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Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis

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This masterwork is much more than a refutation of the economics of socialism (although on that front, nothing else compares). It is also a critique of the implicit religious doctrines behind Western socialist thinking, a cultural critique of socialist teaching on sex and marriage, an examination of the implications of radical human inequality, an attack on war, socialism, and refutation of collectivist methodology. In short, Mises set out to refute socialism, and instead yanked out the collectivist mentality from its very roots. All the collectivist literature combined cannot equal the intellectual achievement of this one volume.

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Ludwig von Mises’s Socialism is the most important critical examination of socialism ever written.

Socialism is most famous for Mises’s penetrating economic calculation argument. The book contains much more however. Mises not only shows the impossibility of socialism: he defends capitalism against the main arguments socialists and other critics have raised against it. A centrally planned system cannot substitute some other form of economic calculation for market prices, because no such alternative exists. Capitalism is true economic democracy.

Socialism addresses the contemporary issues of economic inequality and argues that wealth can exist for long periods only to the extent that wealthy producers succeed in satisfying the consumers. Mises shows that there is no tendency to monopoly in a free market system.

Mises analyzes reform measures, such as social security and labor legislation, which in fact serve to impede the efforts of the capitalist system to serve the masses.

Socialism is a veritable encyclopedia of vital topics in the social sciences, all analyzed with Mises’s unique combination of historical erudition and penetrating insight.

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(based on 9 reviews)

Showing 1 - 5 of 9 Reviews:

by David S
on 1/14/2014
An observation
I came to check these reviews before buying the book. Disappointed to say the least, especially with comments by Frank. None of the reviews are helpful to me. I plan to buy the book anyway. My observation is there do not appear to be any examples of successful socialist economies. I look forward to the book describing the reasons for their absence.
by frank
on 9/7/2010
laughable
I find it incredibly laughable that the three critical reviews came from a socialist,a christian extremist and a neo con all who gave it poor reviews. To the socialist-obviously you denounce the book and defend you argument your obviously not a libertarian.It's a book bashing socialists please don't try to argue a respectable libertarian; Mises would have ran laps around karl. To the christian extremest- what if your a masochist? You would surely take that quote as meaning it's ok to harm another; so then that's your quote you use to link Christianity with libertarianism? A horribly objective and outdated book that means something different to everyone? And in many instances supports socialism; I've read the bible multiple times. To the neo con some of those writers are fine but any man or women who says its the governments job to regulate those things is not libertarian in my mind and should join the "new" republican party and leave critical thinking to the real libertarians
by Thomas Peeler
on 3/26/2010
Christianity and Socialism - Chap 29
IV.29.41 "A living Christianity cannot, it seems, exist side by side with Capitalism." This sentence captures the massive errors Mises makes in his assessment of Christianity as it relates to capitalism. His understanding of the New Testament, at least, is so flawed as to render his analysis worthless. Indeed, the admonition of Jesus in Matthew 7:12 (NASB) to: “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” seems to me to be the very foundation for capitalism. In this life, if I treat my customer as I would like to be treated, I am rewarded with increased wealth. If I abuse my customer, then I am punished with loss of wealth. In essence, my self-interest is best served by my serving the interests of others, my customers. Far from being incompatible with capitalism, I would argue that Christian doctrine is the foundation of capitalism.
by Ralph Deeds
on 3/21/2010
Ludwig Von Mises, et al
Carl Menger, Von Mises, Hayek were brilliant men who correctly pointed out the superiority of market economies over socialism. However, if they were alive today their views would be in line with conventional economists, e.g., Samuelson, Krugman, Bernanke, Fred Kahn, and Bush's economic adviser, Mankiiw who acknowledge the need for effective regulation of modern banking, corporate and economic institutions and social programs to deal with our modern industrial society. They would undoubtedly by sad to see their work is being misapplied by doctrinaire libertarians and social Darwinists.
by Bryan
on 3/12/2009
Great read.
It delves deep and is very thoroughly written. I'd be interested to hear how one might claim this book misrepresents socialist doctrines. It's one thing to assert that, and quite another to demonstrate how.
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The contents of this volume include:

  • Foreword by F. A. Hayek
  • Introduction

  • Part I. Liberalism and Socialism

      • 1. Ownership
      • 2. Socialism
      • 3. The Social Order and the Political Constitution
      • 4. The Social Order and the Family

  • Part II. The Economics of a Socialist Community

    • Section I. The Economics of an Isolated Socialist Community
      • 5. The Nature of Economic Activity
      • 6. The Organization of Production Under Socialism
      • 7. The Distribution of Income
      • 8. The Socialist Community Under Stationary Conditions
      • 9. The Position of the Individual Under Socialism
      • 10. Socialism Under Dynamic Conditions
      • 11. The Impracticability of Socialism

    • Section II. The Foreign Relations of a Socialist Community
      • 12. National Socialism and World Socialism
      • 13. The Problem of Migration Under Socialism
      • 14. Foreign Trade Under Socialism

    • Section III. Particular Forms of Socialism and Pseudo-Socialism
      • 15. Particular Forms of Socialism
      • 16. Pseudo-Socialist Systems

  • Part III. The Alleged Inevitability of Socialism

    • Section I. Social Evolution
      • 17. Socialistic Chiliasm
      • 18. Society
      • 19. Conflict as a Factor in Social Evolution
      • 20. The Clash of Class Interests and the Class War
      • 21. The Materialist Conception of History

    • Section II. The Concentration of Capital and the Formation of Monopolies as Preliminary Steps to Socialism
      • 22. The Problem
      • 23. The Concentration of Establishments
      • 24. The Concentration of Enterprises
      • 25. The Concentration of Fortunes
      • 26. Monopoly and Its Effects

  • Part IV. Socialism as a Moral Imperative
      • 27. Socialism and Ethics
      • 28. Socialism as an Emanation of Asceticism
      • 29. Christianity and Socialism
      • 30. Ethical Socialism, Especially That of the New Criticism
      • 31. Economic Democracy
      • 32. Capitalist Ethics
      • Part V. Destructionism
          • 33. The Motive Powers of Destructionism
          • 34. The Methods of Destructionism
          • 35. Overcoming Destructionism

      • Conclusion: The Historical Significance of Modern Socialism
      • Epilogue
ISBN 9781933550510
eISBN 9781610163392
Publisher Ludwig von Mises Institute
Publication Date 2009
Binding HC
Page Length 599

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