Ludwig von Mises' Human Action

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rht1786's picture
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Ludwig von Mises' Human Action

I've written in the forum of this website several times before concerning Ludwig von Mises' Human Action, and I will not stop recommending it as a must-read for anybody who wants to intelligently discuss anything economic. Human Action is the definitive work concerning what economics is. And don't disregard these words, economics is widely misunderstood by the public, including those who frequent this website. Very often people mislabel economic terms, or use the wrong terminology, or argue over a subject (i.e. capitalism) without a full understanding of the meaning of this field.

That is because in this day and age, academic institutions, the media and governments have specifically frustrated an attempt to fully comprehend economics by making the subject appear extremely dull, uninteresting and unpopular. Additionally, economists tend to be very boring, uninteresting people, constantly full of negativity on world events. Economists also tend to lack the marketing expertise that current governments command, so they are unable and unwilling to attempt to capture complex economic concepts into catch phrases like "quantitative easing" or "jobless recovery". However, economists are simply rational and logical to the extreme, and most modern cultures lack this fervent rationalism. 

There is an explicit difference between capitalism and totalitarianism - they are opposites. Similar to contemporary definitions of the political right and left, which von Mises, himself, despises, but I will use in this context to illustrate a point, capitalism and totalitarianism form the poles in the scale of economic freedom. There is a method behind how economies function and how systems of government interact with and interfere with local, national and global economies. These fields are called praxeology and catallactics, and form the underpinning of free market, classical liberal economic theory. The status quo's ignorance of these essential fields is evident in the fact that my spellcheck told me praxeology and catallactics are not words. In this day and age, this economic theory is referred to as Austrian, and it is contrasted by Keynesian, but the differences are marked and simple. 

Austrian economics is the study of economics as a science and field of knowledge. It is contrasted by Keynesian economics, which is the economic policy of government interventionalism and its effects on free markets. 

At some 900 pages of verbose, often thick economic theory, Human Action is a difficult read. If you pick up this book with the intention to finish it, it will take some effort to push through all 900 pages. Regardless, if you want a full and complete understanding and one hell of a sound perspective on how the world works, then read this book. It will be worth your time.

Lemonyellowschwin's picture
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Posts: 561
Re: Ludwig von Mises' Human Action

I agree.  But it should be emphasized that it is a very difficult read.  Really hard to wade through.  Like you said.

Vanityfox451's picture
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Joined: Dec 28 2008
Posts: 1636
Re: Ludwig von Mises' Human Action

Hi rht1786,

for reference,I found a link to the 930 page book in pdf form ...



npwebb's picture
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Joined: Mar 25 2009
Posts: 111
Re: Ludwig von Mises' Human Action

I don't seem to have a lot of time these days so 900 pages seems like a lofty goal.

I did get the a copy of Ron Paul's End the Fed for Christmas and have gotten through the half way point in quick order.

It's an easy read clearly written to the general population.  It would be the pre-school primer to Von Mises' PhD Human Action.

We have to start somewhere.  While I may not be ready Human Action I do intend to get there some day.

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