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This book must rank as the most devastating analysis of socialism yet penned. . . . An economic classic in our time. —Henry Hazlitt More than thirty years ago F. A. Hayek said of Socialism: "It was a work on political economy in the tradition of the great moral philosophers, a Montesquieu or Adam Smith, containing both acute knowledge and profound wisdom. . . . To none o This book must rank as the most devastating analysis of socialism yet penned. . . . An economic classic in our time. —Henry Hazlitt More than thirty years ago F. A. Hayek said of Socialism: "It was a work on political economy in the tradition of the great moral philosophers, a Montesquieu or Adam Smith, containing both acute knowledge and profound wisdom. . . . To none of us young men who read the book when it appeared was the world ever the same again." This is a newly annotated edition of the classic first published in German in 1922. It is the definitive refutation of nearly every type of socialism ever devised. Mises presents a wide-ranging analysis of society, comparing the results of socialist planning with those of free-market capitalism in all areas of life. Friedrich Hayek's foreword comments on the continuing relevance of this great work: "Most readers today will find that Socialism has more immediate application to contemporary events than it had when it first appeared." Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) was the leading spokesman of the Austrian School of Economics throughout most of the twentieth century. He earned his doctorate in law and economics from the University of Vienna in 1906. In 1926, Mises founded the Austrian Institute for Business Cycle Research. From 1909 to 1934, he was an economist for the Vienna Chamber of Commerce. Before the Anschluss, in 1934 Mises left for Geneva, where he was a professor at the Graduate Institute of International Studies until 1940, when he emigrated to New York City. From 1948 to 1969, he was a visiting professor at New York University.


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This book must rank as the most devastating analysis of socialism yet penned. . . . An economic classic in our time. —Henry Hazlitt More than thirty years ago F. A. Hayek said of Socialism: "It was a work on political economy in the tradition of the great moral philosophers, a Montesquieu or Adam Smith, containing both acute knowledge and profound wisdom. . . . To none o This book must rank as the most devastating analysis of socialism yet penned. . . . An economic classic in our time. —Henry Hazlitt More than thirty years ago F. A. Hayek said of Socialism: "It was a work on political economy in the tradition of the great moral philosophers, a Montesquieu or Adam Smith, containing both acute knowledge and profound wisdom. . . . To none of us young men who read the book when it appeared was the world ever the same again." This is a newly annotated edition of the classic first published in German in 1922. It is the definitive refutation of nearly every type of socialism ever devised. Mises presents a wide-ranging analysis of society, comparing the results of socialist planning with those of free-market capitalism in all areas of life. Friedrich Hayek's foreword comments on the continuing relevance of this great work: "Most readers today will find that Socialism has more immediate application to contemporary events than it had when it first appeared." Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) was the leading spokesman of the Austrian School of Economics throughout most of the twentieth century. He earned his doctorate in law and economics from the University of Vienna in 1906. In 1926, Mises founded the Austrian Institute for Business Cycle Research. From 1909 to 1934, he was an economist for the Vienna Chamber of Commerce. Before the Anschluss, in 1934 Mises left for Geneva, where he was a professor at the Graduate Institute of International Studies until 1940, when he emigrated to New York City. From 1948 to 1969, he was a visiting professor at New York University.

