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Advancing Austrian Economics, Liberty, and Peace

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What Happened at the Mises University 2006

Mises Daily: Tuesday, August 15, 2006 by

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The faculty and especially the students at the Mises University would like to thank you for supporting what might be the finest and most successful teaching event we've held since our founding.

The quality of the students was sky high, the faculty taught with a precision and passion, the learning that took place was the stuff of which revolutions are made. Everyone was super energized by the whole experience.

Just think: Ludwig von Mises dreamed of a setting where top students could learn economics from the ground up and study under the leading experts in the Austrian tradition. He believed that such a setting was more important than all political organizing, because ideas are more powerful than armies.

Thirty-three years after his death, just such a setting was in full display. There were students here from all over America and the world, evenly divided between undergraduates and graduate students. They are all top of the class, and they made it through a highly selective application process.

What inspires them to come to Auburn, Alabama in the summer to study economics? It is the idealism and rigor of the school of thought represented by Mises and his students. Here we have economic science bolstered by a love of liberty and enlivened by the hope of a better world.

Murray Rothbard saw this program as the great hope for the future. How right he was.

The conference was riveted by a Wall Street Journal feature on the Mises Institute that appeared the last day of the conference. It said, in part:

At the heart of Austrian economics is a skepticism of powerful, central authority. And Southerners have always been distrustful of government. … The institute's location also says something about the quality and depth of American intellectual life. America is lampooned as philistine in many quarters, especially in Europe, yet its bastions of learning are not limited to its Gothams. Having such an outfit so far away from the usual urban hubs is itself a rejection of the central planning and authority that Ludwig von Mises spent his life fighting. He might never have visited Auburn, but something tells me that he wouldn't have put this institute any other place.

Excellent points, all. But it also says something about the students who study here. People say that students today are not interested in systematic programs that require patience and precision. They want their education the way their want their video games, or so we are told. But this is not true for all of them, and this year's students proved it.

This program begins with the most difficult subjects on the foundational principles: what economics is and why it matters. Then it moves systematically to money and banking, capital and interest, monopoly and competition, and so on. Then it covers applied topics like socialism, law, business cycles, environmentalism, and war.

Altogether the program offered more than 60 sessions that permitted students to choose among a variety of research programs. Amidst praise higher than we've ever heard, the only complaint we received was that students could not attend every session because many ran simultaneously.

A tremendous amount of preparation time is necessary or else students could easily fall behind. They can take rigorous oral examinations and face the prospect of failure, passing, or honors. All of this takes brains, courage, and stamina. This year we were able to offer the cash French Prize, for the best student. The drama and pressure was quite intense!

But for those who are accepted and do the work, no experience is as intellectually rewarding. What special students we have. They are the cream of the crop, the people who will make a difference in our future.

Even after an exhausting dawn-to-dusk program, students and faculty were still discussing economic theory and policy in informal sessions at dinner and in social hours. The final barbecue showed a high level of camaraderie.

Economics is not the only subject covered. The program also dealt with history, philosophy, and law, as a way of showing that economics cannot be considered in isolation from life and society. All told, this is a powerful package, and it has to be in order to displace the parade of fallacies that students are subjected to in today's colleges and universities.

While it is true that only those accepted can attend, we never want to miss an opportunity to get the word out. So we broadcast every lecture. You could hear them all live, from Seattle to Beijing. Indeed, we received emails of thanks from Russia, Spain, Argentina, and beyond.

With technology and dedication, what amazing things can be accomplished with the support of those who love freedom. At first it seems small, like a bit of savings put away each month, but at the end of all these years, we have much to be pleased about. With thousands of graduates, the Austrian School now has a large and growing presence in the world of ideas.

The future is very bright indeed. To know it, you would only have had to spend a few minutes with the students who have been with us this summer. They know that with the Mises Institute, they have a structure of support that will be there throughout their lives.

Completing a Ph.D. and entering academia requires that students set aside the normal advantages of a career, and pursue an ideal. Their solace — and it is a great one — is in the truth they teach, and the good they do, now and for generations to come. It is their calling, their vocation.

We must be there for them. We don't need government to assist us. In fact, we don't want its "help." We only want the freedom to do our work and the freedom for you to assist us in it with an investment in the future.

Please help us with a contribution  to make next year's Mises University better than ever. We want to bring in many more good students, continue to broadcast all the proceedings around the world on video and audio, and teach everyone the values and ideas we share. We want to strike an even more powerful blow against statism. We want to train and motivate the leaders of the future. This is how we can ensure the survival, and the eventual victory, of liberty.

Please make an investment in economic truth, in these extraordinary students, and in the future of freedom itself.


P.S. Here are just some of the comments from this year:

  • "This was my first experience at the Mises Institute, and it was everything and more than I expected. It is really overwhelming but ideal in its structure and environment. I can't wait to come back!" – Pam Buzzetta, Washington University in St. Louis

  • "This is an entirely worthwhile cause to support, as the surest hope for the world are the principles of liberty embodied in the work of the Mises Institute." – Shawn Lazar, Free University, Amsterdam

  • "Thank you for giving me this great experience." – Manny Glover, Georgia Tech

  • "I've been so happy to participate in this. Not wanting to miss any discussions, I've been awake about 20 hours per day! I strongly recommend this program." – Karen Kaczorowski, University of Texas, Austin

  • "Note to Mises Institute members: this is the best donation you have ever made. The Mises University is challenging, rewarding, and perfect in every way." – Philip Ruijs, Radboud University, Nijmegen

  • "The Mises University is the Mecca of Austro-libertarianism. Thanks so much for the opportunity to study under the brightest libertarian thinkers of our age." – David Lalama, Instituto Para la Libertad, Ecuador

  • "This was the most fun and enthusiasm possible while working super hard and sleeping as little as possible. To prospective students: you will gain far more than you can ever expect to gain." – Angelo Mike, Marymount University

  • "This was so well organized that I see no room for improvement. I'm very thankful that I was able to attend." – Manuel Frojan, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela

  • "This is a great institute. Come prepared. And prepare to work and love learning." – David Hannibal, Christian Heritage School

  • "Judging from my experience, you cannot support a more worthy institution." – Nelson Brunsting, University of Wellington, New Zealand.

  • "Thank you for making this great seminar possible!" – Michaël Bauwens, University of Ghent, Belgium

  • "Super fantastic! Here is a noble cause and a wonderful program." – Sakari Puisto, University of Cambridge

  • "What an intellectual adventure! It should be much longer." – Marcin Zielinski, University of Wroclaw, Poland.

  • "A brilliant faculty and top students from all over the world: this is the way to shape minds." – Changwe Kumalinga, Bellevue University

  • "I want to thank all those who made this possible. Every student in economics should attend the Mises University." – Anamaria Berea, Academy of Economic Sciences, Bucharest