Quotes from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics

Ludwig von Mises ·  1128 pages

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“He who only wishes and hopes does not interfere actively with the course of events and with the shaping of his own destiny.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“Praxeology is a theoretical and systematic, not a historical, science. Its scope is human action as such, irrespective of all environmental, accidental, and individual circumstances of the concrete acts. Its cognition is purely formal and general without reference to the material content and the particular features of the actual case. It aims at knowledge valid for all instances in which the conditions exactly correspond to those implied in its assumptions and inferences. Its statements and propositions are not derived from experience. They are, like those of logic and mathematics, a priori. They are not subject to verification or falsification on the ground of experience and facts.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“It is not the fault of the entrepreneurs that the consumers,the people, the common man,prefer liquor to Bibles and detective stories to serious books, and that governments prefer guns to butter. The entrepreneur does not make greater profits in selling bad things than in selling good things. His profits are the greater the better he succeeds in providing the consumers with those things they ask for most intensely.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“Without exception all political parties promise their supporters a higher real income. There is no difference in this respect between nationalists and internationalists and between the supporters of a market economy and the advocates of either socialism or interventionism. If a party asks its supporters to make sacrifices for its cause, it always explains these sacrifices as the necessary temporary means for the attainment of the ultimate goal, the improvement of the material well-being of its members. Each party considers it as an insidious plot against its prestige and its survival if somebody ventures to question the capacity of its projects to make the group members more prosperous. Each party regards with a deadly hatred the economists embarking upon such a critique. ”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“Socialism is an alternative to capitalism as potassium cyanide is an alternative to water.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics



“All varieties of the producers' policy are advocated on the ground of their alleged ability to raise the party members' standard of living. Protectionism and economic self-sufficiency, labor union pressure and compulsion, labor legislation, minimum wage rates, public spending, credit expansion, subsidies, and other makeshifts are always recommended by their advocates as the most suitable or the only means to increase the real income of the people for whose votes they canvass. Every contemporary statesman or politician invariably tells his voters: My program will make you as affluent as conditions may permit, while my adversaries' program will bring you want and misery.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“It is true that some secluded intellectuals in their esoteric circles talk differently. They proclaim the priority of what they call eternal absolute values and feign in their declamations—not in their personal conduct—a disdain of things secular and transitory. But the public ignores such utterances. The main goal of present-day political action is to secure for the respective pressure group memberships the highest material well-being. The only way for a leader to succeed is to instill in people the conviction that his program best serves the attainment of this goal. ”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“Since nobody is in a position to substitute his own value judgments for those of the acting individual, it is vain to pass judgment on other people's aims and volitions. No man is qualified to declare what would make another man happier or less discontented.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“The body of economic knowledge is an essential element in the structure of human civilization; it is the foundation upon which modern industrialism and all the moral, intellectual, technological, and therapeutical achievements of the last centuries have been built. It rests with men whether they will make the proper use of the rich treasure with which this knowledge provides them or whether they will leave it unused. But if they fail to take the best advantage of it and disregard its teachings and warnings, they will not annul economics; they will stamp out society and the human race.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“History cannot teach us any general rule, principle, or law. There is no means to abstract from a historical experience a posteriori any theories or theorems concerning human conduct and policies. The”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics



“Only very few men have the gift of thinking new and original ideas and of changing the traditional body of creeds and doctrines.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“There is joint action, but no joint thinking. There is only tradition which preserves thoughts and communicates them to others as a stimulus to their thinking.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“Human thoughts about things of which neither pure reasoning nor experience provides any knowledge may differ so radically that no agreement can be reached.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“Reason, intellect, and logic are historical phenomena. There is a history of logic as there is a history of technology. Nothing suggests that logic as we know it is the last and final stage of intellectual evolution. Human logic is a historical phase between prehuman nonlogic on the one hand and superhuman logic on the other hand. Reason and mind, the human beings’ most efficacious equipment in their struggle for survival, are embedded in the continuous flow of zoological events. They are neither eternal nor unchangeable. They are transitory.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“Common man does not speculate about the great problems. With regard to them he relies upon other people's authority, he behaves as “every decent fellow must behave,” he is like a sheep in the herd. It”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics



“Shortcomings in the governments’ handling of monetary matters and the disastrous consequences of policies aimed at lowering the rate of interest and at encouraging business activities through credit expansion gave birth to the ideas which finally generated the slogan “stabilization.” One can explain its emergence and its popular appeal, one can understand it as the fruit of the last hundred and fifty years’ history of currency and banking, one can, as it were, plead extenuating circumstances for the error involved. But no such sympathetic appreciation can render its fallacies any more tenable.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“No better is the propensity, very popular nowadays, to brand supporters of other ideologies as lunatics. Psychiatrists”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“economics is a living thing—and to live implies both imperfection and change.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“It is common with narrow-minded people to reflect upon every respect in which other people differ from themselves. The”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“thinking is always thinking of a potential action.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics



“Religious wars are the most terrible wars because they are waged without any prospect of conciliation.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“What is called “orthodox” economics is in most countries barred from the universities and is virtually unknown to the leading statesmen, politicians, and writers. The”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“This civilization was able to spring into existence because the peoples were dominated by ideas which were the application of the teachings of economics to the problems of economic policy. It will and must perish if the nations continue to pursue the course which they entered upon under the spell of doctrines rejecting economic thinking.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“In a society of free men the preservation of life and health are ends, not means. They do not enter into any process of accounting means.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“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 and whose ingenuity will make the life of coming generations more agreeable. They want the way left open to further economic improvements. They are the spokesmen of progress.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics



“The urge toward action, i.e., improvement of the conditions of life, is inborn in man. Man himself changes from moment to moment and his valuations, volitions, and acts change with him. In the realm of action there is nothing perpetual but change. There”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“If we assume that all men have the same capacity and application for work and if we disregard the disutility of labor, labor in such a world would not be an economic good. If”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“Human action is purposeful behavior. Or we may say: Action is will put into operation and transformed into an agency, is aiming at ends and goals, is the ego's meaningful response to stimuli and to the conditions of its environment, is a person's conscious adjustment to the state of the universe that determines his life.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


“It was the ideas of the classical economists that removed the checks imposed by age-old laws, customs, and prejudices upon technological improvement and freed the genius of reformers and innovators from the straitjackets) of the guilds, government tutelage, and social pressure of various kinds. It was they that reduced the prestige of conquerors and expropriators and demonstrated the social benefits derived from business activity.”
― Ludwig von Mises, quote from Human Action: A Treatise on Economics


About the author

Ludwig von Mises
Born place: in Lemberg, Austria-Hungary (now Lviv, Ukraine), Austria
Born date September 29, 1881
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