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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10899/economics-and-moral-courage/

Economics and Moral Courage

October 23, 2009 by

Hans Mayer
Hans Mayer (1879–1955)

Hans Mayer was born in 1879, two years before Mises. He died in 1955. While Mises worked at the Chamber of Commerce because he was denied a paid position at the University of Vienna, Mayer served as one of three full professors there.

Yet he was no original thinker.

Mises wrote that his “lectures were miserable, and his seminar was not much better.” Mayer wrote only a handful of essays.

But then, his main concern had nothing to do with theory and nothing to do with ideas.

His focus was on academic power within the department and within the profession. FULL ARTICLE

{ 26 comments }

Steven October 23, 2009 at 7:26 am

Truly wonderful, Mr Rockwell. The efforts of you and the team are very much appreciated.

Mike C. October 23, 2009 at 9:37 am

Were it not for the valiant efforts and works of the gentle intellectual giants, such was Ludwig Von Mises, the struggle for freedom in our own time would be far more difficult.

Any person who could read Mr. Rockwell’s fine tribute without welling up a bit inside is in serious need of a moral compass check.

Ned Netterville October 23, 2009 at 10:06 am

I welled up. Thanks.

“Among the prizes are better titles, higher salaries, the ability to get the best possible teaching times, to reduce one’s teaching load (ideally to zero) and office hours, to advance one’s favorite people, to get a larger office with a puffier chair, to know all the right people in the profession, and, best of all, to lord it over others: to be able to reduce the influence of your enemies and increase the influence of your friends in a way that can cause people to become your lifetime minions and supplicants.”

And…you have an exponentially better chance of receiving a Nobel prize in economics.

Bala October 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm

One of those rare articles that make the tears well up in your eyes… that too in joy that such men did indeed live. Thanks a million for this piece.

CJ Maloney October 23, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Hands down, the best article that has ever been penned by Mr. Rockwell. Absolutely outstanding.

Abhilash Nambiar October 23, 2009 at 2:02 pm

When is the video for this coming up?

Malte October 23, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Great article!

Just remember the words of the great Gandhi:

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

I am very confident

Richie October 23, 2009 at 3:19 pm

I did hold my tears! But I understand how difficult it is to convince others of the truth that they don’t see or recognize. Mainly because they have been programmed/indoctrinated to think the way they do. Others have special interest to reject the truth.

Ohhh Henry October 23, 2009 at 3:48 pm

“What is at stake? Not that much. But as we know, the smaller the stakes, the more vicious the fight.”

It is not intuitive that smaller stakes would provoke a more vicious fight. More likely, its that the job of professorship provides no chance for financial advancement beyond the basic salary, unless one fights like a wildcat for the few and minor opportunities that exist for promotion within their department.

Professors’ knowledge is so esoteric that they have little or no career prospect outside of university, and the nature of tenure and the clubbishness of academic circles makes it difficult to seek a raise by jumping to another school.

Karen October 23, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Brilliant article, Mr Rockwell.

Mike October 23, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Tu ne cede malis

Described beautifully in this article.

Paul Stephens October 23, 2009 at 6:25 pm

I was wondering who was in charge, there! I’ll read this article carefully later, when I have more time.
Just one comment/correction for now.
“Among the mainstream, however, no one saw it coming.”
The Economist has consistently analyzed and predicted much of what happened, from a variety of schools and perspectives. Of course, they are predominantly “Keynesian” (whatever that means – certainly Keynes would not recognize the “Keynesian analysis” we have, today, or the politically-driven corporate media which only distorts and conceals what is really happening).
And I don’t see any hope for recovery under the current regime. The only question is, can the rest of the world avoid the disaster which Wall Street and K-Street have inflicted on us? The movement away from the U.S. dollar and American “globalization” is a good thing.
We are entering a period of hyperinflation, de-industrialization, and extreme poverty for nearly everyone. Many billionaire “gangster capitalists” are building their final strongholds here in Montana – they hope to survive, thinking we are like Switzerland. But we lack its independence, military, and democratic traditions. They will find no safe haven, here – Jewish or otherwise.

joe blowe October 23, 2009 at 8:43 pm

Wonderful article. The world today seems poised to succumb again to the absurd ideas of Socialism. This is the hour of grave concern and above all great need for your work. Thank you.

Adam Knott October 23, 2009 at 11:26 pm

CJ Maloney:

“Hands down, the best article that has ever been penned by Mr. Rockwell. Absolutely outstanding.”

Yes, agreed.

Great Lew.

Adam

James October 24, 2009 at 12:05 am

I’m surprised it wasn’t mentioned that this article is basically the speech that Mr. Rockwell gave at the “Will The Decline Continue” conference. I’ve already listened to it twice in the last few weeks. It’s right there in the Media section on this site.

