Ludwig von Mises Institute: Wikis


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Ludwig von Mises Institute
Motto Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito (Latin: Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it)
Established 1982
Type Private
Chairman Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
President Douglas French (since 2009)
Faculty 21
Staff 17
Location Auburn, Alabama, USA
Campus College Town, 4 acres (16,000 m2)
Founder Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

The Ludwig von Mises Institute (LvMI), based in Auburn, Alabama, is a libertarian academic organization engaged in research and scholarship in the fields of economics, philosophy and political economy. Its scholarship is inspired by the work of Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises. Other Austrian School academics such as Murray Rothbard and Friedrich Hayek have also had a strong influence on the Institute's work. The Institute is funded entirely through private donations.

The Institute does not consider itself a traditional think tank. While it has working relationships with individuals such as U.S. Representative Ron Paul and organizations like the Foundation for Economic Education, it does not seek to implement public policy. It has no formal affiliation with any political party (including the Libertarian Party), nor does it receive funding from any. The Institute also has a formal policy of not accepting contract work from corporations or other organizations.[1]

There are also several other Institutes with the same name throughout the world, including those in Belgium, Poland, Argentina, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, and Romania. However, the Institute has no formal ties with any of them.

The Institute's official motto is Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito, which comes from Virgil's Aeneid, Book VI; the motto means "do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it." Early in his life, Mises chose this sentence to be his guiding principle in life. It is prominently displayed throughout the Institute's campus, on their website and on memorabilia.



The Ludwig von Mises Institute was established in 1982 under the direction of Margit von Mises, widow of Ludwig von Mises, who chaired its board until her death in 1993. Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr is the founder, a former president and currently the chairman (since 2009); Douglas French is the current president. The late economist Murray Rothbard was a major influence on the Institute's activities and served as its academic vice president until his death in 1995. Among others, Friedrich Hayek, Lawrence Fertig, and Henry Hazlitt also assisted in both its construction and continued scholarly development.[2]

Some controversy surrounds its creation and the Koch Family Foundations throughout the 1980s.[3] The ensuing ideology-driven drama created a rift between the Mises Institute and organizations like the Cato Institute, whose members had been staunch allies throughout the 1970s and early 1980s.[4]

Mission and activities

The Institute's stated goal is to "undermine statism in all its forms". Its methodology is based on praxeology, a description of individual human action which seeks to avoid errors in scientific behavioral observation that could be induced by human self-consciousness and complexity. The Institute's economic theories depict any government intervention as destructive, whether through welfare, inflation, taxation, regulation, or war. The Institute disparages both communism and the American System school of economics (more broadly the American School).

The Institute is generally critical of statism and democracy, with the latter being described in Institute publications as "coercive"[5], "incompatible with wealth creation"[6] "replete with inner contradictions"[7] and a system " of legalized graft."[5]

With 250 academic faculty members and thousands of donors (throughout all 50 States in the United States of America and in more than 60 countries), the Institute has sponsored hundreds of teaching and scholars' conferences and seminars treating subjects ranging from monetary policy to the history of war. The Institute has published dozens of books [17], hundreds of scholarly papers [18] [19] and thousands of mainstream articles covering economic and historical issues.[20]

The Institute's website went online in 1995. The Institute has also produced several documentary films, including Liberty and Economics: The Ludwig von Mises Legacy, The Future of Austrian Economics and Money, Banking, and the Federal Reserve.

Institute scholars typically take a critical view of most U.S. government activities, foreign and domestic, throughout American history. The Institute characterizes itself as libertarian and expresses antiwar and non-interventionist positions on American foreign policy, asserting that war is a violation of rights to life, liberty, and property, with destructive effects on the market economy, and tends to increase the power of government. The Institute's website offers content which expresses support of individualism [21] and is explicitly critical of democracy [22], collectivism [23], fascism [24], socialism [25], and communism [26].

