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Did the Austrian School of Economics begin in Lviv? Ludwig von Mises - the greatest economist of the century

Yevhen Huliuk



Дата публікації

He was an honorary doctor of the universities in New York and Freiburg, a member of the American Economic Association and one of the most respected economists of his time. His student received the Nobel Prize in Economics. The hero of this text was among those whose talents and abilities managed to save Austria from hyperinflation in the early 20s of the twentieth century. Ludwig von Mises lived in large metropolises and near the centres that determined world politics and international trade. However, he was born in the Habsburg Empire's relatively quiet and cosy Lviv.

Людвіґ фон Мізес у дитинстві. Фото

Two brothers, one path

Harvard University professor and world-renowned mathematician Richard von Mises was a pilot in the Austro-Hungarian army during World War I. His brother, Ludwig von Mises, served as an artillery officer on the eastern front in Galicia.
Later, Ludwig was wounded, received an award, and went to work in the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, becoming an adviser on economic issues. However, the Ukrainian land did not let him go. Ludwig von Mises received a business trip to Odesa, where he was engaged in the creation of a central bank for the Ukrainian State of Hetman Pavlo Skoropadskyi. By the way, during the war, Ludwig von Mises managed to master the Ukrainian language quite well and could speak it.

Брати Ріхард, Людвіг і Карл із матір'ю Адель. Фото

As for the Mises brothers, despite their authority and recognition, the Mises brothers left Europe and moved to the United State during the next major military conflicts. Their life began in Lviv - in house number 13 on the modern Hnatiukа Street. The Mises family had long roots in Galicia. The great-great-grandfather of Ludwig von Mises was a wealthy Lviv merchant, and his great-grandfather received a noble title.
The grandfather of Ludwig von Mises managed a department of the Rothschild Bank in Lviv, and his father worked as an engineer in the construction of railways. Arthur and Adele von Mises were a very wealthy Jewish family from Lviv. Here they had three sons. Later the family moved to the capital of the Habsburg Empire, Vienna. The boys received their education and fame there.

Людвіґ фон Мізес. Фото

Like a Remarque character

Ludwig von Mises graduated from the University of Vienna. There he received the title of Doctor of Science. His mentor was the Minister of Finance of Austria-Hungary Eugen Böhm-Bawerk. After receiving his doctorate, Ludwig von Mises went to work at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, where he became an economic adviser. In 1912 he prepared his first scientific work: "The Theory of Money and Credit", which immediately brought the scientist recognition.

In the 20s of the twentieth century, Ludwig von Mises founded the Institute for Research on Economic Cycles. His student, Friedrich von Hayek, was a Nobel Prize winner in Economics and became the director of this institution. By the way, the noted work of the latter concerned the ideas and concepts of yesterday's Lviv citizens. At that time, Ludwig von Mises was busy with more practical things - saving the Austrian economy from hyperinflation.

Праці Людвіґа фон Мізеса

After the National Socialists came to power in Germany, Ludwig von Mises moved to Geneva, and in 1940 he left for the United States. Interestingly, he left Vienna the day before the Nazis annexed Austria. His apartment was then searched, and his books were banned and burned.
The Gestapo tried to get the scientist even in Switzerland. It was only by a miracle that Ludwig von Mises managed to get to Portugal and, from there, go with his wife by ship to the United States. Thus, at 60 years old, he had to start a new life.

Ludwig von Mises' classes were popular among students in the United States. However, his views did not find many like-minded people in the scientific community. Therefore, one of the scientist's contemporaries said that von Mises was "the greatest economist of the century - the next century".

Read more: “Great Lviv” by Godzimir Malachowski

Людвіґ фон Мізес - основоположник економічних теорій

A person in the centre of all processes

Ludwig von Mises is the founder of neoliberalism and the Austrian school of economics. This scientist argued that the main principle of the state economic strategy should be the individual, his needs and satisfaction.
He was against the planned centralized economy and argued that state intervention in the economy has disastrous results. Ludwig von Mises consistently demonstrated parallels between the Bolshevik and Nazi regimes in his writings. He characterized Lenin, Stalin and Hitler as figures obsessed with power. Resorting to terrorist methods of governing society and unlimited violence, they suppressed the people's will. 

Людвіґ фон Мізес - австрійський економіст

Instead, Ludwig von Mises considered capitalism to be the system that best suits human nature. He was a supporter of unlimited freedom of competition. This scientist is the developer of the theory of business cycles or cycles of entrepreneurial activity.
According to this idea, there is a periodic repetition of ups and downs in the economy. Further development of this concept earned Friedrich von Hayek, a student of Ludwig von Mises, the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Інститут австрійської економіки Людвіга фон Мізеса
The Ludwig von Mises Institute for Austrian Economics. Photo: Mises Institute.
Людвіґ фон Мізес з дружиною

Not a day without work... and so on until he was 92

Ludwig von Mises could speak Yiddish, German, French and Polish. He read Latin and understood Ukrainian. He was also fond of sports. In particular, mountain tourism and often playing tennis. As a child, I did not even think about economics. He dreamed of writing the history of the Crimean War (1853-1856). However, an English researcher managed to do it before him - in 9 volumes. Nevertheless, the first serious work of Ludwig von Mises did concern Ukrainian lands and was devoted to economic and social life in Galicia in the nineteenth century.

This scientist, it seems, always worked very hard. For example, in 1942, he was invited to Mexico to give lectures to students. Ludwig von Mises was in this country for only six weeks. It was enough for him to understand the situation in the region and, the following year, to publish a monograph on the economic problems of Mexico. Ludwig von Mises died at the age of 92 in New York. He continued to teach until he was 87.

Read more: Lviv French and the first Freemasons in the city. The family of Lenshan de Berier


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