87 Ludwig von Mises Quotes and sayings

Ludwig von Mises was a 20th-century economist who was known for his work in the Austrian School of economic thought. His contributions to economics and social science include an explanation of the business cycle, calculation problem, theory of money and credit, the socialist calculation debate, and he also made some philosophical contributions as well. His theories are still studied today by many economists, especially those who reject Keynesian economics. Here are some Ludwig von Mises quotes for your reading pleasure.

“The worst evils which mankind has ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments.”

“Economic history is a long record of government policies that failed because they were designed with a bold disregard for the laws of economics”

“The main political problem is how to prevent the police power from becoming tyrannical. This is the meaning of all the struggles for liberty.”

“Government cannot make man richer, but it can make him poorer.”

“The root of the evil is not the construction of new, more dreadful weapons. It is the spirit of conquest.”

“Whoever wishes peace among peoples must fight statism.”

ludwig von mises quotes on socialism

“Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.”


“For it is an essential difference between capitalist and socialist production that under capitalism men provide for themselves, while under Socialism they are provided for.”

“Capitalism and socialism are two distinct patterns of social organization. Private control of the means of production and public control are contradictory notions and not merely contrary notions. There is no such thing as a mixed economy, a system that would stand midway between capitalism and socialism.”

“In the bureaucratic machine of socialism the way toward promotion is not achievement but the favor of the superiors.”

“Liberalism and capitalism address themselves to the cool, well-balanced mind. They proceed by strict logic, eliminating any appeal to the emotions. Socialism, on the contrary, works on the emotions, tries to violate logical considerations by rousing a sense of personal interest and to stifle the voice of reason by awakening primitive instincts.”

“A society that chooses between capitalism and socialism does not choose between two social systems; it chooses between social cooperation and the disintegration of society. Socialism is not an alternative to capitalism; it is an alternative to any system under which men can live as human beings.”

Best of Ludwig von Mises Quotes

“Depressions and mass unemployment are not caused by the free market but by government interference in the economy.”

“Innovators and creative geniuses cannot be reared in schools. They are precisely the men who defy what the school has taught them.”

“Inequality of wealth and incomes is an essential feature of the market economy. It is the implement that makes the consumers supreme in giving them the power to force all those engaged in production to comply with their orders. It forces all those engaged in production to the utmost exertion in the service of the consumers. It makes competition work. He who best serves the consumers profits most and accumulates riches.”

“The unpopularity of economics is the result of its analysis of the effects of privileges. It is impossible to invalidate the economists demonstration that all privileges hurt the interests of the rest of the nation or at least a great part of it.”

“Freedom is indivisible. As soon as one starts to restrict it, one enters upon a decline on which it is difficult to stop.”

“If one rejects laissez faire on account of mans fallibility and moral weakness, one must for the same reason also reject every kind of government action.”

“Capitalism needs neither propaganda nor apostles. Its achievements speak for themselves. Capitalism delivers the goods.”

“Only stilted pedants can conceive the idea that there are absolute norms to tell what is beautiful and what is not. They try to derive from the works of the past a code of rules with which, as they fancy, the writers and artists of the future should comply. But the genius does not cooperate with the pundit.”

“There is, in fact, only one solution: the state, the government, the laws must not in any way concern themselves with schooling or education. Public funds must not be used for such purposes. The rearing and instruction of youth must be left entirely to parents and to private associations and institutions”

“The so-called liberals of today have the very popular idea that freedom of speech, of thought, of the press, freedom of religion, freedom from imprisonment without trial-that all these freedoms can be preserved in the absence of what is called economic freedom. They do not realize that, in a system where there is no market, where the government directs everything, all those other freedoms are illusory, even if they are made into laws and written up in constitutions.”

“Whoever wants peace among nations must seek to limit the state and its influence most strictly.”

“A citizen who casts his ballot without having to the best of his abilities studied as much economics as he can fails in his civic duties.”

“The philosophy of protectionism is a philosophy of war.”

“Liberty is meaningless if it is only the liberty to agree with those in power.”

“Society has arisen out of the works of peace; the essence of society is peacemaking. Peace and not war is the father of all things.”

“All attempts to coerce the living will of human beings into the service of something they do not want must fail”

“Manufacturing and commercial monopolies owe their origin not to a tendency imminent in a capitalist economy but to governmental interventionist policy directed against free trade and laissez faire.”

“It has always been the task of the new generation to provoke changes.”

“Laissez faire does not mean: let soulless mechanical forces operate. It means: let individuals choose how they want to cooperate in the social division of labor and let them determine what the entrepreneurs should produce.”

“Public works are not accomplished by the miraculous power of a magic wand. They are paid for by funds taken away from the citizens.”

“The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster.”

“Economic knowledge necessarily leads to liberalism”

“Progressive taxation of income and profits means that precisely those parts of the income which people would have saved and invested are taxed away”

“The real bosses in the capitalist system of market economy are the consumers. They by their buying and by their abstention from buying decide who should own the capital and run the plants. They determine what should be produced and in what quantity and quality. Their attitudes result either in profit or in loss for the enterpriser. They make poor men rich and rich men poor. They are no easy bosses.”

“No people and no part of a people shall be held against its will in a political association that it does not want.”

“Rulers do not like to admit that their power is restricted by any laws other than those of physics and biology. They never ascribe their failures and frustrations to the violation of economic law.”

“Human civilization is not something achieved against nature; it is rather the outcome of the working of the innate qualities of man.”

“Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.”

“The desire for an increase of wealth can be satisfied through exchange, which is the only method possible in a capitalist economy, or by violence and petition as in a militarist society, where the strong acquire by force, the weak by petitioning.”

