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Get Involved! Support the Mises University

July 13, 2006

Tags Austrian Economics Overview

The Mises Institute is seeking your support for a program that is changing the face of economic science. It is the Mises University. It is our flagship program that has educated and inspired many thousands of students.

The program starts up again this summer, and, as a Mises.org reader, you can take part by becoming a benefactor. Please consider making a contribution to support a program  that is a proven success.

Here's the problem, as strange as it may sound. Marxism still lives — even thrives — in the university, especially in the social sciences and humanities. 

But surely economics departments are better? There is good news: yes, they are better. A majority of economists surveyed oppose tariffs and government ownership of industry. That's a good start.

Now the bad news.

According to a recent survey, a majority of economists back anti-discrimination laws; environmental protection laws; workplace safety and FDA regulations; fine tuning of the economy; redistribution of wealth; public schools; foreign aid; prohibition of drugs, prostitution, and gambling; the use of the military overseas to impose democracy and the rule of law; and the minimum wage.

 

The same survey says that fewer than 3% consider themselves to be consistently free market enough to call themselves libertarians.

Now, this is a far higher number than existed two decades ago — before the Mises University began its alternative education program — and the Mises Institute has a lot to do with the fact that the number is above 0%. And truly, 3% can do a world of good.

Still, it's pathetic. Keynes and his disciples cast a very long shadow. And this is in the best department in the social sciences!

What goes on in academia is reflected in popular culture. Whatever else the pundits disagree on, everyone seems to agree that cutting government too much, and permitting free markets, would be a disaster.

Government is still the answer of first resort in every area of politics. That's why airports are overcrowded and inefficient. That's why taxes loot such a vast part of your earnings. That's why we have to worry about housing bubbles, oil prices, lawsuit mania, and regulatory madness. They make natural disasters worse and create many unnatural disasters.

Those of us who believe in liberty can only be overwhelmed daily by the failure of all forms of government intervention — and at the failure of the academic establishment to see what we see.

Let us get to work! We have a generation to educate. And the number one means of teaching free market economics, in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises, is the Mises University. This program that has made the difference in college educations for more than two decades.

It is here that students learn where the wealth all around us comes from. It is not given by nature. It doesn't fall from above. It is not delivered by Washington, D.C. Not from the printing presses of the Federal Reserve.

Wealth is created by people — free people. Under what system? Not force. Not taxes and regulations. Free market capitalism is the very foundation of material civilization.

The future of our civilization — meaning the lives of our generation and all future ones — depends on the fundamental choice we make between freedom and despotism. The market economy — the economics of liberty — is a necessary condition. As Mises said, there is no third alternative.

This teaching program attracts the brightest students from all over the country and the world. After twenty years of success, we are more convinced than ever that our future as a civilization could rest with this program.

Great minds like Henry Hazlitt, Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, F.A. Hayek, didn't emerge out of thin air. They had mentors who led them to the right books and ideas. They were trained in academies that prepared them to be critically minded, live independently, build civilization, and resist tyrants.

It was this sort of education that inspired them to reject the rising statism of their times.

Students today do not usually receive this help. Instead of learning critical thinking, they go from the earliest grades through graduate school without ever having acquired the foundational tools. At best, they are trained for drills, standardized tests, and some technical professions. At worst, they are marched around in a prison-like environment, and otherwise neglected.

Mises used to urge his economics students in the United States to learn logic and broaden their understanding to encompass philosophy, law, and history. He insisted that education should proceed step-by-step. It was his dying hope that someday an institution would be dedicated to providing a real education in economics for a new generation.

Twenty years ago, Mises's dream inspired the creation of the Mises University. We invited all students who wanted to learn the economics of the Austrian School to apply. We promised no degrees, no career advantages, no social life, and no fancy facilities. We offered only systematic teaching that students could get no where else.

Today the Mises University stands as a world famous institution, but the program is still rooted in the same approach. Our one promise is that students will receive the best possible intellectual formation, one not available anywhere else.

Every year we receive applications from all over the world — from students who would rather be learning than wasting their summers at the beach. We offer hard and demanding work. But for those who come, it is the event of a lifetime.

If you ever wonder if there is hope for our future, take a close look at this program. It attracts great students, and gives them a look at economics that affects the whole of their intellectual lives.

It is the job of the Mises University to take these students and give them classroom instruction of a special sort. Forget sound bites and multiple choice. The faculty teaches logically and systematically, from the foundations on up. They teach real economics, not propaganda that blames capitalism for all ills. Most importantly, our students learn how freedom works, how it came about, and how we owe civilization to it.

Through rigorous training with top materials and teachers, the Mises University has produced some of the best economists, historians, and philosophers teaching today. They are still an embattled minority in the academy, but now they are big enough to constitute a movement. And they are making a difference.

Students tell us that they value their time in our programs more than all their years at college. The appeal is the uncompromising spirit of truth. The students are drawn to this, and it affects their whole life: what they think, how they think, what they research, and why. The program can make the difference between apathy and a life dedicated to advancing what is true.

The faculty cover all areas of economics in order to show the unity among various fields of study, always with an eye to cutting through socialistic and interventionist fallacies. The faculty demonstrates the underlying logic of commerce, trade, money, banking, finance, and a host of other areas, and shows why freedom is the means toward peace, prosperity, and security.

As the classes proceed, the faculty cover the nature of money and prices, interest and banking, production and exchange, the business cycle and the workings of business and great entrepreneurs. The conference even considers the philosophical basis of economic science.

Lectures, discussion groups, and panels continue from morning until night. It all ends with oral examinations, evaluations, and a graduation ceremony. In the end, it is not only educational but highly inspiring. It recruits young people into the world of ideas to do battle on behalf of freedom and truth. They go on to become professors themselves, and provide an increasing counterweight in academic life.

The Mises Institute has been accused of waging an intellectual guerilla war. We plead guilty. We are fighting against an entrenched establishment with the only weapon we have: ideas. Mises always said that the sword is powerless as compared with the idea of liberty.

The best way to combat error is by countering it with truth. We do not have to sit by and do nothing as our society and civilization are wrecked by bureaucrats, politicians, and central planners. We do not have to stand on the sidelines as looters, backed by academic apologists, destroy what freedom has created. We can do something about it.

Won't you help us continue to expand the Mises University? Please help others discover what you have discovered: that freedom is the source of all that is great and good in this world.

Your tax-deductible gift of $100, $50, $25, or any amount, would be great. Your contribution of $500 or even $1,000 would be magnificent.

These young people want to learn and put into effect the great ideas of freedom. There can be no greater cause than that.

 


Note: The views expressed on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

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