30 review for Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis

  1. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Peterson

    This is my favorite book by my favorite author. He dissects every known form of socialism up to the date of publication (1922). His words have stood the test of time and there are very few, if any really new ideas on the subject since, that are not actually described (if not by the same names) and torn apart in this book. This is the book that turned the Nobel Prize winning economist Friedrich von Hayek away from the social democracy ideology, held before he read it! But most importantly, Mises d This is my favorite book by my favorite author. He dissects every known form of socialism up to the date of publication (1922). His words have stood the test of time and there are very few, if any really new ideas on the subject since, that are not actually described (if not by the same names) and torn apart in this book. This is the book that turned the Nobel Prize winning economist Friedrich von Hayek away from the social democracy ideology, held before he read it! But most importantly, Mises demonstrated conclusively how socialism is not a rational system and has to fail, of its own inconsistencies. The scope is magisterial: covering everything from love and sex under socialism and capitalism, to the details of national economic planning. Democratic Socialism, Christian Socialism, Syndicalism, Marxism, National Socialism, Monopolies, the concentration of Capital, Trade Unionism, Income Inequality, Interventionism, all the key concepts are presented fairly, clearly and persuasively. You will be amazed at how relevant and thoroughly readable this book is today, almost 100 years after it first appeared. The super-popular (and well known in his day - author of best selling "The Worldly Philosophers" and many other books) socialist American economist Robert Heilbroner said not long after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and most of the communist world in 1989, that "of course Mises was right." That's an incredibly ironic "of course," since Heilbroner made his name pushing various types of socialism during his long academic and best selling writing career. The prominent (in Europe) Polish socialist (1920s-30s) Oscar Lange said socialists should erect a statue to Mises, for his pointing out a critical flaw in socialism. He was only partially being facetious. If even honest socialists such as these admit Mises was right, shouldn't you know what he said about socialism? Another huge benefit to reading this book is that Mises does not contend himself with only being critical of Socialism. No, not at all. He makes the full case for a rigorous liberal society based on a truly free market economy with property rights as the key. This book is one of the all-time greatest achievements of the human mind. Considering this, it is also not all that difficult to read. I thought virtually every part fascinating, and was incredibly enriched by reading it all, which I have done several times since I discovered it about 1976. Considering how popular socialism is becoming these days (2019), despite over 100 years of evidence of how destructive to mankind this ideology and economic system is, wouldn't perhaps finding out what it is really all about, in all its manifest forms be a wise move? Enjoy!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Luke Held

    Stopped after the introduction. Pure ideology. You pretty much could have swapped the word "capitalism" for the word "Socialism" in the opening and it would have been just as true. There are major structural problems with Socialism and with Capitalism. This book is pure attack of a theory which the author clearly disagrees with, there is no science in this type of economic writing, just results justifying a point of view. I could not help feeling that the Author was simply protecting his interes Stopped after the introduction. Pure ideology. You pretty much could have swapped the word "capitalism" for the word "Socialism" in the opening and it would have been just as true. There are major structural problems with Socialism and with Capitalism. This book is pure attack of a theory which the author clearly disagrees with, there is no science in this type of economic writing, just results justifying a point of view. I could not help feeling that the Author was simply protecting his interests. One of his points was that given the choice between Socialism and Capitalism the people would surely choose Socialism, because it takes from the rich and gives to the populace, but is a failing way to organize an economy. This theory basically says that people are too dumb to have democracy. It's obvious why that despite the increases of the voter base since the books publishing that the percentage of eligible voters has dropped, the ruling class has no interest in having the people actually have democratic power. Another comical point was that all ownership has occurred through violence, yet the solution is not to redistribute that stolen property, but to maintain the ownership structure. Basically, once you steel something, it's yours and you get to keep it. And he calls socialism brutal. Reading the introduction was worth the investment. Continuing onto his evidence and analysis appears to be a waste of time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    This work merits the English word 'tome' -- and a just review should run to multiple pages. Limited as this will be, first I will comment on the production quality of the book; it's important that a work of this stature get the binding and paper it deserves. Acid-free, of course, and with endpapers, a note on the typography, bound by one of the finest binders still operating today, Edwards Brothers out of Ann Arbor. Publisher's preface. Translator's note. Foreword by the eminent F.A. Hayek, who This work merits the English word 'tome' -- and a just review should run to multiple pages. Limited as this will be, first I will comment on the production quality of the book; it's important that a work of this stature get the binding and paper it deserves. Acid-free, of course, and with endpapers, a note on the typography, bound by one of the finest binders still operating today, Edwards Brothers out of Ann Arbor. Publisher's preface. Translator's note. Foreword by the eminent F.A. Hayek, who notes that for young idealists such as himself returning to university studies after World War I, "its impact was profound." Ex-socialist that I am as well, this book has done the same: shown once again that ideas have consequences, and that when subjected to analysis, socialism is a bad idea, in part because like all Utopian schemes, it cannot be bothered with the logical consequences of its program; and it has no means of effectively accounting for or calculating anything in the economic sphere. It is a dream of faith. In the Epilogue, Mises notes that "the futility of the [socialist] schemes they produced could easily be shown. Those communists who were not entirely intimidated by the fear of the Soviet executioners, for instance Trotsky, freely admitted that economic accounting is unthinkable without market relations." Later: "In one of his lucid intervals, Trotsky -- of course Trotsky the hunted exile, not the ruthless commander of the Red army -- saw things realistically and declared: 'In a country where the sole employer is the State, opposition means death by slow starvation. The old principle: who does not work shall not eat, has been replaced by a new one: who does not obey shall not eat'." The writing does become polemically repetitive toward the end, with a hint of defensive dissembling, but overall a much-recommended book even though first published in 1922!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Earl Solper

