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Ludwig von Mises: "We must comprehend that it is impossible to improve the economic conditions of the underdeveloped nations by grants in aid. If we send them foodstuffs to fight famines, we merely relieve their governments from the necessity of abandoning their disastrous agricultural policies." - Money, Method, and the Market Process

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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Ludwig von MisesThe consumers suffer when the laws of the country prevent the most efficient entrepreneurs from expanding the sphere of their activities. What made some enterprises develop into big business was precisely their success in filling best the demand of the masses.Planned Chaos p. 22AntiTrust Laws
Ludwig von MisesThose politicians, professors and union bosses who curse big business are fighting for a lower standard of living.Theory and History p. 147AntiTrust Laws
Ludwig von MisesAll attempts to create a substantive international law through whose application disputes among nations could be decided have miscarried.Nation, State, and Economy p. 90International Law
Ludwig von Mises[Y]ou simply cannot argue with nationalists. The Germans are fully convinced that compulsion applied by them to other nations is fair and just, while compulsion applied to themselves is criminal.Omnipotent Government pp. 25758International Law
Ludwig von MisesNo international authority can preserve peace if economic wars continue. In our age of international division of labor, free trade is the prerequisite for any amicable arrangement between nations. And free trade is impossible in a world of etatism.Omnipotent Government p. 6International Law
Ludwig von MisesLiberalism, which demands full freedom of the economy, seeks to dissolve the difficulties that the diversity of political arrangements pits against the development of trade by separating the economy from the state. It strives for the greatest possible unification of law, in the last analysis for world unity of law. But it does not believe that to reach this goal, great empires or even a world empire must be created.Nation, State, and Economy pp. 3738Law
Ludwig von MisesNo wonder that all who have had something new to offer humanity have had nothing good to say of the state or its laws!Liberalism p. 58Law
Ludwig von MisesThe total complex of the rules according to which those at the helm employ compulsion and coercion is called law. Yet the characteristic feature of the state is not these rules, as such, but the application or threat of violence.Omnipotent Government p. 46Law
Ludwig von MisesThe moral precepts and the laws of the country are means by which men seek to attain certain ends. Whether or not these ends can really be attained this way depends on the laws of the universe. The man-made laws are suitable if they are fit to attain these ends and contrary to purpose if they are not. They are open to examination from the point of view of their suitableness or unsuitableness.Human Action p. 756; pp. 761-62Law
Ludwig von MisesWhat counts is not the letter of the law but the substantive content of the legal norm.Nation, State, and Economy p. 173Law
Ludwig von MisesWhat elevates man above all other animals is the cognition that peaceful cooperation under the principle of the division of labor is a better method to preserve life and to remove felt uneasiness than indulging in pitiless biological competition for a share in the scarce means of subsistence provided by nature. Guided by this insight, man alone among all living beings consciously aims at substituting social cooperation for what philosophers have called the state of nature or bellum omnium contra omnes or the law of the jungle.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 97Law of the Jungle
Ludwig von MisesThe State is the only institution entitled to apply coercion and compulsion and to inflict harm upon individuals. This tremendous power cannot be abandoned to the discretion of some men, however competent and clever they may deem themselves. It is necessary to restrict its application. This is the task of the laws.Bureaucracy p. 76Rule of Law
Ludwig von MisesThe alternative to the rule of law is the rule of despots.Bureaucracy p. 76Rule of Law
Ludwig von MisesIt is the social function of the laws to curb the arbitrariness of the police. The rule of law restricts the arbitrariness of the officers as much as possible. It strictly limits their discretion and thus assigns to the citizens a sphere in which they are free to act without being frustrated by government interference.Planned Chaos pp. 6364Rule of Law
Ludwig von MisesIt is the rule of law alone which hinders the rulers from turning themselves into the worst gangsters.Planned Chaos p. 64Rule of Law
Ludwig von MisesClassical liberalism regarded those laws best that afforded the least discretionary power to executive authorities, thus avoiding arbitrariness and abuse. The modern state seeks to expand its discretionary powereverything is to be left to the discretion of officials.A Critique of Interventionism pp. 3132Rule of Law
Ludwig von MisesWith regard to economic goods there can never be absolute overproduction.Planning for Freedom p. 65Says Law
Ludwig von MisesWith regard to economic goods there can be only relative overproduction. . . . The attempts to explain the general depression of trade by referring to an allegedly general overproduction are therefore fallacious.Planning for Freedom p. 65Says Law
Ludwig von MisesSay emerged victoriously from his polemics with Malthus and Sismondi. He proved his case, while adversaries could not prove theirs. Henceforth, during the whole rest of the nineteenth century, the acknowledgement of the truth contained in Says Law was the distinctive mark of an economist.Planning for Freedom p. 67Says Law
Ludwig von MisesKeynes did not refute Says Law. He rejected it emotionally, but he did not advance a single tenable argument to invalidate its rationale.Planning for Freedom p. 70Says Law