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The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality [Paperback]

Ludwig Von Mises
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 6 2009
2009 Reprint of original 1956 edition. Paperback, 114pp. Mises wrote and lectured extensively on behalf of classical liberalism and is seen as one of the leaders of the Austrian School of economics. Mises introduced praxeology as a more general conceptual foundation of the social sciences and established that economic laws were only arrived at through the means of methodological individualism firmly rejecting positivism and materialism as a foundation for the social sciences. Many of his works were on two related economic themes:1. Monetary economics and inflation; 2. The differences between government controlled economies and free trade.

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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant July 29 2002
THE ANTI-CAPITALISTIC MENTALITY is an outstanding little book by Ludwig von Mises which explains why Capitalism - which has raised the standard of living of so many people - is hated by so many.
We often think of von Mises as a great economist (which he certainly was), but Mises considered his work to be "sociology" as well. However, his writings are full of brilliant sociological commentary on any number of subjects. Take the chapter "The Non-Economic Objections to Capitalism." How often people criticize Capitalism for its alleged "materialism." But listen to Mises: "The preeminent art of this age of . . . 'materialism' was music. Wagner and Verdi, Berlioz and Bizet, Brahms and Bruckner, Hugo Wolf and Mahler . . . ." [p. 61.] And this music was written before the record permitted the great masters to be enjoyed by the common man, who could never hob-nob with aristocracy at the great music halls of the world.
In addition to this type of sociology, sprinkled throughout the book are concise economic lessons about how the increase in capital is the cause of higher wages, not unions and socialist schemes. So this book is a useful introduction to Mises' thought.
Although this book is important, if you want to understand the greatness of Mises, read: HUMAN ACTION, SOCIALISM, and THEORY OF MONEY AND CREDIT. Also, Prof. Kirzner's book on Mises is an outstanding introduction.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless classic Sept. 9 2006
This little classic is still relevant today although certain things have changed for the better since it was first published in 1956. Much of what has improved is due to the age of Thatcher and Reagan and technological advances, in particular the Internet. The book investigates the anti-capitalistic mentality from a psychological, sociological and economic perspective. Everything that Mises identified is still prevalent amongst that mindset today although the mental virus has mutated since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Empire.

The first part explains the features of capitalism with reference to the sovereign consumer and the process of economic improvement. It also exposes the roots of the hostility towards the free market from various quarters. For example, entrenched elites hate the merit principle. Mises also looks at the animosity on the part of intellectuals, white-collar workers and Hollywood/Broadway entertainers.

Part Two discusses capitalism as seen by the ordinary person, considering the influence of the intelligentsia and celebrities. Ignorance and the emotions of envy and the hatred are the driving forces behind the anti-capitalistic mentality. The erroneous idea that one person's gain must be another's loss is still very prevalent today. The market is often demonized for the results of state intervention against its unfettered operation. In other words, the critics do not understand cause and effect or they do but deliberately distort the facts.

Literature Under Capitalism is the title of the third section, in which Mises analyses success on the book market, the popularity of detective stories, the bigotry of the literati, plus social novels and plays.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Basics with an attitude Jan. 29 2003
As you read this book, the ideas will seem somewhat familiar and convincing - they are all intuitive, all common sense. Von Mises has a way of re-wrapping these ideas in a brash, cogent package that will entertain you, and maybe even shock you if you find his sarcastic delivery abrasive. This is as much fun as economics gets!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Results Dec 5 2012
By Patrick Sullivan TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Some areas of this book, the reader will be find themselves in full agreement. At the other times, the reader will not agree with Von Mises`s conclusions.

Von Mises attempts to explain, why so many people are against capitalism. In many cases he believes the politics of envy, propel people into being anti-capitalistic. I am sure in some cases this could be true. However, in the case of academics, I would disagree with this conclusion. The book was written in 1956, so a few things have changed. In the current environment, workers in the public sector on average earn more money, then their private sector counter parts. Back in 1956, this situation was the complete opposite. This new reality, also makes a compelling case for people to support socialism. The government employees are more then happy to support increased socialistic polices, because they themselves benefit.

This was a very short book, and well worth reading. However, the reader will find a few of the explanations to be incomplete. I believe Von Mises would have a had a few more aspects to review, had the book been written in 2012.
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0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars an abuse of reason April 2 2004
I thought that von Mises here is using the narrow minded dogmatism that he professes to be against. In omnipotent government he says that he is against polylogism, but this whole damn book was polylogic. He doesnt seem to allow for the possibility that socialists have mistaken ideas or just disagree on how society SHOULD be run, which is exactly the same thing that he blamed the socialists of. Mises morally was a utilitarian, and if he had taken the time to familiarize himself with the teachings of Bentham(the founder of utiliarianism), he probably knew Bentham was not the firm believer in the rule of law that von Mises professed to be. Bentham favored stuffing people into poor houses, so that they would be out of sight and out of mind. Of course, von Mises was included in the happiness for the great number, provided that he happened to be included in the greatest number and we could fudge the fact that the rule of law could be abandoned in pursuit of this endeavor.
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