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Ludwig von Mises: "Interest is the difference in the valuation of present goods and future goods; it is the discount in the valuation of future goods as against that of present goods." - Planning for Freedom


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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Top> Browse by source: Theory and History
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AuthorQuoteSourcePageSubject
Ludwig von MisesIt is an enormous simplification to speak of the American mind. Every American has his own mind. Theory and History pp. 191-92America
Ludwig von MisesThose politicians, professors and union bosses who curse big business are fighting for a lower standard of living.Theory and History p. 147AntiTrust Laws
Ludwig von MisesThe enjoyment of art and literature presupposes a certain disposition and susceptibility on the part of the public. Taste is inborn to only a few. Others must cultivate their aptitude for enjoyment.Theory and History p. 63Arts
Ludwig von MisesOnly 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 p. 63Arts
Ludwig von MisesIt is a hopeless task to interpret a symphony, a painting, or a novel. The interpreter at best tries to tell us something about his reaction to the work…. There are no words to describe the ineffable.Theory and History p. 276Arts
Ludwig von MisesBehaviorism fails to explain why different people adjust themselves to the same conditions in different ways.Theory and History p. 245Behaviorism
Ludwig von MisesBehaviorism proposes to study human behavior according to the methods developed by animal and infant psychology. It seeks to investigate reflexes and instincts, automatisms and unconscious reactions. But it has told us nothing about the reflexes that have built cathedrals, railroads, and fortresses, the instincts that have produced philosophies, poems, and legal systems, the automatisms that have resulted in the growth and decline of empires, the unconscious reactions that are splitting atoms.Theory and History pp. 245-46Behaviorism
Ludwig von MisesThe big business enterprises are almost without exception corporations, precisely because they are too big for single individuals to own them entirely. The growth of business units has far outstripped the growth of individual fortunes.Theory and History p. 118Big Business
Ludwig von MisesGrumblers may blame Western civilization for its materialism and may assert that it gratified nobody but a small class of rugged exploiters. But their laments cannot wipe out the facts. Millions of mothers have been made happier by the drop in infant mortality. Famines have disappeared and epidemics have been curbed.Theory and History p. 334Capitalism
Ludwig von MisesChoosing ultimate ends is a personal, subjective, individual affair. Choosing means is a matter of reason, choosing ultimate ends a matter of the soul and the will.Theory and History p. 15Choice
Ludwig von MisesIt was not the Syllabus of Pope Pius IX that paved the way for the return of intolerance and the persecution of dissenters. It was the writings of the socialists.Theory and History p. 68Christianity
Ludwig von MisesWhat distinguishes civilized man from a barbarian must be acquired by every individual anew.Theory and History p. 293Civilization
Ludwig von MisesIn the unhampered market economy there are no privileges, no protection of vested interests, no barriers preventing anybody from striving after any prize.Theory and History p. 114Class Mobility
Ludwig von MisesCollectivism is a doctrine of war, intolerance, and persecution. If any of the collectivist creeds should succeed in its endeavors, all people but the great dictator would be deprived of their essential human quality. They would become mere soulless pawns in the hands of a monster.Theory and History p. 61Collectivism
Ludwig von MisesWhen the collectivist extols the state, what he means is not every state but only that regime of which he approves, no matter whether this legitimate state exists already or has to be created.Theory and History p. 254Collectivism
Ludwig von MisesThere are no irreconcilable conflicts between selfishness and altruism, between economics and ethics, between the concerns of the individual and those of society.Theory and History pp. 54-55Conflict
Ludwig von MisesGreat Britain would not have gone socialist if the Conservatives, not to speak of the Liberals, had not virtually endorsed socialist ideas.Theory and History p. 319nConservatism
Ludwig von MisesThe essence of an individuals freedom is the opportunity to deviate from traditional ways of thinking and of doing things.Theory and History p. 378Conservatism
Ludwig von MisesThe essence of an individuals freedom is the opportunity to deviate from traditional ways of thinking and of doing things.Theory and History p. 378Creativity
Ludwig von MisesEvery quantity that we can observe is a historical event, a fact which cannot be fully described without specifying the time and geographical point. The econometrician is unable to disprove this fact, which cuts the ground from under his reasoning. He cannot help admitting that there are no behavior constants.Theory and History p. 10Econometrics
Ludwig von MisesA technological invention is not something material. It is the product of a mental process, of reasoning and conceiving new ideas. The tools and machines may be called material, but the operation of the mind which created them is certainly spiritual.Theory and History p. 109Entrepreneurs
Ludwig von MisesTalk about the magnificence of untouched nature is idle if it does not take into account what man has got by desecrating nature.Theory and History pp. 218-19Environment
Ludwig von MisesThe egalitarian doctrine is manifestly contrary to all the facts established by biology and by history. Only fanatical partisans of this theory can contend that what distinguishes the genius from the dullard is entirely the effect of postnatal influences.Theory and History p. 331Equality
Ludwig von MisesThe idea of equal distribution of land is a pernicious illusion. Its execution would plunge mankind into misery and starvation, and would in fact wipe out civilization itself.Theory and History p. 354Equality
Ludwig von MisesIt is only the passionate pro-socialist zeal of mathematical pseudo-economists that transforms a purely analytical tool of logical economics into an utopian image of the good and most desirable state of affairs.Theory and History p. 367Equilibrium
Ludwig von MisesThe distinction between an economic sphere of human life and activity and a noneconomic sphere is the worst of their fallacies.Theory and History pp. 37677Freedom
Ludwig von MisesThe characteristic feature of a free society is that it can function in spite of the fact that its members disagree in many judgments of value.Theory and History p. 61Freedom
Ludwig von MisesIt is an illusion to expect that despotism will always side with the good causes.Theory and History p. 372Government
Ludwig von MisesMan is not the member of one group only and does not appear on the scene of human affairs solely in the role of a member of one definitive group.Theory and History p. 257Groups
Ludwig von MisesEach individual is the only and final arbiter in matters concerning his own satisfaction and happiness.Theory and History p. 13Happiness
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