Mises Quote of the Day
| Peter Klein |
Nothing can be known about such matters as inflation, economic crises, unemployment, unionism, protectionism, taxation, economic controls, and all similar issues, that does not involve and presuppose economic analysis. All the arguments advanced in favor of or against the market economy and its opposites, interventionism or socialism (communism), are of an economic character. A man who talks about these problems without having acquainted himself with the fundamental ideas of economic theory is simply a babbler who repeats parrotlike what he has picked up incidentally from other fellows who are not better informed than he himself.
This is from Mises’s introduction to the 1959 edition of Böhm-Bawerk’s massive 3-volume set, Capital and Interest. Mises gives some further admonitions: “A man not perfectly familiar with all the ideas advanced in these three volumes has no claim whatever to the appellation of an economist.” This is, shall we say, a minority view. And my personal favorite: “A citizen who casts his ballot without having studied to the best of his abilities as much economics as he can fails in his civic duties. He neglects using in the appropriate way the power that his citizenship has conferred upon him in giving him the right to vote.”
Those lacking time to study Capital and Interest in its entirety may enjoy this new edition of Böhm-Bawerk’s essay “Control or Economic Law,” which is more easily digested.