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Mises and opera subsidies

January 8, 2004

Having for years been subjected to the urban myth that Mises favored operas subsidies, I'm particularly interested in the point Gary North  makes here:

 

Should classical music be an exception to the principle of consumer sovereignty? Maybe you have heard the story that Ludwig von Mises once said that he favored privatizing everything except the Vienna State Opera. No one has located the document in which he said this. No one has identified when or where he said this. This is because he never said it. Years ago, Leonard E. Read told me the name of the man who made the statement: Max Thun (pronounced "Thune"). I had never before heard of Max Thun. Except for this one reference, I still haven't. But it seemed convenient that "Vienna Opera" and "Austrian economist" would go together, so an urban legend – urban Vienna – was born.

 

If anyone knows any more about this, please email me. Certainly the opera exception appears nowhere in Mises's writings.

 

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