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Advancing Austrian Economics, Liberty, and Peace

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Mises Made Easier
Percy L. Greaves Jr.


Labarum. Roman military standard, later adopted by Emperors as Imperial Standard. Constantine the Great (288?-337), after his conversion to Christianity (312), wove the monogram of Christ () into his standard, now known as the "labarum." Hence, a standard or symbol for which men live and die.

Labor Party (British.). A British political party formed in 1900 at a meeting of trade unionists and socialists. Its political and economic ideas were largely supplied by the Fabian Society. (See "Fabianism." ) The Party's first secretary, J. Ramsay MacDonald (1866-1937), became Prime Minister for ten months in 1924, when the 158 Liberal members of Parliament supported the 191 Labor members in opposition to a protectionist proposal of the 258 Conservative Party members. During this time Great Britain recognized the Union of Soviet Socialist Russia. Returned to power 1929-1931, with 288 members to Conservative 261 and Liberal 57, the Party's policies resulted in taking Great Britain off the gold standard. In power with a clear majority for the first time, 1945-1951, the Party socialized medicine, nationalized key industries and reduced the value of the British pound from $4.03 to $2.80. The Party's re-election in 1964 placed the pound in immediate jeopardy.

OG. 223-24; S. 539.

"l'acte per lequel nous ramenons ? l'identique ce qui nous a, tout d'abord, paru n'?tre pas tel," (French). [Science is] "the process by which we are led back to the very thing which, at first, did not seem to us to be so."

HA. 38n.

"la dur? pure, dont l'?coulement est continu, et o? l'on passe, par gradations insensibles, d'un ?tat ? l'autre: Continuit? r?ellement v?cue," (French). Pure duration, in which the flow is continuous and one passes by imperceptible degrees from one state to another: Continuity really lived (or experienced).

Laissez faire, (French). Short for laissez faire, laissez passer, a French phrase meaning to let things alone, let them pass. First used by the eighteenth century Physiocrats (see "Physiocracy") as an injunction against government interference with trade. Now used freely as a synonym for free market economics, or what Mises prefers to call the unhampered market economy (see "Market economy, the free or unhampered").

AC. 83, 91; HA. 9,619-20,730-32,748,840; PF. 36-49, 58, 141, 177, 182; S. 323.

"la sympathie par laquelle on se transport ? l'int?rieur d'un objet pour co?ncider avec ce qu'il a d'unique et par cons?quent d'inexprimable," (French). "The sympathy with which one enters inside an object in order to identify thereby what it has that is unique and therefore inexpressible."

Latifundia, (Latin). Large landed estates as owned by the old Roman aristocracy, the medieval lords and, at various historical periods, by the landed aristocracy in non-European lands. Most of them were originally obtained by conquest or as a reward for military assistance to a conqueror. They were worked by gangs of slaves, former prisoners of war or their descendants.

Latin Monetary Union. A monetary union formed in 1865 by France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland and later (1875) joined by Greece. While not members, Spain (1868), Rumania (1868), Bulgaria (1893), Serbia and Venezuela (1891) conformed with the policies of the Union.

After the gold discoveries in California and Australia in the mid-nineteenth century, the relative value of gold fell, resulting in the disappearance of silver coins. (See "Gresham's law." ) The Union was formed to, meet this situation. It attempted to preserve the French bimetallic ratio of 15 1/2 ounces of silver to one of gold by providing for standard silver coins corresponding to the French five franc piece and gold coins for all higher denominations. A few years later, the relative value of silver began to fall and huge quantities of silver were presented for mintage while gold coins were disappearing. This led the Union to set quotas for the further coinage of the standard silver coins and later (1878) to suspend their coinage altogether. For all practical purposes, this placed the Union countries on the gold standard.

HA. 472; M. 75-76; also PLG. 149-51.

"la vie est une cause premi?re qui nous ?chappe comme toutes les causes premi?res et dont la science exp?rimentale n'a pas ? se pr?occuper," (French). "Life is a first cause which eludes us, as all first causes do, and with which experimental science does not have to concern itself."

Law of participation. A concept of the French philosopher Lucien L?vy-Bruhl (1857-1939), wherein he holds that persons with a primitive mentality somehow believe there is a "participation" between persons and objects which are part of a collective representation. They see a sort of mystic communication and interrelation in collective representations that are wholly indifferent to contradictions apparent to nonprimitives. The parts of the collective are conceived of as both themselves and something other than themselves at the same time.

HA. 36-37; and see also Lucien L?vy-Bruhl's How Natives Think, trans. by L. A. Clare (New York, 1932), Chapter II.

League of Nations. An international association of the governments of member nations (1919-1946). Proposed during World War I by President Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) of the United States, the League's covenant was incorporated in the Versailles Peace Treaty (1919). Its headquarters were at Geneva, Switzerland. Apart from its attempts to bring about order and lasting peace in international relations, it served as a collector of statistics, a preparer of reports and a meeting place for discussions by nationalist minded representatives of its member governments. It lacked the spirit of liberalism (see "Liberal") and thus failed to solve the major international problems of its era such as colonialism, political restrictions on international trade and investments and domestic interventionisms which led to international conflicts. Its failure to solve the Manchurian Crisis of 1931 led to the withdrawal of Japan (1933) and the League's gradual disintegration before World War II. It was formally dissolved in 1946, after the formation of the United Nations (q.v.). The United States never joined the League, although it did participate in many of its subsidiary activities, such as the International Labor Organization (1934), an organ for the promotion of "pro-labor" interventionism which has been continued under the United Nations.

