitalism: Chapter XXIII section 5 page 656-657
Confiscation by pre-capitalist and non-capitalist governments: Chapter XXXV Section 3 page 840-843
He mentions the liberals every once and a while in the book. If I were more concerned with Mises' opinions on what liberalism really was (I am aware that he understood that the liberal agenda had never fully been implemented in any nation) I would read his book on the subject.
At any rate, what I've always found concerning is that I've rarely seen real evidence for the classical liberals, for large political movements that really advocated for capitalism and human liberty in conjunction with one another. Beyond the American revolution, something in which I've never exactly seen much pro-capitalism per se, the anti-corn laws movement in England, and aspect of Jeffersonian democracy (which was anti federal government and tariffs but not explicitly pro free-market industrialization and capitalism), I've only ever seen vulgar conservative pro-capitalist ideology and modern liberalism embodying the two different aspects of classical liberalism. Even the classical economists seemed overcome by egalitarianism and common notions of justice (Smith and Mill) or else concerned with population and were highly pessimistic about the future (Ricardo and Malthus). Can someone point me to the politicians and parties that really embodied the principles we know as classical liberalism openly and in a principled manner?
Theory of Money and Credit, in my humble opinion, is unnecessary to understanding economics a la Mises. There's some stuff about regression theorem, money as a common medium of exchange, non-neutrality of money, and a hint of business cycle at the end. I think if you'd read Human Action and then just the first half of ToM&C, then you'd be set.
EDIT: As far as consistent liberals, I know this isn't the answer you're looking for, but - Benjamin Tucker and Instead of a Book, by a Man Too Busy to Write One.
Isn't the Socialist King not a part of history? I mean, isn't he just using it as an Ideal Type to describe some process or some popular notions or ideas floating around?
the other two examples I'll look at later - but from what I see in "scientific managment", I may share your concern.
As for "the liberals":
Yes it is a hodge podge of things: One would not be wrong to think of Marx, Proudhon, Jacobins, 1848 revolutions etc as "extensions of liberalism". The best I can say for this is Mises may very well be trying to draw out the "essence of liberalism" and how it makes sense in an intelligible fashion, and in what context it can be looked in. Though I won't swear by that.
Either way, as you eluded the Manchester Liberals and the earlier Whigs seem to be the best example of what you are driving at for an historical example. America is a little difficult to find anything, and Europe seems to just be a mess of things thrown together.
I just thought of this:
For an interesting historical snap shot of Germany in the 1840's Max Stirner in his section on "liberalism" is an interesting read to show what's going on (he groups commies socialists and free traders all under "liberals", and I think he does so in a non contraversial manner) in what is probably a type of "golden age" for German / European liberalism.
Hmm... Vive, as far as the liberals I think that you might be on to something, although it's still really f***ing weird that socialism and free market advocacy could ever be put under one label.
I've always thought it was really bizarre that capitalism has actually been able to survive as much as it has, both in rhetoric and in policy. The question is why the hell would anyone without a good grasp of economics ever choose capitalism over socialism? Real capitalistic free market values are really rare in most American rhetoric, and I'd hate to see what rhetoric is like in Europe. One of the best sections of Hazlitt's "Time Will Run Back" is a speech by the book's primary antagonist where he talks about how socialism is the natural thing to support over capitalism. I also find it amazing exactly how fast socialist movements developed against capitalism.
However, as for the socialist king I think that Mises makes it pretty clear that Mises was saying that economists explicitly used the perfect king as an analogy for the market economy and that this explicitly influenced early socialist philosophers. I don't see any evidence for how this happened. This is the thing about most of what I consider Mises' questionable history, it always "works" and makes sense, as well as usually being a pretty good narrative, but it just doesn't fit very well into what I understand about history.