The website offers a vast array of articles and books by Ludwig von Mises, Murray N. Rothbard, and many other scholars who write in the tradition established by Carl Menger in 1871 with the publication of his Principles of Economics. The Institute's current campus was erected in 1998; its main building is a Victorian-style villa.[8] Before that, the Institute's offices were located in the business department at Auburn University. A recent article in The Wall Street Journal discusses the rationale behind its strategic placement in rural Alabama. The author suggests that "a charming downtown, low prices for room and board, easy access to Atlanta's international airport, and good ol' Southern hospitality" were among the reasons for locating in Alabama. In addition, he suggests that "Southerners have always been distrustful of government," making the South a natural home for the organization's paleolibertarian outlook.[9]

In 2007, the Institute's annual revenues were $3,583,575 and its expenses were $2,852,751. These expenses went to programs (75.5%), administration (13.6%) and fundraising (10.7%).[10]




As of 2006, the Institute publishes seven periodicals. The Free Market examines the economic and political scene from a classical liberal viewpoint and is published monthly. The Austrian Economics Newsletter links their academic network with in-depth interviews. The Mises Review surveys new books in the social sciences. The Mises Memo covers issues and legislation, plus conferences and publications of the Institute.[citation needed]

Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics

The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics (the successor journal to the Review of Austrian Economics), publishes articles dealing with a wide range of issues in economics. The Journal of Libertarian Studies is the scholarly venue for political theory and applications. Policy implications are frequently discussed in both. [27]

In addition, they also host Reason Papers, which is a peer-reviewed journal on inderdisciplinary normative studies appearing annually. It was founded in 1974, and was edited by Tibor R. Machan from issues 1 through 25. Beginning with Issue 26 (Summer 2003), it is now edited by Aeon J. Skoble. [28]

The Libertarian Forum was a journal edited (and largely written by) Murray N. Rothbard from 1969 to 1984. It contains substantive theoretical contributions, commentaries on politics, details of disputes and arguments within the libertarian movement, and forecasts on the future of liberty.[29]

Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought was a journal on libertarian philosophy that was the precursor to the Journal of Libertarian Studies. It was published from 1965–1968 and was edited by Murray Rothbard.[30]

They also host a collection of continuously growing academic working papers. These papers are not in final form and are not available for publication. As of August 2006, there are more than 100 papers in draft form, with approximately 2-3 added each month.[11]

In addition, they feature original commentary through a stream of Daily Articles[12] and a supplemental weblog[13]. These original essays are written by professors and lay people alike and edited by Jeffrey Tucker. As of August 2006, there are more than 24,000 subscribers to the Daily Articles alone.[31]


The Institute has published nearly 50 books and pamphlets, most of which deal with topics covering political and economic theories and their interconnectedness. Others deal with history, from early American settlements to chronicling the Great Depression.

Notable entries include:

  • Human Action, The Scholars Edition, the original, unaltered treatise (originally published in 1949) written by Ludwig von Mises. It is largely viewed as his magnum opus and is a rejection of positivism within economics. It defends an a priori epistemology and defines the science of praxeology.
  • Man, Economy, and State, an economic treatise covering both micro and macro thought and written by Murray Rothbard. It was originally published in 1962, but the final eight chapters were removed due to political conflicts with the original publisher. These were finally published as Power and Market in 1970. The 2004 edition published by the Institute combines both books in a single volume.
  • For a New Liberty, written by Murray Rothbard and published in 1973. It attempts to reconcile his libertarian system of thought, including natural law, natural rights, Austrian economics, American history, and State intervention.[14]
  • The Case for Gold, by Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman (originally published in 1982 by the Cato Institute). Republished by the Mises Institute in 2007, it presents the libertarian case for forms of the gold standard from the viewpoint of minority members of the U.S. Gold Commission.[15]
  • Mises and Austrian Economics, by Ron Paul, published in 1984. It recalls Paul's personal recollections of Austrian school economists, such as Rothbard and Hans Sennholz, both of whom Paul knew well.[16]
  • Reassessing the Presidency, edited by John V. Denson and published in 2001. It is a critique of each American President through the lens of libertarianism.
  • The Myth of National Defense, edited by Hans-Hermann Hoppe and published in 2003. It is a collection of essays on the theory and history of security production.

Student outreach programs

The Institute invests in many resources devoted to educating students regardless of academic background.

