Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis Audio CD – Audiobook, CD
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About the Author
Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was a preeminent philosopher and economist during the twentieth century. He shared an intellectual friendship with literary giant Ayn Rand, and his theorems and philosophies have continued to influence the careers and ideas of politicians and economists alike. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Socialism is sometimes refered to as the second of Mises' four great works. The first was The Theory of Money and Credit (1912) which reintegrated money, banking and business cycle theory into the theory of subjective prices developed by Carl Menger and Eugen Bohm Bawerk. The Theory of Money and Credit while also pioneering science was also mindfully written so that Mises' could turn the intellectual tide and help save Austria from the monetary crisis that were plaguing Europe and America, most notably in America's great depression and Germany's hyperinflation. Mises was able to almost single handedly save Austria from things getting that bad. It's a great non-event in economic history.
Socialism is the second great work. Previously Mises' teacher Bohm Bawerk had completely destroyed Marx's economic system by applying subjectivist economics to Marx's labour value theory. In Socialism Mises deals with socialism more generally. The core of the book is Mises' demonstration that without ownership, exchange, and prices in production goods rational economic calculation is impossible. It's an argument socialists have never been able to recover from or deal with. But Mises' book also deals with the roots of political collectivism in the poverty of conceptual realism. He highlights the religious nature of collectivism. He gives a treatment of socialism and ethics. He deals with socialism in relation to the family, sex, violence, modernity, law, progress, metaphysics, and religion. He explains the destructionist practices of applied socialism. This is THE book that converted a generation of post war intellectuals.
The third was Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, his magnum opus. Human Action presents the whole of ecenomic theory begining with acting man. But Human Action is also the fundemental text dealing with anything we think of as "social science". I can't do it justice here, but it should be read slongside Socialism, as should OMNIPOTENT GOVERNMENT.
Mises' last masterpiece was Theory and History. This book provides a discussion of epistemology and method and elabourates the rationalist criticism of fallacious alternatives to the study of man. It treats determinism, dualism, free will, value theory, materialism, dialectical materialism, philosophy of history, historicism, positivism, behaviourism, individuality, statistics, natural law, ethics, and finally gives a philosophical interpretation of contemporary times.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book resides somewhere amidst economics, history and philosophy.
Mises slays socialism on all three counts.
Economically the inability to perform economic calculations kills socialism and makes it static, unable to adjust to anything.
Philosophically he shows how liberalism is superior to collectivism and all other forms of coercion in the name of the mythical 'society' are simple covers for tyranny.
Historically he traces the Marxist movement in the pre war and post war years. I gleaned some new insight into the split of the Marxists that birthed the Bolsheviks. The chapter on Christian Chiliasm I find particularly fascinating. He shows that while Christianity is often the force resisting communism, it also contributes greatly due to the misunderstanding of the gospels and their incorrect interpretation as non-messianic guidelines. The gospels were based on the understanding that the Kingdom of God was just around the corner. They were not intended as a guide to creating a communist society.
The entire background and reason for the socialism calculation debate is inside of these pages. I have debated with many who have read a blog or try to refute Mises out of hand but you cant do it. he has covered every type of socialism within these pages and had already refuted whatever you can bring to the table.
Reading this book requires a certain dedication, since every paragraph needs a great deal of concentration. It is not something to read while watching a ball game.
On the other hand, it is addictive. And you begin to wonder why his observations and conclusions are not accepted and put into practice. However, as you read others of his books, he explains why the statists will prevail.
This is a great book, especially now. His arguments for letting interest rates seek their own level without government interference explains much about our current problems. You will begin to despair of this administration's insistence on artificially low interest rates.
von Mises was truly a genius, as well as a prophet. Read this book, then move on to his others.