“Mankind does not drink alcohol because there are breweries, distilleries, and vineyards; men brew beer, distill spirits, and grow grapes because of the demand for alcoholic drinks.”

“The issue is always the same: the government or the market. There is no third solution.”

“If men do not now succeed in abolishing war, civilization and mankind are doomed.”

“Continued adherence to a policy of compulsory education is utterly incompatible with efforts to establish lasting peace.”

“Only one thing can conquer war-that attitude of mind which can see nothing in war but destruction and annihilation…”

“Civilization is a work of peaceful co-operation.”

“No very deep knowledge of economics is usually needed for grasping the immediate effects of a measure; but the task of economics is to foretell the remoter effects, and so to allow us to avoid such acts as attempt to remedy a present ill by sowing the seeds of a much greater ill for the future.”

“The real bosses, in the capitalist system of market economy, are the consumers.”

“The program of classical liberalism, condensed into a single word, would have to read: property.”

“Used to the conditions of a capitalistic environment, the average American takes it for granted that every year business makes something new and better accessible to him. Looking backward upon the years of his own life, he realizes that many implements that were totally unknown in the days of his youth and many others which at that time could be enjoyed only by a small minority are now standard equipment of almost every household.”

“The worship of the state is the worship of force. There is no more dangerous menace to civilization than a government of incompetent, corrupt, or vile men. The worst evils which mankind ever had to endure were inflicted by governments.”

“The interventionists do not approach the study of economic matters with scientific disinterestedness. Most of them are driven by an envious resentment against those whose incomes are larger than their own. This bias makes it impossible for them to see things as they really are. For them the main thing is not to improve the conditions of the masses, but to harm the entrepreneurs and capitalists even if this policy victimizes the immense majority of the people.”

“Economics is not about things and tangible material objects; it is about men, their meanings and actions.”

“The study of economics has been again and again led astray by the vain idea that economics must proceed according to the pattern of other sciences.”

“True, governments can reduce the rate of interest in the short run. They can issue additional paper money. They can open the way to credit expansion by the banks. They can thus create an artificial boom and the appearance of prosperity. But such a boom is bound to collapse soon or late and to bring about a depression.”

“The most serious dangers for American freedom and the American way of life do not come from without.”

“The continued existence of society depends upon private property.”

“State interference in economic life, which calls itself economic policy, has done nothing but destroy economic life. Prohibitions and regulations have by their general obstructive tendency fostered the growth of the spirit of wastefulness.”

“Those fighting for free enterprise and free competition do not defend the interests of those rich today. They want a free hand left to unknown men who will be the entrepreneurs of tomorrow…”

“If history could teach us anything, it would be that private property is inextricably linked with civilization.”

“The flowering of human society depends on two factors: the intellectual power of outstanding men to conceive sound social and economic theories, and the ability of these or other men to make these ideologies palatable to the majority.”

“The alcoholic and the drug addict harm only themselves by their behavior; the person who violates the rules of morality governing mans life in society harms not only himself, but everyone.”

“All people, however fanatical they may be in their zeal to disparage and to fight capitalism, implicitly pay homage to it by passionately clamoring for the products it turns out”

“Many who are self-taught far excel the doctors, masters, and bachelors of the most renowned universities.”

“Spontaneous actions of individuals, aiming at nothing else than at the improvement of their own state of satisfaction, undermined the prestige of the coercive status system step by step.”

“Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life that can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the means for all our ends.”

“Nobody ever recommended a dictatorship aiming at ends other than those he himself approved. He who advocates dictatorship always advocates the unrestricted rule of his own will”

“If some peoples pretend that history or geography gives them the right to subjugate other races, nations, or peoples, there can be no peace.”

“Both force and money are impotent against ideas.”

“Government is essentially the negation of liberty.”

“The main achievement of economics is that it has provided a theory of peaceful human cooperation. This is why the harbingers of violent conflict have branded it as a dismal science and why this age of wars, civil wars, and destruction has no use for it.”

“It is extremely difficult for our contemporaries to conceive of the conditions of free banking because they take government interference with banking for granted and as necessary.”

“The meaning of economic freedom is this: that the individual is in a position to choose the way in which he wants to integrate himself into the totality of society.”

“What counts alone is the innovator, the dissenter, the harbinger of things unheard of, the man who rejects the traditional standards and aims at substituting new values and ideas for old ones.”

“Human action is purposeful behavior.”

Ludwig von Mises Quotes

“Human action is purposeful behavior.”

“Government is the only institution that can take a valuable commodity like paper, and make it worthless by applying ink.”

“We owe the origin and development of human society and, consequently, of culture and civilization, to the fact that work performed under the division of labor is more productive than when performed in isolation.”

“Man is not, like the animals, an obsequious puppet of instincts and sensual impulses. Man has the power to suppress instinctive desires, he has a will of his own, he chooses between incompatible ends.”

“He who is unfit to serve his fellow citizens wants to rule them.”

“Under capitalism everybody is the architect of his own fortune.”

“Governments, political parties, pressure groups, and the bureaucrats of the educational hierarchy think they can avoid the inevitable consequences of unsuitable measures by boycotting and silencing the independent economists. But truth persists and works, even if nobody is left to utter it.”

“War prosperity is like the prosperity that an earthquake or a plague brings…but no one has for those reasons yet sought to celebrate earthquakes and cholera as stimulators of the productive forces in the general interest.”

“Nobody can be at the same time a correct bureaucrat and an innovator”

“Do not give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it.”

“The market is not a place, a thing, or a collective entity. It is a process.”

“This, then, is freedom in the external life of man-that he is independent of the arbitrary power of his fellows.”

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