Review: Economy, Society, and History
Economy, Society, and History
by Hans-Hermann Hoppe
Mises Institute, 2021
In 2004, Hans Hoppe delivered a series of lectures at the Mises Institute about his theory of social evolution, and we are fortunate to have this volume, based on a transcript of those lectures, now available. As one would expect, the book contains much of interest, and in what follows I shall comment on only a few of the topics that this gifted and erudite scholar discusses.
Hoppe is a close student of Ludwig von Mises, and he emphasizes with great force some often neglected insights to be found in his work. One of the most valuable of these is that the advantages of exchanges using money over barter extend to worldwide trade as well as to trade within the local community or nation.
Now, as we imagine that the division of labor expands and ultimately reaches and encompasses the entire globe, as different regions begin to trade with each other, we can see that there will be in the market also a tendency for one type of regional money to outcompete other regional types of money, with the ultimate result to be expected being that there will be only one, or at most two types of money left over, which are used universally. (p. 45)
As Hoppe points out, Mises uses this insight about the benefits of widely extended trade to counter the social Darwinist claim that national or racial groups advance through violent struggle. It is, by the way, the height of ignorant fatuity to say that Mises himself was a social Darwinist, as the leftist historian Quinn Slobodian, for one, has not scrupled to do. If violent struggle explains social advancement, Mises asks, why would it not also apply to individuals within a group? “The next problem, the more decisive one, is that people who acc
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