HUMAN ACTION: A TREATISE ON ECONOMICS Paperback – Feb 16 2010
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About the Author
Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was a preeminent philosopher and economist during the twentieth century. He shared an intellectual friendship with literary giant Ayn Rand, and his theorems and philosophies have continued to influence the careers and ideas of politicians and economists alike.
Top Customer Reviews
This book is at odds with the current mainstream of academia mainly because of its first principles. Mises sought to understand social orders on the basis of individual human action. The individualistic approach of von Mises puts him at odds with most academics outside of the economics profession. Notions of a collective will or purpose and individual irrationality still have much credibility among sociologists, anthropologists, political scientists, and other academics outside of economics. It is at odds with what many economists do for different reasons. Human action means perceiving ones current condition, imagining a better state of affairs, and acting to attain this state. This he separates from animal reactions or reflexes. The authors own purpose here is to escape determinism and its consequences. Economists who rigidly insist upon casting all economics in systems of mathematical equations do so without realizing that they have accepted a deterministic straightjacket. Other academics tend to be on the same page with Mises, in his rejection of deterministic math modeling. Mainstream economists who criticize Mises on these grounds tend to do so for pathetic reasons having to do with the fallacy of style.Read more ›
I would take Rothbard's praise further. This is not only the single most important economic tome ever, but also the most pathbreaking, definitive exposition of praxeology, the correct basis for social sciences and also necessarily the foundation for epistemology. Only a few living economists of the "Austrian" school of economics seem to have truly absorbed the true praxeological methodology forged by Mises.
Mises' contribution to economics cannot be understated. In basing economics on the axiomatic status of action, Mises established the ultimate foundation for economic science. The fact that humans act -- that is, human beings *act* purposively to reach subjectively chosen ends -- is, of course, irrefutable (to argue against the axiom of action is itself an action). This, however, may seem like a trivial observation. Humans act, big deal? Why is it so important? Its importance is in praxeological economics' methodology deductive chains of reasoning to realize the implications. In understanding what is implied by action - values, ends, means, choice, cost, preference, profit, and loss - economic science can be deduced logically, so it is a purely an a priori science where economic laws tell describe apodictically true relationships in the real world.Read more ›
Von Mises, Hayek and Menger (among others) were diametrically opposed to a "middle way" between statism (socialism/fascism) and capitalism for one simple reason: Statism, once introduced, becomes the dominant force and eventually wins the contest since in a centrally-run economy all economic decisions become political ones.
Von Mises struggled his whole life to develop general rules for economic activity. There was (and is) a gray area in which economic theory and economic reality coexist in an uneasy relationship. Despite von Mises assertion that economics was basically a theoretical science - as opposed to physics or chemistry where axioms could be physically proven - he continued to maintain that economics was a rational science based upon human needs.
It is this latter point that exalts his work. For perhaps the first time since Adam Smith he set about demonstrating that Capitalism is the economic system most conducive to human nature, how it makes the most sense from a "human" point of view of wants and needs and rewards and - most important - how it delivers the goods and affects material life.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
The classic work by Mises. At a little over a thousand pages, the series of 4 books (including one which is only a glossary and an index) the work covers all the subjects of... Read morePublished on April 17 2009 by Nicolas M. Kirchberger
That much can be said of this great work. I will now address Walt Byars' criticisms of the Positive Theory of Time Preference (PTTP). Read morePublished on July 8 2004 by Reader
This is one of the great texts in Economics, philosophy, or any field for that matter.
However, there are some serious flaws that need to be dealt with. Read more
Simply the best, most comprehensive study of human action ever recorded. It is grounded in rational axioms and constructs an encompassing worldview around them.Published on March 7 2004 by Pyrrho
As shown by the reviews below, Human Action is the object of a libertarian cult, and regarded by some right-wingers as the greatest economic text of the 20th century (if not of all... Read morePublished on Oct. 27 2003
The Wall Street Jounral said it best with "-ought be on the shelf of every thinking man".Published on June 2 2003 by Amazon Customer
That is surely where Von Mises is - conversing amiably with the gods in his masterful, rational, clear and refined manner. The man was a wonder himself. Read morePublished on March 26 2003 by Avid Reader
A masterful volume. The breadth and scope of this work leaves one breathless. Oh, if only the world would read and understand this - we'd all be better off...Published on Feb. 5 2003 by S. OCALLAGHAN
I find Ludwig von Mises to be a tragic figure. Why?
1. He expresses himself in direct and to the point language; when speaking of syndicalism, "in short, it is... Read more