Web resources

The "Are You An Austrian?" quiz is designed to test an individual's economic reasoning.[17] Its questions include topics covering many fundamental tenets in economic thought (e.g., property rights, the role of state intervention, value of money). It has been criticized by economists such as Arnold Kling.[18]

The Austrian Literature Guide is a freely-accessible comprehensive selection of Austrian-oriented literature comprising videos, audio lectures, books, papers and more. As of May 2008, it comprises approximately 3,000 unique items and the entire contents of 239 books and seven academic journals. [32] The Mises Community [33] is a web-based interactive forum and blog community [34] in which students from across the globe can discuss theories, papers, research agendas, conferences and a cornucopia of other topics. As of May 2008 it has over 2800 members, 22,000 posts, and dozens of active blogs.


In addition to maintaining an active website since October 1995, the Institute also maintains a robust virtual store of its entire in-print catalogue, a group weblog, numerous RSS feeds for weekly podcasts, and BitTorrent files for much of its video library.[19] It also offers lectures, conferences and audiobooks via iTunes U.[20]

All told, its site logs over 1.2 million page views each month, nearly 750,000 visitors[citation needed], and in the month of October 2008 alone, the site transferred over six terabytes of data.[35] This is in addition to having content hosted at sites such as YouTube [21] and Google Video.[22]


The Austrian Scholars Conference is an interdisciplinary meeting of the Austrian School held annually each spring at the Institute's campus. It typically lasts three days and involves paper presentations and moderated panels.[23]

Mises University, started in 1986, is a week-long summer instructional program.[24] The schedule of events includes lectures from senior and adjunct faculty members, reading groups, discussion panels and various social functions. It takes place twice each summer, and typically hosts 100-125 students from around the world (reportedly nearly 30% are from Europe).[25]

Throughout the year, the Institute hosts numerous symposia. These range on topic from the history of taxation to free speech and dissent during wartime. They are typically hosted by a senior faculty member or noted scholar (such as historian Charles Adams and literary critic Paul Cantor).[26]

Support of scholarship

The Ward and Massey libraries are an on-site archive of nearly 35,000 volumes.[27]

The Institute also awards scholarships and fellowships throughout the year.[28] These include the Peg Rowley Summer Fellowship for graduate and post-doctoral students. The O.P. Alford, III Fellowship is awarded to undergraduates studying during the summer. The Kurzweg Fellowship sponsors a visiting scholar for an entire year of research and study at the Institute. Economist Walter Block was a recent Kurzweg Fellow, due to the events of Hurricane Katrina.[29]

Academic awards

Murray N. Rothbard Medal of Freedom

In maintaining a tradition of recognizing scholarly achievement, each year the Institute awards several individuals for their accomplishments.[30] The annual Schlarbaum Prize for lifetime defense of liberty, awards $10,000 to a public intellectual or distinguished scholar. The Kurzweg Family Prize awards $5,000 for the defense of liberty, property, and personal responsibility. The Elgin Groseclose Award, a $20 Liberty Head Double Eagle, goes to the best piece of money writing in the previous year. The Lawrence W. Fertig Prize in Austrian Economics awards $1,000 to the author of a paper that best advances economic science in the Austrian tradition. The O.P. Alford III Prize in Libertarian Scholarship awards $1,000 to the author of the paper best advances libertarian scholarship.

Individuals such as Congressman Ron Paul and philosopher Antony Flew are among past laureates.

Views espoused by affiliated scholars

Institute scholars have been highly critical of Abraham Lincoln's conduct of the war (e.g. suspending habeas corpus, jailing those who dissented against the war and against the draft), asserting that his policies contributed to the growth of statism in the United States. Senior faculty member Thomas DiLorenzo, in his critical biographies The Real Lincoln and Lincoln: Unmasked, argues that the sixteenth president substantially expanded the size and powers of the federal government at the expense of individual liberty. Adjunct faculty member Donald Livingston shares a similar view, blaming Lincoln for the creation of "a French Revolutionary style unitary state" and "centralizing totalitarianism."[31] Institute scholars have also taken a more general anti-war stance. Many works espousing a general anti-war view such as John Denson's A Century of War and H.C. Engelbrecht's The Merchants of Death can be found on the institute’s website and purchased through its bookstore.

The Institute's publications argue that fascism and National Socialism (Nazism) are branches of socialist political philosophy. They cite the fact that these ideologies are based on collectivist rejections of the individual in favor of some "greater good", and that they incorporate central control over the economy and often also society. This line of argument is discussed in more detail at Fascism and ideology.

