Front Page Titles (by Subject) Gustavo R. Velasco, On the 90th Anniversary of Ludwig Von Mises - Toward Liberty: Essays in Honor of Ludwig von Mises, vol. 1
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Gustavo R. Velasco, On the 90th Anniversary of Ludwig Von Mises - Friedrich August von Hayek, Toward Liberty: Essays in Honor of Ludwig von Mises, vol. 1 
Toward Liberty: Essays in Honor of Ludwig von Mises on the Occasion of his 90th Birthday, September 29, 1971, vol. 1, ed. F.A. Hayek, Henry Hazlitt, Leonrad R. Read, Gustavo Velasco, and F.A. Harper (Menlo Park: Institute for Humane Studies, 1971).
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On the 90th Anniversary of Ludwig Von Mises
“The key stone of Western civilization is the sphere of spontaneous action it secures to the individual…. Driven by their inborn genius, pioneers have accomplished their work in spite of all hostility and opposition.” The author of these thoughts has given witness to their truth with his life and his work. Since the first years of this century, Ludwig von Mises has never ceased in his efforts to advance science and the cause of liberty. And nothing has stopped him in the construction of an admirable intellectual edifice, more lasting than any encomium from his friends and disciples because of its intrinsic worth and its incalculable potential for the development, well-being, and happiness of mankind.
Like Greece and Florence in their moments of glory, Austria and particularly Vienna enjoyed a brief period of freedom from 1867 to 1914 when the arts and sciences suddenly prospered and bore valuable fruits. Mises is a product of this flowering of a civilization which continued to project its rays until the night descended finally with the Nazi invasion. But, unlike men of lesser fortitude, with uncommon vitality and resilience he continued his work from 1934 to 1940 in Switzerland and from then until the present time in the United States.
The outstanding facts of Mises' life and intellectual production are so well known that it would be superfluous to repeat them in detail. His two chief fields of endeavor have been economic science and social philosophy. In the first one he has created not one but three masterpieces—The Theory of Money and Credit, Socialism, and Human Action—besides a host of lesser works like Nation, Staat und Wirtschaft, Kritik des Interventionismus, Geldwertstabilisierung und Konjunkturpolitik, and others. As a continuator of the great line of thought initiated by Carl Menger and followed by Böhm-Bawerk and Wieser, Mises has been an authoritative expounder of the so-called Austrian School of economics and has developed it in a number of important points, such as the integration of the theory of money into marginal utility analysis, the insight that utility cannot be measured and must only be ranked ordinally, the purchasing-power-parity theory of exchange rates, the monetary explanation of the business cycle, and the importance of economic calculation and its impossibility outside of a market economy.
Far from falling into the barbarousness of specialization criticized by Ortega y Gasset, Mises has provided economics with a firm basis in the theory of knowledge and integrated it in a general theory of human action. He has pursued these objectives in several other works such as Epistemological Problems of Economics, Theory and History, and The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science.
Mises has been not only a great economic theorist, but also an ardent and remarkable defender of the social order which he considers most conducive to human cooperation. In this respect his name should: be added to the long list of eminent thinkers like Hume, Smith, Burke, Humboldt, Tocqueville, and Acton, who originated and perfected the doctrine of liberalism. These ideas are found chiefly in Socialism, which, besides being a devastating critique of this creed, contains a complete exposition of the liberal system; in Kritik des Interventionismus, where he demonstrates that this self-defeating pretended third way cannot be an alternative to liberalism; and in Liberalismus, translated into English as The Free and Prosperous Commonwealth.
Besides his written work embodied in innumerable books, monographs, articles, contributions to collective works, and translations, Mises has exerted a powerful influence through his teaching and personal contact. In Vienna he was a chief factor in the formation of an outstanding group of scholars through the private seminar which he conducted for several years. At New York University he again succeeded in transmitting his ideas to a number of brilliant American students. By means of lectures, seminars, and participation in colloquiums and discussions in most European countries as well as in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, and Argentina, his thought has reached a worldwide audience.
It would be futile to attempt to extol the qualities in Mises' writings and teaching which have gained him the respect and esteem of his readers, students, and hearers, as well as the criticism and in some cases the hostility of those who disagree with his economic theories and liberal outlook. In my opinion his success has been due to his superb intelligence, his intellectual honesty and relentless logic, and to his boundless knowledge both of previous achievements in economics and of history, sociology, psychology, and philosophy. It should not surprise us that these characteristics and the unflinching manner in which he has pursued his arguments to their ultimate conclusions have led to the accusations that he is cold, uncompromising, and out of touch with the times. Our reply must be that the task of scholars and thinkers is not to be practical or popular and that, side by side with intelligence and knowledge, economists and social philosophers must possess character and another quality which in Spanish is called “entereza” and for which English has only the approximate equivalents, “firmness” and “integrity.”
Those of us who have had the undeserved good fortune of penetrating a little behind his reserve know that Mises is as cultured as he is witty and as sympathetic as he is kind and warmhearted. Good manners forbid that I should detail the reasons for these assertions, as well as refer to his domestic life, except to state that without the loving care and constant watch of his wife, Margit, Professor Mises would never have completed the incredible amount of work which he has accomplished.
Some years ago Ludwig von Mises joined those select few like Kant, Voltaire, and Goethe who reached an age denied most men, in full possession of their mental gifts, in lively contact with the world, and as active as always in their fields of interest. On the occasion of his 90th birthday we can only present him with a modest and very incomplete proof of the fact that we have tried to follow his lead. When reason, science, and freedom reign once again in the world, as it is our hope and conviction that they shall, Ludwig von Mises will not be alone. The admiration and gratitude of all men will accompany him.