Thoughts on economics and liberty

Short extract from Mises’s letter to Hayek dated 27 July 1944

Peter Boettke shared this:

It is always a delight to read the writings of Mises. This letter contains some marvellous comments, so I decided to OCR and publish it for my record:


777 West Nod Avenue
New York 25, N. Y.
July 27, 1944

Dear friend:

Your book is really excellent. I read it with great delight, and so did all my friends who borrowed my copy. Even before the publication of the American edition your success in this country is remarkable. The “Times” mentioned the book already several times. Rougier will write an article about it for the French language weekly “Pour Is Victoire.”

My own book is attacked by all supporters of totalitarianism. It is amazing what the reviewers say. A man called Reinhold wrote in the “Commonweal”, a Catholic weekly, that I was financial adviser to the court of Francis Joseph! Furthermore: “When the Austrian government intervened in favor of auto-insurance purchasers for reduced rates more in keeping with equity for the little man, Herr V. M. fought a valorous rearguard action to the last ditch for the companies.” I never heard of any such action on the part of the Austrian government, I never heard of any “little man” driving a car in Austria. It would be interesting to know how such idiotic fables originate.

I am asking myself – what is the use of economics, if only a small minority are prepared to learn something from its teachings. The public’s ignorance is amazing. Imagine that many people are puzzled by my statements that subsidies are never paid by the State out of its “own” funds! The Santa Claus theory is so firmly entrenched in many economists’ minds that they do not even see that interference for the sake of higher prices for farm products burdens the consumers. It is a pity that Levy-Bruehl did not write a book on the mentality of modern man.

I shall send you a reprint of an article of mine on the Treatment of Irrationality in the Social Sciences and in September my booklet on Bureaucracy.

Jonathan Cape cabled me that paper shortage makes it impossible for him to publish a British edition of O.G. Do you think that any other publisher may like to do it?

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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