    Written between WWI and WWII, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis is interesting as a historical document. He correctly predicts many of the difficulties the Communist regimes would face. However, von Mises loses me when he seeks to justify the Opium War. Even in the 1920s, the absurdity of the claim that "Not only each Chinese and each Hindu, but also each European and each American, would be considerably worse off" had it not been for England's aggressive attempts to open China to Written between WWI and WWII, Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis is interesting as a historical document. He correctly predicts many of the difficulties the Communist regimes would face. However, von Mises loses me when he seeks to justify the Opium War. Even in the 1920s, the absurdity of the claim that "Not only each Chinese and each Hindu, but also each European and each American, would be considerably worse off" had it not been for England's aggressive attempts to open China to "Free Trade" should have been apparent. Von Mises puts the blame on the Chinese people for failing to "abstain by [their] own impulse from enjoyments harmful to [their] organism" rather than on the state sponsored drug dealers who used England's military to open China to a trade in drugs banned in their own country. Finally, there is more than a touch of hypocrisy when the economist who claims that Socialism is primarily an evil because it decreases net productivity (even when it provides some local advantage) defends a war which introduced wide scale habit with its resulting population of non-productive addicts.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jason Keisling

    I've yet to meet a person who advocated socialism after reading this book. For a shorter critique of the problems of calculation, Mises also wrote "Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth", which is also quite good, but significantly shorter.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Reid

    Suffers a bit from Lord of the Rings syndrome. Reading Tolkein now can be weird, because a lot of LotR can seem cliche or common- but that's because LotR was the progenitor of the tropes that now seem overly familiar. It is a victim of its own success. Likewise some of the stuff in the beginning of Mises's Socialism seems obvious/cliche to someone familiar with the likes of Friedman/Goldwater/Rand or basically any modern right-wing writers. But that is because they are the intellectual children Suffers a bit from Lord of the Rings syndrome. Reading Tolkein now can be weird, because a lot of LotR can seem cliche or common- but that's because LotR was the progenitor of the tropes that now seem overly familiar. It is a victim of its own success. Likewise some of the stuff in the beginning of Mises's Socialism seems obvious/cliche to someone familiar with the likes of Friedman/Goldwater/Rand or basically any modern right-wing writers. But that is because they are the intellectual children of Mises- and its interesting to see these ideas in their primal form. The book as a whole is worth reading, but the epilogue is particularly excellent.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Trey Smith

    Mises in extraordinary fashion devastatingly destroys socialism as a viable economic system. This book provides unique analysis as to the different types of socialism represented mainly in two types that of Soviet socialism and that of German socialism. Mises also provides a unique sociological and ethical criticism of Socialism from his utilitarian and classically liberal viewpoint. Although I much prefer Mises, the economist to Mises the sociologist or ethicist, he provides interesting analysi Mises in extraordinary fashion devastatingly destroys socialism as a viable economic system. This book provides unique analysis as to the different types of socialism represented mainly in two types that of Soviet socialism and that of German socialism. Mises also provides a unique sociological and ethical criticism of Socialism from his utilitarian and classically liberal viewpoint. Although I much prefer Mises, the economist to Mises the sociologist or ethicist, he provides interesting analysis that provides insight to a utilitarian critique of socialism.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ian Hodge

