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Ludwig von Mises: "Human action is purposeful behavior." - Human Action


Quotable MisesThis database of quotations from Mises was prepared for The Quotable Mises edited by Mark Thornton, available from the Mises Institute store for $20. Send corrections to the editor. Here is a source page on the editions of the books referenced.

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AuthorQuoteSourcePageSubject
Ludwig von MisesThe characteristic mark of economic history under capitalism is unceasing economic progress, a steady increase in the quantity of capital goods available, and a continuous trend toward an improvement in the general standard of living.Human Action p. 562; p. 565Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesThe characteristic feature of capitalism that distinguishes it from pre-capitalist methods of production was its new principle of marketing. Capitalism is not simply mass production, but mass production to satisfy the needs of the masses.Liberty and Property p. 9Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesCapitalism is essentially a system of mass production for the satisfaction of the needs of the masses. It pours a horn of plenty upon the common man. It has raised the average standard of living to a height never dreamed of in earlier ages. It has made accessible to millions of people enjoyments which a few generations ago were only within the reach of a small elite.The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality p. 49Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesThe early industrialists were for the most part men who had their origin in the same social strata from which their workers came. They lived very modestly, spent only a fraction of their earnings for their households and put the rest back into the business.Human Action p. 617; p. 622Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesMany pioneers of these industrial changes, it is true, became rich. But they acquired their wealth by supplying the public with motor cars, airplanes, radio sets, refrigerators, moving and talking pictures, and variety of less spectacular but no less useful innovations. These new products were certainly not an achievement of offices and bureaucrats.Omnipotent Government pp. ixxCapitalism
Ludwig von MisesThe development of capitalism consists in everyone having the right to serve the consumer better and/or more cheaply.Economic Policy p. 5Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesThere is no western, capitalistic country in which the conditions of the masses have not improved in an unprecedented way.Economic Policy p. 13Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesIn spite of the anticapitalistic policies of all governments and of almost all political parties, the capitalist mode of production is still fulfilling its social function in supplying the consumers with more, better and cheaper goods.Planned Chaos p. 15Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesIt is inherent in the nature of the capitalistic economy that, in the final analysis, the employment of the factors of production is aimed only toward serving the wishes of consumers.On the Manipulation of Money and Credit p. 176Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesThe capitalistic social order, therefore, is an economic democracy in the strictest sense of the word. In the last analysis, all decisions are dependent on the will of the people as consumers. Thus, whenever there is a conflict between the consumers views and those of the business managers, market pressures assure that the views of the consumers win out eventually.On the Manipulation of Money and Credit p. 178Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesGrumblers may blame Western civilization for its materialism and may assert that it gratified nobody but a small class of rugged exploiters. But their laments cannot wipe out the facts. Millions of mothers have been made happier by the drop in infant mortality. Famines have disappeared and epidemics have been curbed.Theory and History p. 334Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesThe capitalist system of production is an economic democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote. The consumers are the sovereign people. The capitalists, the entrepreneurs, and the farmers are the peoples mandatories.Bureaucracy pp. 2122Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesCapitalism gave the world what it needed, a higher standard of living for a steadily increasing number of people.Human Action pp. 860-61; p. 864Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesThe word Capitalism expresses, for our age, the sum of all evil. Even the opponents of Socialism are dominated by socialist ideas.Socialism p. 15Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesIn the capitalist society there is a place and bread for all. Its ability to expand provides sustenance for every worker. Permanent unemployment is not a feature of free capitalism.Socialism p. 286Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesThe market economy needs no apologists and propagandists. It can apply to itself the words of Sir Christopher Wrens epitaph in St. Pauls: Si monumentum requiris, circumspice. [If you seek his monument, look around.]Human Action p. 850; p. 854Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesAll the talk about the so-called unspeakable horror of early capitalism can be refuted by a single statistic: precisely in these years in which British capitalism developed, precisely in the age called the Industrial Revolution in England, in the years from 1760 to 1830, precisely in those years the population of England doubled.Economic Policy p. 7Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesThe market economycapitalismis a social system of consumers supremacy.Money, Method, and the Market Process p. 233Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesCapitalism needs neither propaganda nor apostles. Its achievements speak for themselves. Capitalism delivers the goods.Money, Method, and the Market Process p. 242Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesThe issue is always the same: the government or the market. There is no third solution.Planned Chaos p. 28Capitalism vs. Socialism
Ludwig von MisesCapitalism and socialism are two distinct patterns of social organization. Private control of the means of production and public control are contradictory notions and not merely contrary notions. There is no such thing as a mixed economy, a system that would stand midway between capitalism and socialism.The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality pp. 6465Capitalism vs. Socialism
Ludwig von MisesCapitalism means free enterprise, sovereignty of the consumers in economic matters, and sovereignty of the voters in political matters. Socialism means full government control of every sphere of the individuals life and the unrestricted supremacy of the government in its capacity as central board of production management.Bureaucracy p. 10Capitalism vs. Socialism
Ludwig von MisesIf one rejects laissez faire on account of mans fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action.Planning for Freedom p. 44Capitalism vs. Socialism
Ludwig von MisesTyranny is the political corollary of socialism, as representative government is the political corollary of the market economy.Planning for Freedom p. 218Capitalism vs. Socialism
Ludwig von MisesA society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.Human Action p. 676; p. 680Capitalism vs. Socialism
Ludwig von MisesThe desire for an increase of wealth can be satisfied through exchange, which is the only method possible in a capitalist economy, or by violence and petition as in a militarist society, where the strong acquire by force, the weak by petitioning.Socialism p. 335Capitalism vs. Socialism
Ludwig von MisesFor it is an essential difference between capitalist and socialist production that under capitalism men provide for themselves, while under Socialism they are provided for.Socialism p. 405Capitalism vs. Socialism
Ludwig von MisesLiberalism and capitalism address themselves to the cool, well-balanced mind. They proceed by strict logic, eliminating any appeal to the emotions. Socialism, on the contrary, works on the emotions, tries to violate logical considerations by rousing a sense of personal interest and to stifle the voice of reason by awakening primitive instincts.Socialism p. 460Capitalism vs. Socialism
Ludwig von MisesThe salesman thanks the customer for patronizing his shop and asks him to come again. But the socialists say: Be grateful to Hitler, render thanks to Stalin; be nice and submissive, then the great man will be kind to you later too.Omnipotent Government p. 53Capitalism vs. Socialism
Ludwig von MisesThere is simply no other choice than this: either to abstain from interference in the free play of the market, or to delegate the entire management of production and distribution to the government. Either capitalism or socialism: there exists no middle way.Liberalism p. 79Capitalism vs. Socialism