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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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Ludwig von MisesIn nature there is nothing that could be called freedom. Nature is inexorable necessity.Planning for Freedom p. 215Nature
Ludwig von MisesIn nature there prevail irreconcilable conflicts of interest. The means of subsistence are scarce. Proliferation tends to outrun subsistence. Only the fittest plants and animals survive. The antagonism between an animal starving to death and another that snatches the food away from it is implacable.Human Action pp. 273-74; p. 273Nature
Ludwig von MisesThe natural condition of man is extreme poverty and insecurity. It is romantic nonsense to lament the passing of the happy days of primitive barbarism.Human Action p. 165; p. 165Nature
Ludwig von MisesNature is not bountiful but stingy. It has restricted the supply of all things indispensable for the preservation of human life.The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality p. 81Nature
Ludwig von MisesMen, cooperating under the system of the division of labor, have created all the wealth which the daydreamers consider as a free gift of nature.The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality p. 81Nature
Ludwig von MisesFor the primary task of reason is to cope consciously with the limitations imposed upon man by nature, to fight against scarcity.Human Action p. 237; p. 236Nature
Ludwig von MisesHe who does not know how to safeguard his equilibrium when surrounded by motorcycles and telephones will not find it in the jungle or desert.A Critique of Interventionism p. 130Nature
Ludwig von MisesLove of nature and appreciation of the beauties of the landscape were foreign to the rural population. The inhabitants of the cities brought them to the countryside. It was the city-dwellers who began to appreciate the land as nature.Human Action p. 641; p. 645Nature
Ludwig von MisesPrimitive man was always haunted by the specter of death from starvation. Civilization has freed us from these perils.Human Action p. 600; p. 602Nature
Ludwig von MisesNot shepherds, but sophisticated aristocrats and city-dwellers were the authors of bucolic poetry. Daphnis and Chlo are creations of fancies far removed from earthy concerns. No less removed from the soil is the modern political myth of the soil. It did not blossom from the moss of the forests and the loam of the fields, but from the pavements of the cities and the carpets of the salons.Human Action p. 641; p. 645Nature
Ludwig von MisesIn Nature too, much may exist that we do not like. But we cannot change the essential character of natural events. If, for example, someone thinks — and there are some who have maintained as much — that the way in which man ingests his food, digests it, and incorporates it into his body is disgusting, one cannot argue the point with him. One must say to him: There is only this way or starvation.Liberalism p. 88Nature