    Perhaps no one in the 20th century provided a more systematic defense of the free market than Ludwig von Mises. The scope of his writings was broad; his analysis incisive. In this book, Von Mises undertakes the tasks of describing socialism and its implication for economics and the broader culture. His thesis can be illustrated in these words: "If the control of private property is transferred to the State the property owner is only an official, a deputy of the economic administration." For Von Mi Perhaps no one in the 20th century provided a more systematic defense of the free market than Ludwig von Mises. The scope of his writings was broad; his analysis incisive. In this book, Von Mises undertakes the tasks of describing socialism and its implication for economics and the broader culture. His thesis can be illustrated in these words: "If the control of private property is transferred to the State the property owner is only an official, a deputy of the economic administration." For Von Mises, it was either private ownership and therefore control of property, or else it was socialism. Anything in between, as he argued elsewhere, is merely the free market on the road to totalitarian. There can be no middle-of-the-road policy that does not lead to to full socialism. IN this book, Von Mises lays out his case against all forms of government (or public) ownership of property in favor of private ownership. And if ever you want to test the question of ownership, just ask who makes the final decision about what is to be done. The answer you provide will tell you if you have private or government ownership. A key to Von Mises's objection to socialism is its inherent impossibility at total control. No human mind, even the collective mind of mankind, is capable of managing the myriad of economic relationships that exist between goods and services on the one hand, and people on the other. Socialism and socialists might have noble aims, but they are ultimately incapable of delivering the utopia for which they yearn. If you're planning to read only one book on the meaning and implications of socialism, this should be the one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Steve Hadfield

    If people want to know the fallacies of socialism, this is the book. I might disagree with some of his conclusions about Protestantism, but it touches on every aspect of what socialism is, how it works, and how it really affects mankind.He discusses it roots and shoots into communism and even how they differ, or how it was implemented differently than one would expect. In short, socialism can only be achieved with totalitarianism. It is inevitable - total state control is the only way to truly i If people want to know the fallacies of socialism, this is the book. I might disagree with some of his conclusions about Protestantism, but it touches on every aspect of what socialism is, how it works, and how it really affects mankind.He discusses it roots and shoots into communism and even how they differ, or how it was implemented differently than one would expect. In short, socialism can only be achieved with totalitarianism. It is inevitable - total state control is the only way to truly implement it. Its based on economics that can never, ever work in the real world - there isn't enough money! And it creates and perpetuates and exasperbates the very problems its said to fix. I'd call it a ponzie scheme - as long as there is money to steal from the rich, it will appear to work.Once they're gone, it collapses like a house of cards. My only problem with the book is its length; its long. But to touch on every aspect of the subject, that is what was needed.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alessandro Puzielli

    This book is the root of position of classical liberalism and of libertarian thinking in the XX Century (Friedrich von heyek, Murray Rothbard). The socialism is showed as the better way to delete resources and civilization: if the political mens delete the free market, then they delete the system of price without another good way to determine the preferences and needed of people.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alfred Stappenbeck

    My major takeaway from this book is that I don’t understand what some of my friends are referring to when they speak fondly of Socialism. For instance, which kind; Guild Socialism, National Socialism, Christian Socialism, Military Socialism, State Socialism, Solidarism? Misses covers all of these and more, highlighting their similarities and exploring differences. Further, are these friends actually expecting that all the means of production become state owned or just some, why differentiate bet My major takeaway from this book is that I don’t understand what some of my friends are referring to when they speak fondly of Socialism. For instance, which kind; Guild Socialism, National Socialism, Christian Socialism, Military Socialism, State Socialism, Solidarism? Misses covers all of these and more, highlighting their similarities and exploring differences. Further, are these friends actually expecting that all the means of production become state owned or just some, why differentiate between all or some? Are they on board with the labor theory of value? Have they found a credible solution to the problem of “Economic Calculation” that Misses refers to in this book? If you count yourself a Socialist or are sympathetic to it, please explain what exactly it is about Socialism you find attractive. It seems that the word Socialism has now come to mean something different than what it meant in the 1920’s (approx time of this books publishing) or 1800’s the approx time of Karl Marx and his supposed synonymous use of both terms Communism and Socialism. The book does make mention in the epilogue of the term Socialism diverging from its original synonymous usage with Communism, starting with its subtle change by Lenin and finally its more significant shift in meaning by Stalin. Apparently Lenin differentiated by changing the meaning of Communism to refer to the aggressive revolutionary tactics he was advocating prior to the Bolshevik revolution and Socialism referred to the advocates of a slower evolutionary path to the same ultimate end. Stalin then changed it again to refer to an incomplete Communism that focuses on dictating the means of production but not realizing the full potential of Marx’s doctrine. With a book this long it’s difficult to accumulate criticisms without it turning into a book all in itself. My main issue which I noticed throughout the book and which you can find a specific case of on the bottom of Pg. 31 (In the introduction). Misses reveals how he sees the proper evaluation of Socialism being conducted. No mention of ethics is given. In fact science is described as the tool to teach us about society. Further, he states the issue of judging socialism is political. Institutions are apparently primary over ethics. Here is the quote, "The question whether society ought to be built up on the basis of private ownership of the means of production or on the basis of public ownership of the means of production is political. Science cannot decide it; Science cannot pronounce a judgment on the relative values of the forms of social organization. But Science alone, by examining the effects of institutions, can lay the foundations for an understanding of society." I claim Misses is putting the cart before the horse.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Martin Hrabal