FC. 147-51; HA. 687,825; OG. 4-7, 280-81.

Lebensraum, (German). Literally, space for living or existence. The Nazi (q.v.) Lebensraum policy was a policy of territorial expansion aimed at acquiring "a fairer distribution" of the world's raw materials so as to provide Germans with N?hrungsfreiheit (freedom from importing food) and a standard of living equal to the world's highest.

HA. 324; OG. 1, 74-78, 217, 234, 236, 261; S. 554, 579.

Legal tender. A legal medium of payment. Money (q.v.) or media of exchange (q.v.) which the law requires a creditor to accept at face value when offered (tendered) in payment of any outstanding monetary debt or obligation. In practice, a law bestowing legal tender quality affects only monetary obligations already contracted.

HA. 450,780,783-85; M. 69-71.

Leiturgia, (old Latin, from the Greek). Liturgies. Compulsory public services which the wealthy must perform or subsidize for the state; a sort of special tax levied on the rich in the ancient Greek city states, such as Athens, and later in both Egypt and the Roman Empire. Originally, the well-to-do were required to aid without remuneration in the execution of important public works, such as collecting taxes, serving as public officials, providing food for the poor in times of famine, furnishing food and quarters for the army, supplying animals and drivers or outfitting ships for the transport of men and goods the state wanted moved, etc. Later, these liturgies became a means for those in power to despoil the wealth of large property owners and others not in political favor, with the result that they hastened economic decay.

"Le moulin ? bras vous donnera la soci?t? avec le souzerain; le moulin ? vapeur, la soci?t? avec le capitaliste industriel" Marx, Mis?re de la philosophie p. 100, (French). "The handmill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam-mill, society with the industrial capitalist." Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy (English translation of the German), p. 105.

HA. 79n .

Lend-lease. A United States law (March 17, 1941) providing financial assistance for governments fighting Nazi Germany and, after December 7, 1941, Japan. When World War II started in Europe (1939), American neutrality laws stipulated that all sales of war supplies must be paid for in cash and shipped in foreign vessels. French and British orders paid for by gold shipments soon ended the mass American unemployment of the 1930s. By July 1940, France had fallen and Great Britain had informed the American government secretly that "it will be utterly impossible for them to continue" to pay cash indefinitely. After the November election the British situation was made public and the President requested Congress to pass the Act which gave him the power to sell, lend, lease or give away such war supplies as he considered necessary for the aid of countries "whose defense is vital to the United States." The total aid provided under this law (1941-1948) exceeded $50 billion.

S. 556; also PLG. 245-46.

Level of prices. See "Price level."

Liberal. (1) Used by Mises "in the sense attached to it everywhere in the nineteenth century and still today in the countries of continental Europe. This usage is imperative because there is simply no other term available to signify the great political and intellectual movement that substituted free enterprise and the market economy for the precapitalistic methods of production; constitutional representative government for the absolutism of kings or oligarchies; and freedom of all individuals for slavery, serfdom, and other forms of bondage." (HA. v). NOTE: In the Third Edition of Human Action the last "for" appeared in error as "from."

(2) "In the [early nineteenth century] constitutional conflict in Spain in which champions of parliamentary government were fighting against the absolutist aspirations of the Bourbon Ferdinand VII, the supporters of a constitutional regime were called Liberals and those of the King Serviles. Very soon the name 'Liberalism' was adopted all over Europe." (UF. 92)

Mises considers true liberalism to be the practical philosophy of scientific praxeology (q.v.) and economics (q.v.). See especially FC., which appeared originally (1927) as Liberalismus (Liberalism). The English-Language Edition carries the subtitle, "An Exposition of the Ideas of Classical Liberalism." Its appendix discusses the term "Liberalism" and the "Literature of Liberalism."

AC. 92-94; HA. 149-50,153-57,174-75,183,285,324,689-90,864-66; OG. 2, 18-32, 48-51, 75, 80-81, 89-96, 136, 281-84; S. 48-49, 57, 70, 71, 74, 76-78, 83, 310, 319-20, 323-24, 326, 403, 423, 462-63, 501-04.

Litigious. Inclined toward lawsuits or judicial disputes. Also, subject to legal argument or dependent upon a judicial decision.

Logical positivists. Adherents of the modern British and American variety of positivism (q.v.). This school has been influenced largely by the teachings of the so-called Vienna Circle founded in 1924 by Moritz Schlick (1882-1936). The chief exponents of this school have been Otto Neurath (1882-1945) and Rudolf Carnap (1891-1970). The significance of the logical positivists for the study of Mises' Human Action lies in the fact that their fundamental thesis rejects all non-experimental methods of research and thus denies the existence of any a priori knowledge.

TH. 240-50; UF. 5, 39, 53, 70, 123.

"l'on ne peut le pratiquer sans s'?tre demand? si les deux objets ?chang?s sont bien de m?me valeur, c'est-?-dire ?changeables contre un m?me troisi?me," (French). "One cannot practice it [exchange] without having asked himself whether the two objects exchanged are goods of the same value, that is to say [goods] exchangeable for a third [good] with the very same value."

Loss. The effect of unsuccessful human actions which result in distress (psychic loss, see "Psychic profit and loss") and/or a decrease in net assets (entrepreneurial loss, see "Entrepreneurial profit and loss"). Losses are primarily ascribed or assigned to those who would have received the profits if the actions had been successful.

Lucubration. Belabored study; serious treatise; product of long and serious thought.

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