Studies in Economic Nationalism

Michael A. Heilperin

This work by Michael Heilperin, a giant in the area of monetary economics, might be one of the most rare - and unique - in the history of 20th century economic thought. It is one of the few books written during the mid-century period of hyper-nationalism that comes to terms with a gigantic puzzle. How did the age of mercantilism become the age of free trade only to revert again in the 20th century? It is an important problem to solve. Heilperin locates the issue as an ideological-political one. Faith in liberty declined at the same time the total state rose. The result was economic nationalism that was destructive to world prosperity and peace.

Heilperin wrote his study while in Geneva in exile with the other Austrians during the war. His thesis and research were undoubtedly guided by the spirit of Mises himself. His thesis draws from the whole history of liberalism to trace the decline of mercantilism and the rise of nationalism in the 20th century. He deals with nationalism in Europe, especially the case of Italy and Germany, but he also puts New Deal economic policy in the same camp.

He writes with a calm erudition, using a huge range of scholarly resources, proving that Heilperin was far more than a monetary theorist. He was one of the giants of the Austrian tradition.

Before this new printing, this book has been virtually impossible to locate and acquire. The Mises Institute waited years for a copy to prepare this edition. It is now available to be appreciated anew by a new generation. His thesis and argument hold up in every way.

Michael Angelo Heilperin was born May 6, 1909 in Warsaw, Poland. He received both his undergraduate degree and his doctorate in economics from the University of Geneva, in 1929 and 1931 respectively. He also pursued graduate studies at the London School of Economics and Cambridge University. From 1935 to 1938, he was an assistant professor on the faculty of the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. In the 1930s, he also taught at a number of academic institutions in the United States, including Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and the University of California at Berkeley.

In 1941 he was appointed associate professor of economics at Hamilton College in New York, a position he resigned in December 1945. He returned to the Graduate Institute in Geneva in 1953, where he served as professor of international economics until 1964. During this period he also served as an associate editor and West European correspondent of Fortune Magazine. From 1964 to 1966 he was also a member of the magazine’s board of editors. Heilperin held a visiting professorship in international finance at the University of Southern California in 1968.

Studies in Economic Nationalism by Michael Heilperin
Meet the Author
Michael A. Heilperin

Michael Heilperin was born in 1909 in Warsaw, Poland. He was a friend and colleague of Ludwig von Mises’s in Geneva, and his specialization was the international monetary system. He applied the Austrian theory of the business cycle along with his knowledge of the balance of payments to warn against the rise of monetary nationalism. See his literature archive.

Mises Daily Michael A. Heilperin
A new economic fallacy came of age in the course of the last prewar decade and threatens to play havoc with the future peace of the world. This fallacy consists in saying that a country’s national...
View Michael A. Heilperin bio and works

Librairie Minard, Paris, 1960