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Bronze-level articleLudwig von Mises Institute

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Von Mises' family crest, the logo of the LvMI
The dismal "science"


Key concepts

  $ Economics
  $ Capitalism
  $ Communism
  $ Socialism

More about economics
Notable economists

The Ludwig von Mises Institute is an American libertarian think tank specializing in Austrian school economics and vulgar libertarian social philosophy. It was established in 1982 with the approval of Margit von Mises, the widow of the Austrian school economist Ludwig von Mises. It publishes several journals on political economy, economics, and philosophy, and has also published several books. The Institute offers fellowships to students of economics. It also gives awards to those who have made (in their opinion) exceptional contributions in the field of economics. Lew Rockwell, a former Ron Paul staffer, was the founder and president of the Institute until his retirement in 2009 (though he remains as a chairman), and also has his own blog and news aggregator site at LewRockwell.com (often shortened to "LRC"), its position summed up as "anti-state, anti-war, pro-market."


[edit] Political positions

The Institute is against statism, socialism, communism, left-liberalism, and pretty much anything else that deviates from libertarianism, which is hardly surprising, since their founders were libertarians. It publishes articles from a libertarian viewpoint, and supports the Austrian School. The Institute leans toward anarcho-capitalism and tends to view more soft-line libertarian think tanks like the Cato Institute with some disdain as compromising Beltway insiders.

Though the Institute caters mainly to a very right-libertarian viewpoint, they very surprisingly have been known to play host to left-libertarians now and again. Notable examples of left-libertarians who have worked with the institute include Roderick T. Long and Stephan Kinsella. They not only have contributed in many ways to the Institute but have been employed by it as well. Of course, given how the Institute looks with unmitigated scorn upon leftism, they don't totally espouse their very radical left-wing viewpoints, especially in regards to the market. To play it safe they more often than not cherry pick parts of their left-leaning philosophies that are considered acceptable by the Institute and right-libertarianism in general.

The Institute supports a non-interventionist foreign policy that includes a retrospective opposition to America's involvement in World War II. They harken back to paleoconservative isolationist stances, feeling that unless or until the US is directly attacked they should be neutral.

Due to its Austrian position, the Institute is naturally a font of gold buggery.

[edit] Conspiracy theories and pseudohistory

[edit] Pearl Harbor and 9/11

The Institute seems to be sympathetic to the Pearl Harbor conspiracy theory as well as 9/11 conspiracy theories, going so far as to give a rather favorable review to David Ray Griffin's book The New Pearl Harbor.[1]

[edit] Global warming

The Institute is of the opinion that global warming is a money-making scheme perpetrated by scientists to get grant money.[2]

[edit] Racial theory and neo-Confederate nuttery

It has been accused of racism due to the head of the Institute writing some rather interesting things about black people.[3] In addition, it has a rather interesting interpretation of the American Civil War, viewing President Abraham Lincoln as the statist villain who sought to drastically expand the power of central government at the expense of states' rights, rather than keep the Union intact in the face of a secession motivated by slave ownership. On that last, they feel that compensation for slave owners (as some had proposed back then) would have been better, preserving "states' rights" and averting war, though Murray Rothbard has quipped that it was more the slaves who deserved compensation than their owners, at least. Some also point to various banking conspiracy theories as causes of the conflict. Ironically Lincoln himself feared the rising power of banks and industrial capitalism (as Thomas Jefferson did) while conspiracy theories of his own assassination often name international bankers as suspects.

It has also attracted accusations of racism from the Southern Poverty Law Center due to Rockwell and Rothbard's racially tinged rhetoric and endorsement of questionable policies and candidates.[4][5] It doesn't help your image too much when you employ blatant neo-Confederates like Thomas DiLorenzo and Tom Woods, though.

Mises himself sidestepped the issue of whether some races are superior to others by stating that even if that is the case, the law of comparative advantage (referred to by Mises as "Ricardo's law of association") still enables members of different races to cooperate in mutually beneficial ways: "It may be admitted that the races differ in talent and character and that there is no hope of ever seeing those differences resolved. Still, free trade theory shows that even the more capable races derive an advantage from associating with the less capable and that social co-operation brings them the advantage of higher productivity in the total labour process."[6] Mises believed that due to that economic law, there need not be irreconcilable conflict between the races, or enslavement of any race by another, although he also noted, "It is nonsensical to fight the racial hypothesis by negating obvious facts. It is vain to deny that up to now certain races have contributed nothing or very little to the development of civilization and can, in this sense, be called inferior."[7]

[edit] Greatest hits

With its zealous defense of everything free market, the von Mises Institute frequently lapses into bouts of self parody. For salient and highly comical examples, see:

[edit] Mises Wiki

The Mises Wiki is a wiki, owned and operated by the Institute, whose stated purpose is to write and maintain an up-to-date encyclopedia covering economic and political topics from an Austrian school point of view. One of its co-founders[9] writes, "I want the good features of Wikipedia with a certain POV, without devolving into the raving madness of Conservapedia or, Mises forbid, RationalWiki. ;)"[10] Mises Wiki is the successor to the Austrian Economics Wiki, which was hosted on Wikia.

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Review of The New Pearl Harbor in The Mises Review.
  2. I Was on the Global Warming Gravy Train, Mises Daily
  3. Ron Paul, the Gold Standard, and Neo-Confederates, The Aporetic
  4. SPLC on LvMI
  5. SPLC: The Neo-Confederates
  6. Ludwig von Socialism
  7. Mises, Ludwig von Human Action
  8. Screw the pelicans, they probably would have voted for Democrats anyway.
  9. http://wiki.mises.org/wiki/MisesWiki:About#Administration
  10. http://wiki.mises.org/mediawiki/index.php?title=User_talk%3ANathan_Larson&action=historysubmit&diff=18874&oldid=18867

[edit] External links

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