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seems like a bright guy - is anyone listening though


The principal tool of liberalism, Mises maintained, was reason. That does not mean Mises thought its entire program must be carried through by means of dense and elaborate academic treatises. He greatly admired those who brought its ideas to the stage, the silver screen, and to the world of published fiction. But it does mean that the cause must remain rooted in rational argument, a much sounder foundation than the fickle irrationalism of emotion and hysteria by which other ideologies seek to stir the masses. "Liberalism has nothing to do with all this," Mises insists. "It has no party flower and no party color, no party song and no party idols, no symbols and no slogans. It has the substance and the arguments. These must lead it to victory."

We ought to rejoice at the publication of the Mises Institute's new edition of this old classic, particularly at such a perilous moment in history. With fiscal crises and the hard choices they demand threatening a wave of civil unrest across Europe, the impossible promises made by cash-strapped welfare states are becoming increasingly obvious. As Mises argued, there is no stable, long-term substitute for the free economy. Interventionism, even on behalf of such an ostensibly good cause as social welfare, creates more problems than it solves, thereby leading to still more intervention until the system is entirely socialized, if the collapse does not occur before then.

Mises's position runs counter to those who held that the market was indeed a place of rivalry and strife in which the gain of some implied losses to others. One thinks, for example, of David Ricardo, and his contention that wages and profits necessarily move in opposite directions. Thomas Malthus warned of a population catastrophe, which implied a conflict between some individuals (those already born) and others (namely, the alleged excess who followed later). Then, of course, there was the entire mercantilist tradition, which viewed trade and exchange as a kind of low-intensity warfare that yielded a definite set of winners and losers. Karl Marx set forth a classic statement of inherent class antagonism on the market in the Communist Manifesto. Even older than these figures was Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592), who argued in his essay "The Plight of One Man Is the Benefit of Another" that "no profit can possibly be made but at the expense of another." Mises later called this view the "Montaigne fallacy."

For the sake of civilization itself, Mises urges us to discard the mercantilist myths that pit the prosperity of one people against that of another, the socialist myths that describe the various social classes as mortal enemies, and the interventionist myths that seek prosperity through mutual plunder. In place of these juvenile and destructive misconceptions Mises advances a compelling argument for classical liberalism, which sees "economic harmonies" — to borrow Frédéric Bastiat's formulation — where others see antagonism and strife. Classical liberalism, so ably defended here by Mises, seeks no coercively derived advantage for anyone, and for that very reason brings about the most satisfactory long-run results for everyone.

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  • 433 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?

      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%

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