Mises, Ludwig von
We learn and profit much from the series of books and papers in which, during the last sixty years, Mises stated, elaborated and strengthened his position. Each and every one of them deserves detailed discussion. Here we start presentation of his third magnum opus, which first appeared in Switzerland in a German edition in 1940, and ten years later in a rewritten English edition under the title Human Action. It covers a wider field than even political economy, and it is still under evaluated. Mises' contribution is very simple, yet at the same time extremely profound. He points out that the whole economy is the result of what individuals do. Individuals act, choose, cooperate, compete, and trade with one another. In this way Mises explains how complex market phenomena develop. Mises do not simply describe economic phenomena -- prices, wages, interest rates, money, monopoly and even the trade cycle -- he explains them as the outcomes of countless conscious, purposive actions, choices, and preferences of individuals, each of whom was trying as best as he or she could under the circumstances to attain various wants and ends and to avoid undesired consequences. Hence the title Mises chose for his economic treatise, Human Action. We shall not know the full effects of this work. But we have no doubt that, in the long run, it will prove its importance.