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The Ludwig von Mises Institute

Advancing Austrian Economics, Liberty, and Peace

Advancing the scholarship of liberty in the tradition of the Austrian School

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Mises Made Easier
Percy L. Greaves Jr.

A

Abortive. Ineffective, implying failure before action has begun or been completed.

Absolutization. The act, state or condition of unlimited and unconditional power or sovereignty.

Acta Borussica, (Latin). The title given to the tomes containing a collection of official documents concerning the history of the Electorate of Brandenberg and the Kingdom of Prussia. Published by the Prussian Archives, these volumes were prepared under the supervision of Gustav von Schmoller (1838-1917), a leader of the Historical School (q.v.). NOTE: Borussica was the original name for the area that became Prussia.

Action directe, (French). Literally, direct action. The syndicalist Georges Sorel (1847-1922), rejecting the "peaceful" tactics of the socialist parties and labor unions, advocated a radical change in "working class" policies in the form of action directs, i.e., violent action aiming at the destruction of what was called the "bourgeois" system of economic management. See "Syndicalism."

AC. 109-10; S. 545.

Ad hoc, (Latin). For a particular purpose or occasion, usually specified.

Ad libitum, (Latin). Freely; at one's pleasure; as one wishes.

Adventitious. Extrinsic; not essentially inherent; arising from an external source not the essence of the subject; not naturally, normally or historically associated with the subject or event.

Age of Enlightenment. Pretty much the same period and development for which the "Age of Reason" is also used. It stretched roughly from John Locke (1632-1704) and Isaac Newton (1642-1727) to Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). During this period there was a great advance in all branches of human knowledge.

Age of Reason. The eighteenth century, particularly in England and France, when reason rather than emotion, intuition or superstition were presumed to have prevailed.

Agnosticism. The doctrine that refuses to accept the evidence of revelation and holds that it is impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God. Hence, any doctrine which holds the impossibility of any true knowledge, such as the doctrine that all knowledge is relative.

Alter ego, (Latin). Literally, "other I," another self. A fellow man considered as one who thinks and acts "as I, the Ego, do."

Anarchism. The idea that peaceful social cooperation can continue to exist without the institution of government, the social apparatus of coercion and compulsion.

FC. 36-37; HA.149; OG. 48; UF. 98-99

Anarchy. Lawlessness; condition of no government or ruling power.

S. 548.

Anarchy of production. A Marxian phrase for production in a nonsocialist society as, for. example, in a market economy.

PF. 104.

Anchorite. One who renounces the world and lives both a solitary and secluded life of prayer, penitence and meditation.

Ancien rgime, (French). The old regime; the former social and political order or system. The term usually refers to the period preceding the French Revolution of 1789.

Ancillary. Auxiliary; assisting in a subordinate or subservient manner.

Animism, n. animistic, adj. The theory that all beings and objects have a soul. Animism ascribes to all things of the universe the faculty of action, similar to that of man.

UF. 36.

Annona, (Latin). A policy of the Roman Empire (27 B.C.476 A.D.), whereby the government distributed free of charge the most important foodsgrain, wine and oilto the poor city people. This policy encouraged people to flock to the cities where living was cheap and eventually necessitated heavy imports of grain.

Anthropocentrism. The belief that man is the center of all that is important and that the world exists solely for the benefit or improvement of mankind.

Anthropomorphism. The idea that ascribes to God, or a god, the characteristics of a human being.

Antichrematistic. The opposite of chrematistic (q.v.).

Antinomy. Contradiction of two principles deduced from premises considered to be equally valid.

Antithesis, n. antithetic, adj. Diametrically opposite. A word, idea, person, doctrine, proposition or thing that negates, is irreconcilable with, or represents the extreme opposite of another.

Apodictic. Logically necessary, or the logical necessity of which can be demonstrated.

Apostasy. Abandonment or repudiation of a previously held faith, principle or party loyalty.

A posteriori, (Latin). Literally, following after. Known from experience. Applied to inductive reasoning, beginning with observed facts and inferring general conclusions from these. Opposed to a priori (q.v.). See also "Induction."

UF. 18.

Appellation. A name or term by which a person, group, theory or thing is known, with some implication that it is a popular or descriptive substitute for the real one.

Apperception. In epistemology, the human mind's awareness or understanding of its own contents. In psychology, the process whereby the human mind integrates new experiences with past experiences to form a new composite unity of understanding.

