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Aug 3, 2007 5:53 pm


No Substitute for History



The great economist Ludwig von Mises showed that economics can be deduced from the axiom that human beings act: individuals consciously select ends and apply scarce means to achieve them. By examining the logical implications of that undeniable fact, one can come to understand the concepts value, cost, time preference, supply, demand, money, price, profit, interest, and so on. In light of this, it is noteworthy that Mises was also an accomplished historian. And more than that, he was an important historiographer; that is, he was interested in the why and how of history. This theorist who is so identified with the a priori method in economics also believed that a knowledge of history and its methods was indispensable to understanding the world.
The rest of this week's TGIF column,"No Substitute for History," is at the Foundation for Economic Education website.

Cross-posted at Free Association.
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William J. Stepp - 8/7/2007

Hoisting a copy of Human Action [moment of silence], George Selgin once said the idea that "man acts" is trivially true and only becomes important when someone is foolish enough to deny it.
That said, both Mises and Rothbard made it clear that economics needs the empirical observation of the diversity of resources in addition to praxeological reasoning.


Sheldon Richman - 8/4/2007

Are you saying you do not select ends?


Sheldon Richman - 8/4/2007

And therefore void of information about the world? Get real.


Common Sense - 8/4/2007

The great economist Ludwig von Mises showed that economics can be deduced from the axiom that human beings act: individuals consciously select ends and apply scarce means to achieve them.

A tautology.


Common Sense - 8/4/2007

"The great economist Ludwig von Mises showed that economics can be deduced from the axiom that human beings act: individuals consciously select ends and apply scarce means to achieve them.

Wait. The proposition human beings act is either a tautology or a condemnation of people who cannot act (comatose)

Secondly, do you really think that there is no unconscious affect on behavior?

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