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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/3756/mises-or-orwell/

Mises or Orwell

June 28, 2005 by

Some students in Moscow do seem rather confused on Mises’s contribution. Says the Moscow Times: college students were asked the name of the author of “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchic Collectivism,” a work invented by George Orwell in 1984, his satirical masterpiece about the Stalinist Soviet Union. In a multiple choice quiz, all but one marked Ludwig von Mises. (The full Moscow Times article was available yesterday but only to subscribers today.)


Dennis Sperduto June 28, 2005 at 8:52 am

I believe that most college graduates in the U.S. with majors in the social sciences have never even heard of Ludwig von Mises, not to mention being unable to name one of his major works. In my own experience, I have worked with several individuals that majored in economics as undergraduates and/or have Masters degrees in economics that have never heard of Mises. Given that Orwell’s “1984″ was also mentioned in the posting, maybe this situation is the economics profession’s equivalent of the Orwellian memory hole for Mises and his work.

Pete Canning June 28, 2005 at 9:49 am

My experience with undergraduate economics majors is that they cannot even name three economists, let alone having heard of Mises.

dearieme June 28, 2005 at 9:59 am

Pete, it would be economical of them to name Ludwig, Vaughan and Mises?

Edward June 28, 2005 at 10:54 am

Most students have a total lack of historical understanding. I can picture them thinking: “Hmm… a German sounding name, he must be a fascist!”

Curt Howland June 28, 2005 at 12:26 pm

As heretical as this may seem on a “Named” web site, I’m not sure that it matters all that much.

If the theories and practices are being taught, it doesn’t matter if the poor student doesn’t know who coined them. Does a mathematician need to know whether it was Leibnitz or Newton who invented calculus? No, not if all they’re interested in is using it.

However, there is far too much being taught that isn’t true, too much being said that has no basis in reality. Starting by getting the people correct is as good a place to start correcting error as any.

I was surprised to be talking to a Columbia University graduated social worker recently. I said that with the things Columbia graduates say, I didn’t expect anyone from Columbia would have ever heard of Mises or Rothbard. She surprised me by saying that she certainly had heard of them.

Obviously, just knowing the names doesn’t mean one has received the lessons.

David Heinrich June 28, 2005 at 1:54 pm

Alot of professors don’t even know who Ludwig von Mises was, or his contributions to economics.

Pete Canning June 28, 2005 at 3:03 pm

Don’t worry Curt, kids aren’t getting taught anything at all.

strapped for cash June 28, 2005 at 3:43 pm

here at my university in France, there’s one copy of HUMAN ACTION referenced in the electronic catalog; however it’s referenced as “missing”… Incredibly there also a vintage copy of Bureaucracy 1949 in translation (we are here talking about a French University library) : I don’t think it averages one check-out (is this the correct word for borrowing a book in a library ??…) by students per decades !!!!

Artisan June 29, 2005 at 3:43 am

Usually I’m the one spreading all the pessimism, but as I tend to like pluralism as well, I feel like giving a slightly different point of view concerning these posts:
Isn’t the truly great news here, that a Russian (!!!) newspaper both knows Mises and Orwell ?

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