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Ludwig von Mises: "Man is not, like the animals, an obsequious puppet of instincts and sensual impulses. Man has the power to suppress instinctive desires, he has a will of his own, he chooses between incompatible ends." - The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science


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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AuthorQuoteSourcePageSubject
Ludwig von MisesAction is purposive conduct. It is not simply behavior, but behavior begot by judgments of value, aiming at a definite end and guided by ideas concerning the suitability or unsuitability of definite means. . . . It is conscious behavior. It is choosing. It is volition; it is a display of the will.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 34Action
Ludwig von MisesMans striving after an improvement of the conditions of his existence impels him to action. Action requires planning and the decision which of various plans is the most advantageous.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 90Action
Ludwig von MisesThe nonhuman animals never proceed beyond instinctive urges and conditioned reflexes.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 49Animals
Ludwig von MisesCognizance of the relation between a cause and its effect is the first step toward mans orientation in the world and is the intellectual condition of any successful activity.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 20Cause and Effect
Ludwig von MisesMan is not, like the animals, an obsequious puppet of instincts and sensual impulses. Man has the power to suppress instinctive desires, he has a will of his own, he chooses between incompatible ends.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 57Choice
Ludwig von MisesThe main characteristic of collectivism is that it does not take notice of the individuals will and moral self-determination.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 106Collectivism
Ludwig von MisesWhat transformed the stagnant conditions of the good old days into the activism of capitalism was not changes in the natural sciences and in technology, but the adoption of the free enterprise principle.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 122Conservatism
Ludwig von MisesAs a method of economic analysis econometrics is a childish play with figures that does not contribute anything to the elucidation of the problems of economic reality.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 63Econometrics
Ludwig von MisesThe study of economics has been again and again led astray by the vain idea that economics must proceed according to the pattern of other sciences.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 3Economics
Ludwig von MisesEconomics is not specifically about business; it deals with all market phenomena and with all their aspects, not only with the activities of a businessman.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 77Economics
Ludwig von MisesWhat is wrong with the discipline that is nowadays taught in most universities under the misleading label of economics is not that the teachers and the authors of the textbooks are either not businessmen or failed in their business enterprises. The fault is with their ignorance of economics and with their inability to think logically.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 78Education
Ludwig von MisesMan is the only animal that is able, within definite limits, to adjust his environment purposively to suit him better.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 8Environment
Ludwig von MisesThe masses do not like those who surpass them in any regard. The average man envies and hates those who are different.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 123Envy
Ludwig von MisesWhat pushes the masses into the camp of socialism is, even more than the illusion that socialism will make them richer, the expectation that it will curb all those who are better than they themselves are. . . . There will no longer be any room left for innovators and reformers.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 123Envy
Ludwig von MisesMen are unequal; individuals differ from one another. They differ because their prenatal as well as their postnatal history is never identical.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 59Equality
Ludwig von MisesHe [a consumer] buys because he believes that to acquire the merchandise in question will satisfy him better than keeping the money or spending it for something else.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 76Exchange
Ludwig von MisesIn a game there are winners and losers. But a business deal is always advantageous for both parties. If both the buyer and the seller were not to consider the transaction as the most advantageous action they could choose under the prevailing conditions, they would not enter into the deal.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 90Exchange
Ludwig von MisesExperience is a mental act on the part of thinking and acting men.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 15Experience
Ludwig von MisesExperience tells us something we did not know before and could not learn but for having had the experience.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 18Experience
Ludwig von MisesIf Dante, Shakespeare, or Beethoven had died in childhood, mankind would miss what it owes to them. In this sense we may say that chance plays a role in human affairs.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 61Fate
Ludwig von MisesThere always remains an orbit that to the limited knowledge of man appears as an orbit of pure chance and marks life as a gamble. Man and his works are always exposed to the impact of unforeseen and uncontrollable events.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science pp. 65-66Fate
Ludwig von MisesThe market economy was not devised by a master mind; it was not first planned as an utopian scheme and then put to work.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 109Free Market
Ludwig von MisesMany of our contemporaries are firmly convinced that what is needed to render all human affairs perfectly satisfactory is brutal suppression of all bad people, i.e., of those with whom they disagree.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 95Freedom
Ludwig von MisesIt was in the climate created by this capitalistic system of individualism that all the modern intellectual achievements thrived.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 123Freedom of Thought
Ludwig von MisesBut for an almighty supreme being there cannot be any dissatisfaction with the prevailing state of affairs. The Almighty does not act, because there is no state of affairs that he cannot render fully satisfactory without any action.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 3God
Ludwig von MisesThe macroeconomic concept of national income is a mere political slogan devoid of any cognitive value.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 87Gross National Product
Ludwig von MisesHistory in the broadest sense of the term is the totality of human experience.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 45History
Ludwig von MisesThe ideas that change the intellectual climate of a given environment are those unheard of before. For these new ideas there is no other explanation than that there was a man from whose mind they originated.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 91Ideas
Ludwig von MisesOne cannot organize or institutionalize the emergence of new ideas.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 129Ideas
Ludwig von MisesThe market economy itself was not a product of violent actionof revolutionsbut of a series of gradual peaceful changes. The implications of the term industrial revolution are utterly misleading.The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science p. 109Industrial Revolution
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