Penn State

Thomas Amlie - associate professor of accounting, Penn State Harrisburg

Book Title: Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis

Author: Ludwig von Mises

Book Description:

This was one of the most important works of the early 20th century. At a time when economists and intellectuals throughout Europe were overwhelmingly leaning towards socialism, and the Soviet Union was in its first flush of success, Professor Mises proved that the efficient allocation of economic resources under a centrally planned economy was literally impossible, even after disregarding the insurmountable motivational problems inherent in such a system. Additionally, he demonstrated that socialism, or collectivist economic planning in general, is only possible when the state uses violence and coercion in place of the free interaction of citizens, and leads inevitably to the diminution of the rights of citizens. In this work he ties together the moral imperatives of classical liberalism as well as the theoretical economic constructs and analysis.  The book proved a timely influence on other leading economists of the 20th century, most particularly Friedrich A. Hayek.

I selected this book both because of its own value, and also as a means of honoring Professor Mises. He accurately foresaw — and explained the theoretical basis of — the hyper-inflations in Germany and Austria, the depression of the 1930s, and the rise of the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century. His work has strongly influenced generations of economists and social scientists.


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