Front Page Titles (by Subject) H - Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, vol. 4 (LF ed.)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Also in the Library:
H - Ludwig von Mises, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, vol. 4 (LF ed.) 
Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, in 4 vols., ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2007). Vol. 4.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Habeas corpus, (Latin). Literally, an imperative, “have the body!” A legal document obtainable from a judge or court, on behalf of a person arrested and held without legally valid charge, which orders the jailer to release the prisoner immediately or to produce him before a judge or court and show a legal cause for his further detainment.
Harbinger. Originally, one who went ahead to prepare the way. Currently, a person, thing or event which precedes and foretells what is to follow; thus, an omen or forerunner.
Haute finance, (French). High finance. The big banks and bankers.
Hedonism. The theory that the final goal of all human action is pleasure, or rather happiness.
Hegelian dialectics. In the philosophy of Georg Hegel (1770–1831), the only reality is Geist (mind or spirit) and the only road to truth is by the dialectical process of logic. For him, logic, metaphysics and ontology were essentially identical. According to Hegel’s peculiar thinking, dialectics proceeds from thesis to antithesis, i.e., the negation of thesis, and from antithesis to synthesis, i.e., the negation of the negation.
Hegemony. Leadership; predominant or controlling influence, especially that of someone in a position of authority, as a state government. As used in Human Action, it is a translation of the German term, “Herrschaftlichkeit.” It refers to a position of authority, or belonging to a lord or master.
Heinous. Hateful, atrocious, odious, offensive.
Heterogeneity. Diversity or variety in the individuals or elements of a mass or large group; absence of uniformity; opposed to homogeneity.
Heteronomous. Not self-determining; subordinate to something else; opposed to autonomous.
Heuristic. Helpful in the discovery of or revelation of truth; applied to arguments or methods which asre persuasive rather than logically compelling, and which often lead one to search further for confirmation rather than to accept without question.
Historical School. A school of thought, originating in nineteenth-century Germany, which held that a study of history was the sole source of knowledge about human actions and economic matters. This school contended that economists could develop new and improved social laws from the collection and study of statistics and historical data. An older group, before 1870, opposed the teachings of the Classical School (see “Classical economics”); while a later or younger group, after 1870, opposed the teachings of the Austrian School (q.v.) and advocated “social reform” by state action. The dominance of German universities by the Historical School resulted in the ridicule of “liberal” (q.v.) economics and the promotion of state socialism or national planning ideas. Thus the Historical School provided an ideological foundation for the German policies of the Nazi (q.v.) era. See also “Methodenstreit.”
Historicism. The theory of the Historical School (q.v.) that apart from the natural sciences, mathematics and logic, there is no knowledge but that provided by history. It appeals to the authority of tradition and the wisdom of the ages while opposing the ideas that inspired the American and French Revolutions. It now supplies support to socialism, interventionism and nationalism.
Hoarding. An indefinite, and thus unscientific, term for cash holdings in excess of the quantity considered normal and adequate for the holder’s needs.
Holism, n. holistic, adj. The collectivist concept that one can learn all that one can learn by studying totals or the actions of whole units rather than the actions of individual men. Holism rests on the teleological or metaphysical faith that the actions of the whole somehow determine the actions of the parts rather than vice versa.
Homme moyen, (French). Average man.
Homo agens, (Latin). Man as an acting being.
Homogeneity, n. homogeneous, adj. The quality possessed by a grouping or aggregate whose parts or elements are all of the same kind, nature and character. Homogeneous units are units that are so essentially alike that they are capable of substitution one for another.
Homo oeconomicus, (Latin). Economic man (q.v.); a man driven exclusively by “economic” motives, i.e., solely by the intention of making the greatest possible material or monetary profit.
Homo sapiens, (Latin). Zoological term for man as distinguished from other animals. Man is the reasonable animal. He uses his reason to guide his choice of actions by which he attempts to improve the external conditions of his life and well-being.
Homunculus. Small or little man, pygmy, dwarf, puny man, midget; often used in the sense of an artificial human being.
Hot money. Money in bank balances, demand loans on securities or short-term investments which the owners may move without notice from one country to another and thus out of one currency into another in search of greater security or better terms. Hot money moves promptly on loss of confidence in a currency due to fear of depreciation, legal devaluation, or a legal limitation or prohibition on future transfers out of the country. When security is not a factor, hot money moves to those countries paying the highest interest rates, or otherwise offering better terms, such as shorter notice for withdrawal or guarantees against confiscation. Note: This is not the popular meaning that hot money is money that is suspected or tainted because it was obtained by questionable or illegal means.
Human action. Purposeful behavior; an attempt to substitute a more satisfactory state of affairs for a less satisfactory one; a conscious endeavor to remove as far as possible a felt uneasiness. Man acts to exchange what he considers will be a less desirable future condition for what he considers will be a more desirable future condition. Thinking and remaining motionless are actions in this sense. Human action is always rational (q.v.), presupposes causality and takes place over a period of time.
Humanité, (French). Mankind, society, humanity. Note: Humanité was used by the atheist, Auguste Comte (1798–1857), as the name for his religion, the religion of Humanity, which exalted a society altered according to Comte’s ideas of perfection.
Huns. Barbaric Asiatic invaders who sacked and destroyed many cities of southern and central Europe during the fourth and fifth centuries Absolutely ruthless, they slaughtered and enslaved Europeans from the Caspian Sea to the Rhine and Loire Rivers, while living high on what they could plunder or exact in tribute. Their best-known leader, Attila (406?–453) who exacted tribute from Rome, was turned back (451) by the combined armies of the Romans and Visigoths (Central European Germans of the era) at Châlons-sur-Marne (95 miles east of Paris) in one of the decisive battles of history.
Hydromechanics. The branch of physics concerned with the application of the laws of motion and equilibrium to liquids.
Hypostasis. Assignment of substance or real existence to concepts or mental constructs.
Hypothesis. A seemingly reasonable explanation, supposition, or assumption proposed as a tentative answer to a problem in the absence of known or proven facts or causes. A hypothesis must not contain anything at variance with known facts or principles.