    Overwhelming analysis and critique of socialism from all possible points of view - sociological, economic, philosophical, historical... From destruction of families to destructionism of economy. The socialism is impossible to make per se and its variants are less productive than capitalism. The key is impossibility of economic calculation because production means belong to state and cannot be traded, therefore there are no prices. And without prices nobody can say that production is efficient or Overwhelming analysis and critique of socialism from all possible points of view - sociological, economic, philosophical, historical... From destruction of families to destructionism of economy. The socialism is impossible to make per se and its variants are less productive than capitalism. The key is impossibility of economic calculation because production means belong to state and cannot be traded, therefore there are no prices. And without prices nobody can say that production is efficient or not.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Andrej Drapal

    Should be obligatory for anyone who intents to say anything in public.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jon Nylander

    Simply the most scathing and clear critique of socialism in all its forms. If you have any sense and can see behind the crisp and sober style of Mises's writing, this book will bring you to tears.

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Waldrip

    An astonishingly prescient book that is must reading for anyone who seeks context for current political events. My only concern arises from Mises' opinion (no doubt derived from his observations of European Protestantism and Catholicism) that Christianity is woefully supportive of socialism. As a longtime Christian, Bible student, and pastor for four decades, I can assure any reader of von Mises that the Bible and Biblical Christianity most certainly does NOT support socialism. From the Genesis An astonishingly prescient book that is must reading for anyone who seeks context for current political events. My only concern arises from Mises' opinion (no doubt derived from his observations of European Protestantism and Catholicism) that Christianity is woefully supportive of socialism. As a longtime Christian, Bible student, and pastor for four decades, I can assure any reader of von Mises that the Bible and Biblical Christianity most certainly does NOT support socialism. From the Genesis accounts of real estate being purchased for burial plots (thus, evidencing a recognition of the ownership of property) and the Eighth Commandment ("Thou shalt not steal," Exodus 20.15), I can assure you that not only does the Bible support the sanctity of private property ownership, but the Protestant Reformation and its fullest expressions in Protestant Scotland and New England (giving rise to the phrase "The Protestant work ethic") set the moral and ethical framework for the explosion of commerce that led to Adam Smith's recognition of capitalist principles and practices. "Socialism" is a necessary and useful read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Northrup

    Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis First published in German in 1922 but not published in English until 1951, Socialism, is a thorough debunking of the possibility of Socialism in a world where humans act with purpose...the real world, that is. Mises was a scholar in the classical sense so prepare to have a dictionary handy if you ever decide to read any of his books. I've been reading him for decades and still his vocabulary astounds me. I don't actually recommend reading most of thi Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis First published in German in 1922 but not published in English until 1951, Socialism, is a thorough debunking of the possibility of Socialism in a world where humans act with purpose...the real world, that is. Mises was a scholar in the classical sense so prepare to have a dictionary handy if you ever decide to read any of his books. I've been reading him for decades and still his vocabulary astounds me. I don't actually recommend reading most of this book unless your purpose is to intellectually combat Socialists in the political arena. But, if you are interested in that sort of thing, this book should be your field guide. At over 600 pages, Socialism leaves no wiggle room for rationalizing Socialism's promotion in any way by anyone. If you don't care about day-to-day conflict with Socialists then I recommend starting with the last book Mises wrote instead, Theory and History.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Johannes J Smith

