Interventionism: An Economic Analysis

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Ludwig von Mises was the leading exponent of the Austrian School of economics throughout most of the twentieth century. He has long been regarded as a most knowledgeable and respected economist, even though his teachings were generally outside the mainstream. He wrote twenty-five books and hundreds of articles on human action, free markets, and political economy.

In Interventionism, Mises criticizes government interference in the market: regulations, wage and price controls, tariffs, special privileges, and subsidies for some at the expense of others. He points out that although enacted with the best of intentions, such government interventions lead to conditions that even their advocates consider worse than those they were trying to alleviate in the first place. Although Mises has made these arguments elsewhere, in this volume he does so especially clearly, concisely, and thoroughly.

Rather than argue against specific instances of interventionism, Mises examines the totality of interventionist policy and its long-term effects on the economy. With that as his base, he outlines the inevitable political and social consequences that result from such policy. As he says in his conclusion, "Mankind has a choice only between the unhampered market economy, democracy, and freedom on the one side, and socialism and dictatorship on the other side. A third alternative, an interventionist compromise, is not feasible."

Formerly a resident scholar, trustee, and longtime staff member of the Foundation for Economic Education, Bettina Bien Greaves has written and lectured extensively on topics of free market economics. Her articles have appeared in such journals as Human Events, Reason, and The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty. A student of Mises, Greaves has become an expert on his work in particular and that of the Austrian School of economics in general. She has translated several Mises monographs, compiled an annotated bibliography of his work, and edited collections of papers by Mises and other members of the Austrian School.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865977396
  • Publisher: Liberty Fund, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/31/2011
  • Series: Lib Works Ludwig Von Mises PB Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 122
  • Sales rank: 1,042,278
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Author's Preface xiii


1 The Problem 1

2 Capitalism or Market Economy 2

3 The Socialist Economy 6

4 The Capitalist State and the Socialist State 9

5 The Interventionist State 10

6 The Plea for Moral Reform 13

I Interference by Restriction

1 The Nature of Restrictive Measures 19

2 Costs and Benefits of Restrictive Measures 20

3 The Restrictive Measure as a Privilege 21

4 Restrictive Measures as Expenditures 22

II Interference by Price Control

1 The Alternative: Statutory Law versus Economic Law 24

2 The Reaction of the Market 27

3 Minimum Wages and Unemployment 31

4 The Political Consequences of Unemployment 34

III Inflation and Credit Expansion

1 Inflation 37

2 Credit Expansion 41

3 Foreign Exchange Control 47

4 The Flight of Capital and the Problem of "Hot Money" 49

IV Confiscation and Subsidies

1 Confiscation 53

2 The Procurement of Funds for Public Expenditure 55

3 Unprofitable Public Works and Subsidies 58

4 "Altruistic" Entrepreneurship 60

V Corporativism and Syndicalism

1 Corporativism 62

2 Syndicalism 66

VI War Economy

1 War and the Market Economy 69

2 Total War and War Socialism 70

3 Market Economy and National Defense 73

VII The Economic, Social, and Political Consequences of Interventionism

1 The Economic Consequences 78

2 Parliamentary Government and Interventionism 81

3 Freedom and the Economic System 83

4 The Great Delusion 86

5 The Source of Hitler's Success 88

VIII Conclusions 93

Reading References 97

Index 99

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