Appraisal, appraisement. An impersonal judgment, often by a disinterested expert, of the price something would bring if sold in the market place.

HA.332.

Aprs nous le dluge, (French). "After us the deluge." A statement Madame de Pompadour (1721-1764) is reputed to have made on November 5, 1757, to King Louis XV (1710-1774) of France, after the army of Frederick the Great (1712-1786) of Prussia had routed the much larger combined forces of the French and her allies at Rossbach (near Leipzig, Germany). See "Seven Years War."

A priori, (Latin). Literally, from the former or preceding. Self-evident knowledge known by reason alone without any appeal to experience or sensory perceptions. Nonempirical. Opposed to a posteriori (q.v.).

An a priori statement is one which the human mind can neither question nor contradict and which cannot be further analyzed, diagnosed, broken down or traced back to a logically prior cause. It is thus the original datum or premise which forms the starting point for deductive reasoning.

HA.34; UF. 17-21, 54.

Apriorism. The doctrine that there is knowledge that is logically prior to experience (or sensory perceptions).

Arbitrage. The process of buying commodities, securities or foreign exchange for immediate or future delivery in one market and simultaneously, or almost simultaneously, selling them in another market in order to profit from the price differences in the two markets. This process almost immediately eliminates all price differences in different markets except for those due to transportation costs and political interventions (taxes, tariffs, etc.).

A rebours, (French). The wrong way; backwards; against the grain.

Argumentum a contrario, (Latin). Argument or proof by contrast or the direct opposite.

Artel, (Russian). Literally, a gang. Actually, a group of workmen joined together for the cooperative performance of a work project and the mutual sharing of the income received. The custom arose when groups of workers left rural areas for the towns and cities where they worked, ate and lived together as a family sharing income and expenses. They elected a leader who supervised all activities and dealt with employers or contractors. Some artels were formed for temporary jobs like building a house, bridge or road. Others were more like fraternal guilds or craft unions with as many as 200 members pooling their wages. Before the Communist Revolution of 1918, they operated not only in crafts, construction and industry but also in fishing, forestry, banking and even in prisons and stock exchanges. Under the Soviet regime, artels are largely confined to communal farms where the workers live together.

Artifact. A natural object modified by human art, applied largely to primitive tools, weapons and works of art. An object which human labor has improved or made useful as distinguished from one as originally found in nature.

Asceticism. The theory that the only means open to man for attaining complete quietude, contentment and happiness is to renounce all earthly concerns and worldly things in preparation for eternal bliss. Only an ascetic may reproach liberalism for advancing the outward material welfare of men.

FC. 4-5; HA.178-79.

Asymptotic. Approaching indefinitely near, yet never meeting.

, (Ataraxia, Greek). Complete peace of mind.

HA. 15.

Atavistic. Pertaining to or marked by atavism, the recurrence in a descendant of abnormal characteristics that can be traced back to a remote ancestor. More popularly, "throwback."

Atypical. Deviating markedly from the rule or standard; not typical or regular; above or below average.

Aurea aetas, (Latin). Golden Age.

Aureole. A halo or celestial crown meant to indicate sanctity or holiness; a spiritual reward for those who have maintained their integrity and triumphed over worldly temptations.

Austrian School (of Economics). A group of economists who developed the modern subjective theory of value and applied it to the various problems of economics. Its founders and early leadersCarl Menger (1840-1921), Friedrich von Wieser (1851-1926), and Eugen von Bhm-Bawerk (1851-1914), as well as Ludwig (von) Mises (1881-1973) and Friedrich A. Hayek (1899- )were all Austrian born. See Mises' The Historical Setting of the Austrian School of Economics (1969).

EP. 165.

Autarky, (popularly misspelled "autarchy"). The state or condition of a person, nation or geographic area of being economically or intellectually self-sufficient and thus not dependent on another for trade, knowledge or survival.

OG. 72-78, 250, 284-86.

Autistic. Involving only one person or individual; excluding all but the one person.

Autochthonous. Native; indigenous; aboriginal; springing from the soil or land; related to the original primitive inhabitants.

Automatism. The theory that living organisms are governed solely by the laws of physics and mechanics. An extreme form of behaviorism that denies conscious control of actions.

Autonomy, n. autonomous, adj. Independence; the right or power to be self-governing; the state or quality of being free from outside control.

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