I’m spending the day at the Austrian Scholars Conference, which is hosted by the Ludwig von Mises Institute, so it seems appropriate that I’m covering Week 3 of the Mises Institute’s Home Study Course in Austrian Economics, which has Ludwig von Mises as its topic. The section includes one audio lecture and readings from just one book.
- “Mises in One Lesson” by Murray Rothbard: After listening to Guido Hulsmann’s lecture on Mises in the Week 1 material, there wasn’t a whole lot new to learn about Mises’s works in this lecture. However, the biographical details of Mises’s life Rothbard discusses here are fascinating. That Mises accomplished what he did over a career spanning more than sixty years while having a paid academic post for less than ten of those years is simply amazing. I like that the Institute pulled at least one Rothbard lecture from the archives for this course, given his personal connection to Mises and his importance to Austrian economics in the second half of the twentieth century (Rothbard died in 1995).
- “Ludwig von Mises: The Dean of the Austrian School” by Murray Rothbard (Ch. 10 of Randall Holcombe, ed., 15 Great Austrian Economists): As with Joseph Salerno’s material from Week 2, we have a lot of overlap between Rothbard’s audio lecture and book chapter here. This chapter is an edited version of Rothbard’s booklet Ludwig von Mises: Scholar, Creator, Hero. It traces the key events of Mises’s academic career, and points out the impact of some of his works that are less well known today. For example, Omnipotent Government, the first book Mises wrote after coming to the USA, skewered the then-popular interpretation of Nazism as a rearguard action of big business against the proletariat. Its success so impressed Yale University Press that published Mises’s work for the next decade.
Some might find annoying the repetition of thematic material here in the first few units of the home study course, but it’s probably appropriate for novices in the field.