Front Page Titles (by Subject) PREFACE - The Anti-capitalistic Mentality
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PREFACE - Ludwig von Mises, The Anti-capitalistic Mentality 
The Anti-capitalist Mentality, edited and with a preface by Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2006).
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Throughout most of the twentieth century Ludwig von Mises (1881– 1973) was the leading spokesman of the Austrian school, the subjective-value marginal-utility theory of economics. He was born in pre-World War I Austria-Hungary. During the interwar years, he taught at the University of Vienna and worked as an economic adviser to the Austrian government. A few years before the Nazis, under Adolf Hitler, occupied Austria, he moved to Switzerland, where he taught at the Graduate Institute of International Studies. In 1940, after the start of World War II, he fled war-torn Europe and migrated to the United States. He spent the rest of his life in New York City.
Mises wrote more than twenty books, including The Theory of Money and Credit (1912), Socialism (1922), Liberalism (1927), Monetary Stabilization and Cyclical Policy (1928), Epistemological Problems of Economics (1933), Bureaucracy (1944), Human Action (1949), Theory and History (1957) and The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science (1962). He gained a reputation as an uncompromising advocate of free trade, liberalism, and sound money, and a relentless opponent of government intervention, inflation and socialism.
Mises presented economics as a science developed by reasoning logically step-by-step from basic a priori categories. Every individual acts purposively, each to attain his or her own personal goals and values. Economics dealt with human action, with the fact that individuals act—their actions and the consequences of their actions, not with their personal reasons or motives for acting. Thus, economics, the study of human action, was value-free. If the basic a priori are actually true and irrefutable, as Mises held they were, and if the step-by-step logic based thereon was sound, as Mises maintained it was, then the conclusions drawn from them must be logically necessary or, as he put it, apodictic. Mises always made his assertions about economics with apodictic certainty. He held that his theoretical books were scientific because they dealt with the value-free science of human action. Mises considered his most important books were those which dealt with economics and economic theory.
This book, however, is not a scientific book. In Mises’s Introduction, he wrote: “[M]any people, and especially intellectuals, passionately loathe capitalism.” To Mises it seemed incomprehensible that persons should reject capitalism, the very system that was responsible for expanding production, enabling more people to live longer, healthier, more comfortable—and freer—lives. Thus, Mises’s goal in writing this book was to give his view, his best judgment, as to why so many persons were anti-capitalistic and as a result were attracted to socialism and communism. This book does not deal with economic theory or with the science of economics. Rather it deals with Mises’s ideas about the opinions and psychological reasons of people for acting. It deals with psychology and with people’s motives, topics Mises generally avoided as unscientific. This book gives Mises’s considered judgment, on the basis of his understanding of economics and his interpretation of the facts, as to why he thought people acted as they do. One may or may not agree with Mises’s view as expressed here, but his reasoning merits consideration.
Bettina Bien Greaves