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In addition, Kirzner makes clear that the importance of Ludwig von Mises is not limited to the realm of economics. Mises exercised enormous influence on the thought of libertarians, classical liberals, anticommunists, and even traditionalist conservatives during the postwar years. For Mises, the tenets of classical liberal political theory corresponded profoundly with the fundamental truths of economics. And yet he was no ideologue; a stalwart defender of the possibility and importance of wertfrei (value-free) science, his dedication was always first and foremost to discovering truthsand destroying falsehoodswithin the discipline of economics.
Economic truths, Mises argued, could not be ignored in utopian attempts to use the power of the state to bring about perfect economic justice or equality. In refreshingly lucid terms, Kirzner describes Mises’ original achievements in explaining the logic of entrepreneurship and dynamic competition, as well as his contributions to monetary theory, the theory of interest rates, and the theory of the business cycle. Even more importantly, Kirzner shows how Mises was able to relate abstract economic theory to concrete problems of public policy.
This volume is the second installment in ISI Books’ Library of Modern Thinkers series. A noteworthy free-market economist in his own right, Israel Kirzner was Mises’ doctoral student and protégé at New York University. The personal warmth and understanding that Kirzner has for his book’s subject make it an unusually lively read. This is a book for all students of economics, as well as anyone looking for a deeper understanding of twentieth-century political and social thought.