Institute scholars are often opposed to democracy, described by Institute Fellow Hans-Herman Hoppe as "The God that Failed". James Ostrowskie describes the system as follows:[32]

Not to be confused with a republic, a democracy is a system in which, theoretically, what the majority says goes. The reality, however, is more complex and much uglier. In a democracy, various political elites struggle for control of the state apparatus by appealing to the material interests of large voting blocks with promises of legalized graft.

Faculty and administration


Senior faculty

Adjunct faculty


The Institute has been characterized by some writers as "right-wing,"[33][34] a label which individuals associated with the Institute, including Lew Rockwell, say is inaccurate.[35] This claim is also disputed by sources published in the Mises Institute working papers[36], which cite Institute faculty member Roderick Long and others whom they describe as "left libertarians"[37].

Controversial views on the Confederacy and race relations

The Claremont Institute's Harry V. Jaffa has debated on Lincoln with LvMI's Thomas DiLorenzo and writers from both organizations have sparred in editorial publications.[38] DiLorenzo's references to the American Civil War as the "War to prevent Southern Independence" and Mises faculty member Thomas Woods's presence at the founding of the League of the South were cited by James Kirchick, writing for the New Republic, as suggesting a "disturbing attachment to the Confederacy."[39] Woods has stated that he was present at the meeting at which the organization was founded,[40] and later contributed to its newsletter,[41] but that his involvement was limited.

Reason magazine has also alleged that from 1989 to 1994, a period during which Rockwell headed the Mises Institute, "Rockwell and the prominent libertarian theorist Murray Rothbard championed an open strategy of exploiting racial and class resentment to build a coalition with populist 'paleoconservatives.'"[42] In a 1992 op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, Institute president Lew Rockwell discussed the Rodney King beatings, writing "Did they hit him too many times? Sure, but that’s not the issue. It’s safe streets versus urban terror, and why we have moved from one to the other."[43] Rockwell is also alleged by Reason magazine writers Julian Sanchez and David Weigel to have been in charge of Ron Paul's newsletter during a period when what they describe as "bigoted rhetoric about African Americans and gays" appeared in that publication.[42] In an interview on February 1999, Rockwell explained, "The civil-rights movement of the 1960s complicates the picture. My ideological sympathies were and are with those who resisted the federal government's attacks on the freedom of association (not to mention the federalist structure of the Constitution) in the name of racial integration." He later states, "I never liked Martin Luther King, Jr. I thought he was a fraud and a tool. But when he turned his attention to the evils of the U.S. war on Vietnam, I began to like him. That's also when the establishment turned against him, and soon he was murdered."[44]

Criticism from the Southern Poverty Law Center

LvMI's publications have been supportive of the Confederate States of America's secession, which precipitated the American Civil War. The historical views of the Institute and of several people affiliated with it have been interpreted by some civil rights groups, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, as sympathetic to the Confederacy. The SPLC has criticized the Institute for its "interest in neo-Confederate themes", which SPLC considers to be a form of racism. SPLC has also criticized some members of the Institute for their connections with the League of the South.[45]

Lew Rockwell responded to these criticisms by writing "We have published revisionist accounts of the origins of the Civil War that demonstrate that the tariff bred more conflict between the South and the feds than slavery. For that, we were decried as a dangerous institutional proponent of “neoconfederate” ideology. Why not just plain old Confederate ideology? The addition of the prefix neo is supposed to conjure up other dangers, like those associated with the term neo-Nazi. These are desperate tactics of people who know, in their heart of hearts, that they are on the wrong side of history."[46]

Another SPLC complaint[47] involves a Murray Rothbard essay called "Origins of the Welfare State in America"[48] on the Mises Institute website. According to an SPLC Intelligence Report article written by Chip Berlet:

Rothbard blamed much of what he disliked on meddling women. In the mid-1800s, a "legion of Yankee women" who were "not fettered by the responsibilities" of household work "imposed" voting rights for women on the nation. Later, Jewish women, after raising funds from "top Jewish financiers", agitated for child labor laws, Rothbard adds with evident disgust. The "dominant tradition" of all these activist women, he suggests, is lesbianism.[47]


