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Omnipotent Government

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In some ways, this might be the most bitterly anti-Nazi book ever written, especially powerful because it reaches to the very core of the Nazi doctrine and its economic implications for national policy. The awesome reasoning power on display here is made all the more effective with Mises's rhetorical fury. Mises never wrote a more emotionally charged work. The Hitler regime was, after all, the country that invaded his beloved Austria and sent him into flight to Geneva and then finally America.
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Omnipotent Government was published in 1944, when the battle against Nazism held the world’s attention. How had this terrible system gained power? Mises considers and rejects several explanations popular at the time he wrote, such as inherent defects in the German national character. Instead, he looks to the rise of a malignant ideology, which he terms etatism.

Mises begins by showing how Prussian liberalism collapsed. Intellectuals spurned the free market in favor of schemes, lacking all support in sound economic theory, which stressed the role of the state in promoting national power and prosperity.

The Nazi system developed and extended the earlier etatist trends of the Bismarckian and Wilhelmine epochs. Hitler claimed, in classic etatist fashion, that Germany needed to expand in order to feed its growing population. Hitler’s idea made sense within his etatist presuppositions: in order to see what is wrong with it, one needs to understand correct economic theory. This teaches that free trade, not conquest of foreign territories, is the best means to advance prosperity.

Mises resolutely rejects the Marxist canard that Nazism was an expression of monopoly capitalism. To the contrary, Nazism was a form of socialism: the forms of private property were retained, but control and planning were in the hands of the state.

Mises concludes with a discussion of reform measures to be undertaken after the hostilities of World War II end. He calls for peace and the free market and subjects to withering criticism proposals for global central planning.

Omnipotent Government displays to the full Mises’s immense historical knowledge and his unrivaled grasp of economic principles. It is an indispensable guide to understanding nineteenth and twentieth-century European history.

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by tim asprin
on 6/6/2011
Mises at his most approachable
Mr.Mises can be rather unapproachable, for what ever reason, general stupidity on the readers side, or just general stupidity on the readers side..but this book flows like a good Tom Woods or Tom J DiLorenzo. Omnipotent Government must be the definitive work on the rise of the Nazi party. I have to differ with the book stores blurb, this work does not feel "bitter" at all. Far from that, it is so detailed that personal feelings seem far from the page,(and that would be difficult considering Von Mises' situation..no)? The Pre-Great war examination of Germany is essential in understanding the Post-Great War actions of a country looking for "Lebensraum". And any dodgy Versailles treaty excuses are swiftly dealt with, along with Hitler, who hardly warrants more than two lines in the whole book. Importantly the issue is always referred back to the Economics, the paucity of Economic Nationalism and Socialism to provide nothing but chaos and poverty is highlighted at every turn.
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This volume includes:

  • Part I. The Collapse of German Liberalism
    • I. German Liberalism
      • The Ancien Regime and Liberalism
      • The Weakness of German Liberalism
      • The Prussian Army
      • The Constitutional Conflict in Prussia
      • The "Little German" Program
      • The Lassalle Episode
    • II. The Triumph of Militarism
      • The Prussian Army in the New German Empire
      • German Militarism
      • The Liberals and Militarism
      • The Current Explanation of the Success of Militarism
  • Part II. Nationalism
    • III. Etatism
      • The New Mentality
      • The State
      • The Political and Social Doctrines of Liberalism
      • Socialism
      • Socialism in Russia and in Germany
      • Interventionism
      • Etatism and Protectionism
      • Economic Nationalism and Domestic Monopoly Prices
      • Autarky
      • German Protectionism
    • IV. Etatism and Nationalism
      • The Principle of Nationality
      • The Linguistic Group
      • Liberalism and the Principle of Nationality
      • Aggressive Nationalism
      • Colonial Imperialism
      • Foreign Investment and Foreign Loans
      • Total War
      • Socialism and War
    • V. Refutation of Some Fallacious Explanations
      • The Shortcomings of Current Explanations
      • The Alleged Irrationality of Nationalism
      • The Aristocratic Doctrine
      • Misapprehended Darwinism
      • The Role of Chauvinism
      • The Role of Myths
  • Part III. German Nazism
    • VI. The Peculiar Characteristics of German Nationalism
      • The Awakening
      • The Ascendency of Pan-Germanism
      • German Nationalism Within an Etatist World
      • A Critique of German Nationalism
      • Nazism and German Philosophy
      • Polylogism
      • Pan-Germanism and Nazism
    • VII. The Social Democrats in Imperial Germany
      • The Legend
      • Marxism and the Labor Movement
      • The German Workers and the German State
      • The Social Democrats Within the German Caste System
      • The Social Democrats and War
    • VIII. Anti-Semitism and Racism
      • The Role of Racism
      • The Struggle Against the Jewish Mind
      • Interventionism and Legal Discrimination Against Jews
      • The "Stab in the Back"
      • Anti-Semitism as a Factor in International Politics
    • IX. The Weimar Republic and Its Collapse
      • The Weimar Constitution
      • The Abortive Socialization
      • The Armed Parties
      • The Treaty of Versailles
      • The Economic Depression
      • Nazism and German Labor
      • The Foreign Critics of Nazism
    • X. Nazism as a World Problem
      • The Scope and Limitations of History
      • The Fallacy of the Concept of "National Character"
      • Germany's Rubicon
      • The Alternative
  • Part IV. The Future of Western Civilization
    • XI. The Delusions of World Planning
      • The Term "Planning"
      • The Dictatorship Complex
      • A World Government
      • Planned Production
      • Foreign Trade Agreements
      • Monetary Planning
      • Planning International Capital Transactions
    • XII. Peace Schemes
      • Armament Control
      • A Critique of Some Other Schemes Proposed
      • The Union of the Western Democracies
      • Peace in Eastern Europe
      • The Problems of Asia
      • The Role of the League of Nations
ISBN 978091088415
eISBN 9781610163798
Publisher Libertarian Press
Publication Date 1985
Binding PB
Page Length 291
freeship False

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