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Ludwig von Mises: "Only stilted pedants can conceive the idea that there are absolute norms to tell what is beautiful and what is not. They try to derive from the works of the past a code of rules with which, as they fancy, the writers and artists of the future should comply. But the genius does not cooperate with the pundit." - Theory and History

Quotable MisesThis database of quotations from Mises was prepared for The Quotable Mises edited by Mark Thornton, available from the Mises Institute store for $20. Send corrections to the editor. Here is a source page on the editions of the books referenced.

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Ludwig von MisesMan thinks not only for the sake of thinking, but also in order to act.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 37Action
Ludwig von MisesArt is nothing more than a faltering and inadequate attempt to express what has been thus experienced and to give some form to its content. The work of art captures not the experience, but only what its creator has been able to express of the experience.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 45Arts
Ludwig von MisesThe most primitive work of art also can express the strongest experience, and it speaks to us, if only we let it.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 46Arts
Ludwig von MisesA work of art is an attempt to experience the universe as a whole. One cannot analyze or dissect it into parts and comment on it without destroying its intrinsic character.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 136Arts
Ludwig von MisesThe main and only concern of the Austrian economists was to contribute to the advancement of economics. They never tried to win the support of anybody by other means than by the convincing power developed in their books and articles. Austrian Economics: An Anthology p. 72Austrian economists
Ludwig von MisesThose whom the world called the Austrian economists were, in the Austrian universities, somewhat reluctantly tolerated outsiders.Austrian Economics: An Anthology p. 56Austrian economists
Ludwig von MisesThrough all the changes in the prevailing system of social stratification, moral philosophers continued to hold fast to the fundamental idea of Ciceros doctrine that making money is degrading.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 194Bourgeoisie
Ludwig von MisesIn life everything is continually in flux.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 108Change
Ludwig von MisesTo the man who adopts the scientific method in reflecting upon the problems of human action, liberalism must appear as the only policy that can lead to lasting well-being for himself, his friends, and his loved ones, and, indeed, for all others as well.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 39Classical Liberalism
Ludwig von MisesIt is not mankind, the state, or the corporative unit that acts, but individual men and groups of men, and their valuations and their action are decisive, not those of abstract collectivities.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 153Collectivism
Ludwig von MisesThe collectivists idolize only the one true church, only the great nation . . . only the true state; everything else they condemn. For that reason all collectivists doctrines are harbingers of irreconcilable hatred and war to the death.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 42Collectivism
Ludwig von MisesWe owe the origin and development of human society and, consequently, of culture and civilization, to the fact that work performed under the division of labor is more productive than when performed in isolation.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 110Culture
Ludwig von MisesThe specific experience with which economics and economic statistics are concerned always refers to the past. It is history, and as such does not provide knowledge about a regularity that will manifest itself also in the future.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. xivEconometrics
Ludwig von MisesWithout the aid of monetary calculation, bookkeeping, and the computation of profit and loss in terms of money, technology would have had to confine itself to the simplest, and therefore the least productive, methods.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 157Economic Calculation
Ludwig von MisesMonetary calculation is not the calculation, and certainly not the measurement, of value. Its basis is the comparison of the more important and the less important. It is an ordering according to rank, an act of grading, and not an act of measuring.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 160Economic Calculation
Ludwig von MisesEconomic progress is the work of the savers, who accumulate capital, and of the entrepreneurs, who turn capital to new uses. The other members of society, of course, enjoy the advantages of progress, but they not only do not contribute anything to it; they even place obstacles in its way.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 228Economic Progress
Ludwig von MisesThe economist must never be a specialist. In dealing with any problem he must always fix his glance upon the whole system.Austrian Economics: An Anthology p. 157Economics
Ludwig von MisesDespots and democratic majorities are drunk with power. They must reluctantly admit that they are subject to the laws of nature. But they reject the very notion of economic law . . . economic history is a long record of government policies that failed because they were designed with a bold disregard for the laws of economics.Austrian Economics: An Anthology p. 155Economics
Ludwig von MisesThe unpopularity of economics is the result of its analysis of the effects of privileges. It is impossible to invalidate the economists demonstration that all privileges hurt the interests of the rest of the nation or at least a great part of it.Austrian Economics: An Anthology p. 58Economics
Ludwig von MisesAll those not familiar with economics (i.e., the immense majority) do not see any reason why they should not coerce other people by means of force to do what these people are not prepared to do of their own accord.Austrian Economics: An Anthology p. 75Economics
Ludwig von MisesEverything that we say about action is independent of the motives that cause it and of the goals toward which it strives in the individual case.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 34Economics
Ludwig von MisesIn all ages the pioneer in scientific thought has been a solitary thinker. But never has the position of the scientist been more solitary than in the field of modern economics.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 202Economics
Ludwig von MisesNew experience can force us to discard or modify inferences we have drawn from previous experience.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 27Experience
Ludwig von MisesEven knowledge of the laws of nature does not make action free. It is never able to attain more than definite, limited ends. It can never go beyond the insurmountable barriers set for it. And even within the sphere allowed to it, it must always reckon with the inroads of uncontrollable forces, with fate.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 198Fate
Ludwig von MisesIn all nations and in all periods of history, intellectual exploits were the work of a few men and were appreciated only by a small elite. The many looked upon these feats with hatred and disdain, at best with indifference.Austrian Economics: An Anthology p. 58Genius
Ludwig von MisesWhat counts is not the data, but the mind that deals with them…. Galileo was certainly not the first to observe the swinging motion of the chandelier in the cathedral at Pisa.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 71Genius
Ludwig von MisesIt is merely the routine of scientific procedure that can be taught and presented in textbooks. The power to accomplish feats of scientific achievement can be awakened only in one who already possesses the necessary intellectual gifts and strength of character.Epistemological Problems of Economics pp. 7172Genius
Ludwig von MisesHistory makes one wise, but not competent to solve concrete problems.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. xxiiiHistory
Ludwig von MisesNo one can escape the influence of a prevailing ideology.Epistemological Problems of Economics p. 197Ideology
Ludwig von MisesOn the market it is not mankind, the state, or the corporative unit that acts, but individual men and groups of men, and that their valuations and their actions are decisive, not those of abstract collectives.Austrian Economics: An Anthology p. 125Individualism