  1. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions."
  2. ^ "About the Mises Institute."
  3. ^ Rockwell, Lew. "Libertarianism and the Old Right." 5 August 2006. [1]
  4. ^ Stromberg, Joseph (2 August 2000). "Raimondo on Rothbard and Rothbard on Everything". Retrieved 10 January 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Christopher Mayer. "Democracy is Coercive". 
  6. ^ "Does Democracy Threaten the Free Market? - N. Joseph Potts - Mises Institute". 
  7. ^ "Chapter 5--Binary Intervention: Government Expenditures (continued)". 
  8. ^ "The Mises Campus"
  9. ^ Wingfield, Kyle. "Auburnomics: Von Mises finds a sweet home in Alabama." Wall Street Journal. 11 August 2006. [2]
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Mises Institute Working Papers."
  12. ^ "Daily Articles Archive."
  13. ^ "Mises Economics Blog."
  14. ^ Rothbard, Murray. For a New Liberty.
  15. ^ Paul, Ron, and Lehrman, Lewis (1982) (PDF). The Case for Gold: a Minority Report of the U.S. Gold Commission. Lake Jackson, Tex.: Cato Institute, 1982; Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2007. ISBN 0932790313. Retrieved 2007-07-30. 
  16. ^ Paul, Ron. Mises and Austrian Economics: A Personal View. Ludwig von Mises Institute. 1998. [3]
  17. ^ "Are you an Austrian?"
  18. ^ Kling, Arnold. "The Sect of Austrian Economics" TechCentralStation Daily. 11 November 2003. [4]
  19. ^ "Mises RSS Feeds."
  20. ^ Mises Institute on iTunes U
  21. ^ "Mises Institute at Youtube"
  22. ^ "Mises Institute at Google Video"
  23. ^ "Austrian Scholars Conference 2007."
  24. ^ "Mises University 2006."
  25. ^ "Mises University Student Comments."
  26. ^ "Upcoming events."
  27. ^ "Ward & Massey Libraries."
  28. ^ "Conference Scholarships and Residency Fellowships."
  29. ^ Block, Walter. "Walter Block Says: Support the Mises Institute!" 22 December 2005. [5]
  30. ^ "Mises Institute Awards."
  31. ^ Beirich, Heidi and Mark Potok. "The Ideologues." Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Winter 2004. [6]
  32. ^ Does Democracy Promote Peace?
  33. ^ Hardisty, Jean V. 1999. Mobilizing Resentment: Conservative Resurgence from the John Birch Society to the Promise Keepers. Boston: Beacon Press, pp. 166-172
  34. ^ Heider, Ulrike. (1994). Anarchism: Left, Right, and Green. Translated by Danny Lewis and Ulrike Bode. San Francisco: City Lights Books. Original edition in German, 1992.
  35. ^ Rockwell, Lew. "What is Left? What is Right?" The American Conservative. 28 August 2006.[7]
  36. ^ Working Papers of the Mises Institute
  37. ^ Block, Walter. "Libertarianism is unique; it belongs neither to the right nor the left: a critique of the views of Long, Holcombe, and Baden on the left, Hoppe, Feser and Paul on the right." [8]
  38. ^ "The Real Abraham Lincoln: A Debate." Transcript of 7 May 2002 debate between Thomas J. DiLorenzo and Harry V. Jaffa. Independent Institute. [9]
  39. ^ Kirchick, James. "Angry White Man." The New Republic. 8 January 2008. [10]
  40. ^ Blog: In Case You Were Wondering
  41. ^ Reason Magazine - Behind the Jeffersonian Veneer
  42. ^ a b Julian Sanchez and David Weigel. "Who Wrote the Ron Paul Newsletters?" Reason Online, January 16, 2008. [11]
  43. ^ Rockwell, Lew. "It's Safe Streets Versus Urban Terror." Los Angeles Times March 10, 1991.
  44. ^ Rockwell, Lew. "Libertarianism and the Old Right." [12]
  45. ^ "The Neo-Confederates." Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Summer 2000. [13]
  46. ^ Rockwell, Lew. Speaking of Liberty. Ludwig von Mises Institute. 2003. [14]
  47. ^ a b Berlet, Chip. "Into the Mainstream." Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Summer 2003. [15]
  48. ^ Rothbard, Murray. "Origins of the Welfare State in America." Journal of Libertarian Studies. Vol. 12, No. 2. [16]

External links


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