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The Classical Tradition
Автор(и) : Ludwig von Mises
Издател : Liberty Fund, Inc.
Място на издаване : Indianapolis, USA
Година на издаване : 2005
ISBN : 978-0-86597-585-9 CL
Брой страници : 172
Език : английски
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The term "liberalism" comes from the Latin word liber meaning "free." Mises defines liberalism as "the liberal doctrine of the harmony of the rightly understood interests of all members of a free society founded on the principle of private ownership of the means of production." This book presents the theoretical and practical arguments for liberalism in the classical tradition.
The foundation of liberalism, Mises says, rests on an understanding and appreciation of private property, social cooperation, the freedom idea, ethics and morality, democracy, and the legitimate role of government. Liberalism is not a political party; it is a system of social organization. The liberal program aims at securing equality under law and freedom of opportunity for everyone to make their own choices and decisions, so long as they do not interfere with the equal rights of others; it offers no special privileges to anyone. Under liberalism, the role of government would be limited to protecting the lives, property, and freedom of its citizens to pursue their own ends and goals. Mises is more specific here than elsewhere in applying the liberal program to economic policy, domestic and foreign. Also in this book, Mises contrasts liberalism with other conceivable systems of social organization such as socialism, communism, and fascism.
“In the nineteenth century strong and violent opponents of liberalism sprang up who succeeded in wiping out a great part of what had been gained by the liberals. The world today wants to hear no more of liberalism. Outside England the term “liberalism” is frankly proscribed. In England, there are, to be sure, still “liberals,” but most of them are so in name only. In fact, they are rather moderate socialists. Everywhere today political power is in the hands of the antiliberal parties. The program of antiliberalism unleashed the forces that gave rise to the great World War and, by virtue of import and export quotas, tariffs, migration barriers, and similar measures, has brought the nations of the world to the point of mutual isolation. Within each nation it has led to socialist experiments whose result has been a reduction in the productivity of labor and a concomitant increase in want and misery. Whoever does not deliberately close his eyes to the facts must recognize everywhere the signs of an approaching catastrophe in world economy. Antiliberalism is heading toward a general collapse of civilization.
If one wants to know what liberalism is and what it aims at, one cannot simply turn to history for the information and inquire what the liberal politicians stood for and what they accomplished. For liberalism nowhere succeeded in carrying out its program as it had intended.”
Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (1881-1973) was the acknowledged leader of the Austrian School of economic thought, a prodigious originator in economic theory, and a prolific author. Mises’ writings and lectures encompassed economic theory, history, epistemology, government, and political philosophy. His contributions to economic theory include important clarifications on the quantity theory of money, the theory of the trade cycle, the integration of monetary theory with economic theory in general, and a demonstration that socialism must fail because it cannot solve the problem of economic calculation. Mises was the first scholar to recognize that economics is part of a larger science in human action, a science which Mises called “praxeology”. He taught at the University of Vienna and later at New York University. Mises wrote many works on two related economic themes: 1. monetary economics, inflation, and the role of government, and 2. the differences between government-controlled economies and free trade. His influential work on economic freedoms, their causes and consequences, brought him to highlight the interrelationships between economic and non-economic freedoms in societies, and the appropriate role for government.
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