Paul Stephens October 24, 2009 at 8:24 am

There was a lot of history here I didn’t know, but a lot more is still to be uncovered and understood (at least by me).
We definitely need another Hazlitt. His “Economics in One Lesson”, of which millions of copies were printed and distributed – often free – seems to be totally unknown by members of Congress and other politicians and public finance people. Basically, it’s the idea of “opportunity cost.” Whatever we spend (or waste) on one thing is money which could have been spent on something useful – which actually serves human needs rather than corporate bottom-lines or padded govt. payrolls.
That is the fallacy of Keynesianism – that more govt. spending for any purpose (or for no purpose at all) somehow “stimulates” the economy and makes us better-off. Obviously, the exact opposite is true. It’s like being addicted to amphetamines – bought on credit.
No mention here of Ludwig’s brother, Richard – at least as famous as a statistician. Yet, Ludwig always said that mathematics was useless in economic analysis – basically denying macro-economics entirely.
Ragnar Frisch, the first Nobel Laureate, invented econometrics, and it is a big field, today. Apparently governments don’t listen to them, either.
The Nazi economic policies which drove Mises to America seem to have followed him, here. A combination of a runaway military-industrial complex, police state, and fervent “anti-communism.” Most Jews became socialists, democrats, and political libertarians – often based on Marx’s “critique of capitalism.” The Austrians somehow saw this as a greater threat than the corporate fascism which prevailed in the 1930′s and through WWII. That was a big mistake.
Popper was wiser, I think, seeing the Scandinavian welfare states and “social market economies” as the best answer – not “laissez faire capitalism,” which now, more than ever, seems to be a chimera or contradiction in terms.
When the Soviet Union and Comecon collapsed, most people there were anxious to read Hayek and Popper (via his disciple, Soros) and follow the Scandinavian example. Instead, we have forced NATO and a new “cold war militarism” on them. It’s all very tragic, and we Americans are paying for it through the nose.

Other October 26, 2009 at 6:15 am

Ill represent the opposing view. So Mises got the immortality of ideas, but what good was it to him? He is dead now just like Mayer, he cant enjoy the fruits of his work.

Meanwhile, when they were alive, Mayer had apparently a much wealthier and easy-going life compared to Mises, enjoyed some level of celebrity and possibly had better luck with ladies due to wealth and status. Seems like Mises got the short end of the stick to me.

Stephen Grossman October 26, 2009 at 10:13 am

Paul Stephens: The Economist has consistently analyzed and predicted much of what happened, from a variety of schools and perspectives.

How is this possible? Coincidence?

Thomas Talionis October 26, 2009 at 1:10 pm

@ Stephens.

Ron Paul and Peter Schiff also predicted this whole mess. Because they are Austrians.

I’d like to know which other schools made this prediction. Also, you don’t think the Austrians saw Fascism/Corporatism as a threat? And you don’t think the Scandanavian economies comingle the Corporation and the State? And you really think the grass is greener in your neighbor’s yard?

Minnesota Chris October 26, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Chris Manion mentioned on the LRC blog that this talk was given at George Mason, but apparently he also delivered it at the Mises Circle in Seattle in September, which can be viewed here.

I agree, this was one of Mr. Rockwell’s finest speeches!

cavalier973 October 26, 2009 at 3:56 pm

Other: if von Mises had the same view as yours, then he most certainly got the short end of the stick. There are other motivations than pleasure, however; or, more properly, not everyone derives the same amount of pleasure from various activities. If Mises spent his life doing what he loved (which was, apparently, thinking things through), then I don’t see where he got the short end of the stick, even if his preferences differed from mine.

Thomas Talionis October 26, 2009 at 5:38 pm

Excellent point, Cavalier.

A major flaw with Marx’ theory of alienation is that he purports to know what makes another man happy.

I’ve found that many Leftists are guilty of this, especially through central planning. That’s why I believe in leaving people alone to live their lives unhindered. But that’s just me.

Thomas Talionis October 26, 2009 at 5:49 pm
The Comrade October 27, 2009 at 8:56 am

Just checked, and I can confirm that there is indeed no Wikipedia entry for Hans Mayer, economist, as at 28/10/09. Great way to illustrate your point Lew.

I remembered a lot of this speech from when I heard it on Youtube a while back, but it was poignant enough to read through fully again. GG Mr. Rockwell.

Gernot Hassenpflug October 27, 2009 at 9:54 pm

Indeed, welling up noted. As an Austrian by nationality, and student of history, the history of the 1930′s is of course painful enough even without the story of personal moral courage here described. A truly uplifting article, the speech version too must have evoked much emotion.
Well done. This has given fortitude to my own well of moral courage.

Anonymous poster March 19, 2010 at 9:59 am

This being the first time I’ve ever made any posts on this site, ever, I can say that this article, though having been out for a little while now, is something I find myself thinking about often, and coming back to occasionally.

As far as a daily article goes, nothing gets more groundbreaking than this.

Kudos to Lew for getting this out there.

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