    Dinosaur or Apollo 12? I confess my third world study of economics in the sixties may be the reason for my rating. Greenspan to congress recently kept ringing in my ears while reading so did paul ryan about his reveling of yan rand while running for VP? The Chicago 5's dominating economic thinking in the latter 19th century? All of which i kept relating to this author's findings? I think it is an antiquated dinosaur and can just serve as a lesson in the history of economic thinking.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pechague

    It is funny how the worst argument on this book is still being used. When Mises discusses the impossibility of economic calculation under socialism because no one mind can perform the amount of calculations involved, one can recognise that argument is pretty date in an age of computers. The core of the argument and the genius on Mises is to recognise the social importance of private property of the means of production for the proper function of the Market Economy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michal Sventek

    I was surprised how well this book read! Don't be scared away by the cover, nor the length - Professor von Mises's pedagogical skills shine in his clear and precise exploration of socialism - as an economical system, its ethics, roots and results. Nowadays more than ever we need to hear these lessons again, unless we want to repeat the mistakes of the 20th century. In the age of Sanders, Corbyn, Trump and Putin, reach for von Mises instead.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stefan Matias

    Exceptional analysis of Socialism both sociologically and economically. Mises does an extraordinary job in this work in inquiring the arguments for and against Socialism, leaving no objection unanswered. Socialism prevailed then, wreaked havoc in the 20th century, and still prevails today, hundred years later. Liberals (in the 19th-century definition) today has a duty, to not give in to evil, but to go even stronger against it. As Mises said, 'tu ne cede malis, sed contra auterior ito.'

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    von Mises systematically destroys all of the arguments in favor of socialism with clear logic in this well written treatise.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Mccall

    Every so called Socialist should read this book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Ritenour

    One of the greatest works of economics and sociology written in the Twentieth Century. It is a masterful analysis of socialism that is as timely now as when it was first published in 1922

  24. 5 out of 5

    Waldo

    this man writes like a dictionary. You're gonna need to re-read everything again.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Chris Cathcart

    Once one has read all the way through 'Socialism,' there should be no question as to why Mises is reputed to be the greatest critic of socialism. He's a good man, and thorough. Secondary commentators seemed to focus a whole lot on the 'calculation problem' Mises raised (and was proven right about, all via 'apriori' praxeological reasoning and everything; you'd think his critics on matters of methodology might have taken note...), but as Mises makes clear throughout 'Socialism,' socialist thought Once one has read all the way through 'Socialism,' there should be no question as to why Mises is reputed to be the greatest critic of socialism. He's a good man, and thorough. Secondary commentators seemed to focus a whole lot on the 'calculation problem' Mises raised (and was proven right about, all via 'apriori' praxeological reasoning and everything; you'd think his critics on matters of methodology might have taken note...), but as Mises makes clear throughout 'Socialism,' socialist thought across the board falls into a pattern of naivete (economic, historical, cultural, etc.). Solving 'the calculation problem' wouldn't solve socialism's tendencies toward cultural destructionism (a topic Mises tackles in the later parts of 'Socialism'). If anything on the cultural-destructionism front, Mao's 'Cultural Revolution' helped to affirm Mises' theme; if freedom and property can be destroyed, why not try destroying culture as well? Of course, as one could readily discern from Mises' exhaustively learned book, had Mises been given the necessary info about China's economic, political and cultural situation in 1960 as the 'Great Leap Forward' - the most ambitious attempt to implement socialism pure and proper - was tried, he would have accurately predicted that millions of people would die. Had socialists listened to Mises (and thereby stopped being socialists, as with Hayek for example), they would have avoided tons of 20th century folly. But socialists are not well-noted for listening to their critics in good faith. The best "footnote" to this book in Mises' body of work is his chapter-length takedown of the most virulent/deadly form of socialist thought, Marxism, in his 1957 book 'Theory and History.' The Marxists chose to ignore that takedown as well. (On that note, one shouldn't ignore Robert Nozick's commentary on Marxist 'exploitation' theory in 'Anarchy, State, and Utopia.' Subsequent to that, the late G.A. Cohen - the "last major academic Marxist philosopher" - took Nozick to task, while libertarian Eric Mack took Cohen to task. Meanwhile Nozick was too busy writing about philosophical matters proper after AS&U, where his brilliance and vision took him, but it's not hard to envision taking down Cohen (or whatever latest permutation of leftist "thought", whether it relies on the LTV or something else) in a few easy steps. Besides, I do a takedown of leftist/anticapitalist notions about capitalism in a few easy steps here: http://ultimatephilosopher.blogspot.c... ) Supplement Mises' work criticizing socialism and defending capitalism on strictly 'praxeological' grounds, with Ayn Rand's moral defense of capitalism and refutation of socialism (in briefest essence: a man's life/mind is not the state's or collective's to dispose of, regardless of whether socialism could solve the 'calculation problem'), and you have an intellectual juggernaut that leftists can choose to either join or evade (and be run over by). So far they've been choosing the latter, and like any group of hardcore fanatical dogmatists they have doubled down in their criticisms of capitalism in the wake of the myriad failures of socialism, welfare statism, and other statisms. In short, with the work of Mises, Rand, Nozick, Hayek and other defenders of freedom out there for consideration - much less the inevitably brutal and tyrannical record of attempts to implement socialism (see Alan Charles Kors: https://www.google.com/search?q=kors+...) - the socialists have been operating beyond the pale for decades now. That the Democrat Party is moving fast in that direction should tell you what you need to know about that shitshow.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jan Notzon

