Published for the first time together in one volume is Ludwig von Mises’s Notes and Recollections with The Historical Setting of the Austrian School of Economics. Written between 1940 and 1941, shortly after he arrived in the United States, Notes and Recollections is in effect Mises’s pre-1940 intellectual autobiography. This work reveals how Mises developed his theories, wrote his books, lectured, and taught; it describes his life in Vienna and the people with whom he worked. He also discusses his activities as an adviser to Austrian government officials and his frustrations in attempting to keep inflation and communist and Nazi ideas from destroying the Austrian economy. The Historical Setting of the Austrian School of Economics is an essay originally published in English in 1969 that reveals Mises’s intellectual development in the context of the origins of the Austrian School. It serves as a good introduction to the theory and history of the Austrian School. As Mises explains in these two works, his viewpoint that modern economics is based on subjective value and marginal-utility theory separated him from classical economists such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill.
Notes and Recollections is, in part, an autobiography, a purely intellectual one written at the conclusion of Ludwig von Mises' European career. It was written in 1940 upon his arrival in the United States. Unlike many other autobiographies that dwell on the writer's background and family relations, this book hinges on Mises' intellectual development, and his role in the realm of social and economic thought. Disappointed by the intellectual decline and despairing of the future of European civilization, he penned his memoirs in sadness and bitterness. They are a splendid record of a farsighted observer of the darkness that had descended over Europe.
Ludwig von Mises
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.