The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science
An Essay on Method
Автор(и) : Ludwig von Mises
Издател : Liberty Fund, Inc.
Място на издаване : Indianapolis, USA
Година на издаване : 2006
ISBN : 978-0-86597-639-9 PB
Брой страници : 124
Език : английски
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Written toward the end of Mises’s life, his last monograph, The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science, returned to economics as a science based on human action. Mises believed that, since the publication of Human Action, economists and scientists alike had misinterpreted the idea of economics as a science by deeming it epistemological positivism—that they believed that the “science” basis was still more rooted in philosophy than in actual science.
In this volume, Mises argued that economics is a science because human action is a natural order of life and that it is the actions of humans that determine markets and capital decisions. Since Mises believed these links could be proven scientifically, he concluded that economics, with its basis on that human action, is indeed a science in its own right and not an ideology or a metaphysical doctrine.
What has been described as his most passionate work, The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science brings together all of the themes from Mises’s previous works to proclaim what Israel Kirzner calls “the true character of economics.”
"The history of science is the record of the achievements of individuals who worked in isolation and, very often, met with indifference or even open hostility on the part of their contemporaries. You cannot write a history of science “without names.” What matters is the individual, not “team work.” One cannot “organize” or “institutionalize” the emergence of new ideas. A new idea is precisely an idea that did not occur to those who designed the organizational frame, that defies their plans, and may thwart their intentions. Planning other people’s actions means to prevent them from planning for themselves, means to deprive them of their essentially human quality, means enslaving them.
The great crisis of our civilization is the outcome of this enthusiasm for all-round planning. There have always been people prepared to restrict their fellow citizens’ right and power to choose their own conduct. The common man always looked askance upon all those who eclipsed him in any regard, and he advocated conformity, Gleichschaltung [“bringing into line, elimination of political opponents”]. What is new and characterizes our age is that the advocates of uniformity and conformity are raising their claims on behalf of science."
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.