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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10545/a-prophet-without-honor-in-his-own-land/

A Prophet Without Honor in His Own Land

August 28, 2009 by

The year was 1921. It was near midnight. Economist Ludwig von Mises was guiding some visitors through Vienna’s dimly lit inner city. The city was asleep. All was quiet except for the sound of the men’s muted conversation and the clop of their footsteps on the cobblestone streets. The men had just come from an economic conference where they had been discussing the disastrous effects of inflation.

Prices were rising rapidly in most of the countries of post — World War I Europe. Germany and Austria, especially, were facing hyperinflation. In Austria, the economy was in the doldrums. Large numbers of industrial firms were idle throughout the land, while others were working only part-time.

As the men approached the center of the city, the still of the night was broken by “the heavy drone of the Austro-Hungarian Bank’s printing presses.” Their Viennese host, Mises, explained that those presses “were running incessantly day and night, to produce new banknotes.” Throughout the land, only the printing presses making banknotes were operating at full speed. “Let us hope,” Mises told his guests, “that industry in Germany and Austria will once more regain its prewar volume and that war- and inflation-related industries, devoted specifically to the printing of notes, will give way to more useful activities.” FULL ARTICLE

{ 11 comments }

fundamentalist August 28, 2009 at 8:15 am

Nice summary of the great man’s life. Thanks!

“Those who were industrious, conscientious, and responsible, who worked hard and saved, were “losers,” as the inflation eroded their savings. Those who borrowed to live beyond their means and spent lavishly were “winners,” as they were able to repay their creditors with worthless paper money.

Sounds like good advice in our current situation.

Abhi August 28, 2009 at 9:33 am

Thanks for the article Bettina, that was a wonderful and insightful read.

Kel Thuz August 28, 2009 at 11:06 am

There should be a mini-series filmed about Ludwig von Mises’ life and struggle. If John Nash received a film biography under the moniker “Beautiful Mind”, even so much should Mises – “Unyielding Mind in the mindless land” :>

Heather August 28, 2009 at 11:41 am

This is a very moving article. Mises is an inspiration.

Current August 28, 2009 at 1:16 pm

One of the key lessons here is, if you’re planning to print a lot of money don’t put your printing presses in an urban area. That gives the game away.

The money printers for Mugabe’s Zimbabwe were Giesecke & Devrient the same company that printed the money for the German hyperinflation in the 20s. Then Zimbabwe changed to Jura JSP, a company based in Vienna!

GilesStratton August 28, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Am I the only one who thinks that at a quick glance Mises looks somewhat like Keynes in the above picture.

joe August 28, 2009 at 7:21 pm

@Giles

Eh… he is missing the trademark Keynesian Moustache. I don’t think it’s so similar

Mrhuh August 29, 2009 at 12:30 am

It’s somewhat ironic how ridiculed he was by numerous “experts” who themselves are our current economic “experts”, as well as the fact that many of these people probably considered Mises to be some kind of fascist.

D. Saul Weiner August 29, 2009 at 7:19 pm

I believe that the sociologist who ridiculed Mises’ claims about socialism was, ironically enough, the one who shared the 1974 Nobel Prize with F.A. Hayek.

D. Saul Weiner August 29, 2009 at 8:22 pm

I believe that the sociologist who ridiculed Mises’ claims about socialism was, ironically enough, the one who shared the 1974 Nobel Prize with F.A. Hayek.

Bruce Koerber August 31, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Bettina Bien Greaves here writes a beautiful biographical article about Mises that also shows how devastaing inflation is. How many people have a clue? How many are prepared for its destructiveness?

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