We are very sad to report that George Koether, born in 1907, has died at the age of 98. He was a journalist, speechwriter, businessman, lecturer, economist, and a friend to Ludwig and Margit von Mises, a longtime ambassador for Misesian economics.
Indeed, he knew and worked with nearly every important libertarian thinker in the 20th century, including Henry Hazlitt, Anthony Fisher, Fritz Machlup, Bruno Leoni, F.A. Hayek, and Murray Rothbard. He assisted in the editing and writing of Margit’s wonderful book, My Years With Ludwig von Mises, and made possible the publication of Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow by Ludwig von Mises.
He commissioned the bust of Mises in the Mises Institute library.
Koether was interviewed for the Fall 2000 issue of the Austrian Economics Newsletter. He said:
“There’s an ongoing debate in the Austrian world about whether we need to focus our resources on gaining academic influence or reaching the public. Mises always worked to do both, but we should never forget the last chapters of Human Action in which Mises places special emphasis on public education. You have got to get the message out to the public. This is essential. Mises worked to boil down his views for a popular audience. We need to keep this activity going. Let’s let the mainstream economists adopt the attitude that they have some secret knowledge which they refuse to share with the public. We want to get the ideas out there, and we can. We can do an end run around the arrogance of the mainstream. That’s what Mises did.”
Even as recently as last year, he attended Mises Institute events and provided wise counsel concerning our activities. He was scheduled to receive the 2006 Gary Schlarbaum Award for Lifetime Achievement in the cause of liberty.