    A quite challenging read, it took me a good while to finish. It describes socialism in all aspects: with respect to property, politics, economics, ideology, philosophy, etc. and demonstrates, remarkably clearly, its unworkability (the translator uses the word "impracticability"). I must admit I winced a bit at von Mises description of the romantic (in his view, socialism being a romantic dream) because it so closely described me as a young man: "the romantic imagines the pleasures of success but A quite challenging read, it took me a good while to finish. It describes socialism in all aspects: with respect to property, politics, economics, ideology, philosophy, etc. and demonstrates, remarkably clearly, its unworkability (the translator uses the word "impracticability"). I must admit I winced a bit at von Mises description of the romantic (in his view, socialism being a romantic dream) because it so closely described me as a young man: "the romantic imagines the pleasures of success but does nothing to achieve them. He has a grudge against reality because it is not like the dream world he has created." If you're up for a challenge, I highly recommend this book. If you just want to hear your preconceived ideas regurgitated to you, I can't. But I do believe every voting member of a democracy should.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Rudisel

    I finally read Ludwig Mises' rather lengthy book on his decades-long research into the rise of, and the structure of, socialism; and why it is so inferior to market systems which have economic means of calculation. And, why state control of the means of production is totally impracticable, and always fails miserably in practice. It was as obvious to Ludwig in 1922 as it is to the rest of us 100 years later. I've always suspected it would be quite worthwhile, and I was quite right. Uncannily predict I finally read Ludwig Mises' rather lengthy book on his decades-long research into the rise of, and the structure of, socialism; and why it is so inferior to market systems which have economic means of calculation. And, why state control of the means of production is totally impracticable, and always fails miserably in practice. It was as obvious to Ludwig in 1922 as it is to the rest of us 100 years later. I've always suspected it would be quite worthwhile, and I was quite right. Uncannily predictive of our modern circumstances. Authoritarian central-planning was seen as an enemy to liberty by Misses before WWII. Such reading should be required in first-year economics college courses, IMO. Mises was a towering intellect.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Dallas

    Actually read only parts of this great and weighty tome, but enough to get von Mises' decisive, devastating, and unanswerable refutation of central planning and social engineering. By the 20th century's most important economist, not as well known as he should be or as well known as his most famous student, Friedrich Hayek.

  29. 5 out of 5

    James

    This is a good introduction to Austrian Economics. Mises is among my favorite economist because he is very his arguments are practical and expressed in a logical, accessable to anyone platform. Read this book...or atleast parts of it (Its super long).

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jordi

    One of the cornerstones of the Austria School of Economics.

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