The Economics of Ludwig von Mises: Toward a Critical Reappraisal
By Laurence S. Moss
In March 1974 I got in touch with Professor Leland Yeager, who was then president-elect of the southern Economics Association, and told him that I wanted to organize a symposium on the economic thought of Ludwig von Mises for the November 1974 meeting of our association in Atlanta, Georgia. Mises had died in October 1973, and we would be meeting on nearly the first anniversary of his death. Yeager agreed that, although Mises had been named a “Distinguished Fellow” of the American Economics Association in September 1969, many economists were not well acquainted with either the content of his thought or the enormous range of subjects to which he had devoted more than seventy years range of subjects to which he had devoted more than seventy years of active scholarship. At a time when the cherished “idols” of the intellectual marketplace were being regarded with suspicion, and economists were becoming critical of their basic assumptions and methods, it seemed appropriate to devote an entire session to someone whose lifework had been on the foundations of the science. Thus, we had every reason to believe that a panel on Mises would be well attended and set to work deciding whom to invite and what aspects of Mises’ contribution could be most profitably discussed in the short space of two hours…. [From the Preface by Laurence S. Moss]
First Pub. Date
Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, Inc.
Symposium held before the 44th Meeting of the Southern Economics Association, Atlanta, Georgia, 15 November 1974. Collected essays, various authors. 1974 conference proceedings. Includes essays by Fritz Machlup, Israel M. Kirzner, Murray N. Rothbard, and more.
The text of this edition is copyright ©1977, The Institute for Humane Studies.
Held before the 44th Meeting of the Southern Economics Association Atlanta, Georgia
William Baumgarth was born on 10 July 1946 in Union City, New Jersey. He attended Fordham University, where he majored in political science, and graduated in 1968. He went on to Harvard University, where the Department of Government awarded him an M.A. in 1970. Baumgarth is scheduled to defend his dissertation, “The Political Philosophy of Friedrich von Hayek,” before the Harvard faculty this summer (1975). He has contributed papers to the Libertarian Scholars Conference in New York City (1972) and to the Columbia University Forum on Legal and Political Philosophy (1974). His many academic awards and honors include membership in Phi Beta Kappa and being named a traveling Earhart Fellow while at Harvard. Baumgarth is an instructor of political science at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. This fall (1975) he will teach political philosophy in the Political Science Department of Fordham University, New York City.
Israel M. Kirzner was born on 13 February 1930 in London, England. He attended the University of Capetown (1947-48), University of London (1950-51), and Brooklyn College (1952-54, where he received his B.A. degree summa cum laude after majoring in economics. Kirzner went on to New York University, where he earned a master’s degree in business administration in 1955 and a Ph.D. in economics in 1957. His dissertation advisor was Ludwig von Mises, and his dissertation was published under the title
The Economic Point of View (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1960). Kirzner attended Mises’ economic theory seminar on a regular basis from 1954 to 1958. His other books are
Market Theory and the Price System (New York: D.Van Nostrand, 1963),
An Essay on Capital (New York: Augustus
M. Kelley, 1966), and most recently,
Competition and Entrepreneurship (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973). Kirzner is a professor of economics at New York University, New York City.
Fritz Machlup was born on 15 December 1902 in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. He earned his doctorate from the University of Vienna in 1923 and has been awarded honorary degrees on both sides of the Atlantic in recognition of his outstanding contributions to economics. He was a member of Ludwig von Mises’ Vienna seminar during the twenties and went on to establish his reputation as one of Mises’ most outstanding students. He served as president of the Southern Economics Association (1959-60), of the American Economic Association (1966), and of the International Economics Association (1971-74). He was also president of the Association of University Professors (1962-64). His writings have been translated into more than ten languages, and a listing of all of his scholarly publications and articles would number over 700. In economic theory he engaged in a famous controversy with the economist R.A. Lester over the meaning and significance of marginal analysis. He defended the importance of relative price changes in the description of international disturbances against the criticisms of Sidney Alexander. He has repeatedly emphasized the importance of precision when defining terms in economics, and a series of his essays in this vein was published under the title
Essays in Economic Semantics (New York: New York University Press, 1975). He is best known for his work in international finance, which has absorbed his attention from his earliest book in German (1925) to a collection of his writings published under the title
International Payments, Debts, and Gold (New York: Scribners, 1966). Machlup held the prestigious Walker chair in Economics and International Finance at Princeton University from 1960 to 1971 and is currently professor at New York University, New York City.
Laurence S. Moss was born on 13 November 1944 in New York City. He attended Queens College of the City University of New York, where he earned a B.A. (1965) and an M.A. (1967) in economics. He received both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University, New York (1971). His dissertation on Mountifort Longfield was nominated for the Ansley Award by the Department of Economics in 1971 and will be published in expanded form under the title
Mountifort Longfield: Ireland’s First Professor of Political Economy (Ottawa, III.; Green Hill Publishers, forthcoming). Moss attended Ludwig von Mises’ New York seminars on a regular basis (1963-65). He has lectured at Fordham University,
Swarthmore College, and Columbia University’s Seminar on Irish Studies. He is a frequent contributor to the journal
History of Political Economy and is the author of a monograph entitled “Private Property Anarchism: An American Variant,” in
Further Explorations in the Theory of Anarchism (Blacksburg, Va.: University Publications, 1974). He is an assistant professor of economics at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
Murray N. Rothbard was born on 2 March 1926 in New York City. He attended Columbia University, where he earned both an M.A. and a Ph.D. in economics (1956). His dissertation was published under the title
The Panic of 1819 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1962). He attended Ludwig von Mises’ New York seminars from 1949 to 1960. His comprehensive two-volume study on modern Austrian economic theory is entitled
Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1962). Rothbard has contributed to journals as diverse as the
American Economic Review and the
Journal of the History of Ideas. He has made significant contributions to economic theory, economic history, philosophy of science, and modern political science. He has been recognized by the
New York Times Magazineand
Business Week as one of the nation’s foremost representatives of the libertarian position. His other scholarly works include:
America’s Great Depression (Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, 1975),
Power and Market (Menlo Park, Calif.: Institute for Humane Studies, 1970), and
For a New Liberty (New York: Macmillan Co., 1973). Rothbard is a professor of economics at the Polytechnic Institute of New York, New York City.
Karen Iversen Vaughn was born on 21 July 1944 in New York City. She attended Queens College of the City University of New York, where she earned a B.A. in economics (1966) and graduated cum laude with the Andrew Goodman Award for excellence in economics. She received an M.A. (1969) and a Ph.D. (1971) in economics from Duke University. Her dissertation was on “The Economic Theories of John Locke.” Ms. Vaughn was named a fellow under the National Defense Education Act (1966-69) and pursued her research on Locke at the Bodleian Library at Oxford University in 1969. She has coauthored papers on economic theory published in the
Southern Economic Journal. Her study “John Locke and the Morality of the Marketplace” will appear in
SPOUDAL, a publication of the Piraeus Graduate School of Industrial Studies. Ms. Vaughn is an assistant professor of economics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.