On Professor Ludwig von Mises’s 70th Birthday
Abstract: This newly translated tribute to Ludwig von Mises was written by Hans Mayer on the occasion of Mises’s 70th birthday in 1951. It was published in the Zeitschrift für Nationalökonomie in 1952. In it, Mayer expresses a surprisingly favorable opinion of Mises as an accomplished scholar, despite some misgivings regarding the latter’s policy stance and the incorrect–in his view–characterization of the Austrian School as the ‘School of Liberalism.’
Author note: This text contains the complete version of an article, honouring Professor Mises’s scientific significance, that was requested from me by the Viennese daily newspaper Die Presse (see No. 896 of September 30, 1951), but that was printed only in very abridged form.
The translators wish to express their sincere gratitude to Dr. Karl Friedrich Israel, from Universität Leipzig, Germany, and Dr. Eduard Braun, from the Technische Universität Clausthal, Germany, for their detailed review of the early draft.
A distinguished personality from the scholarly circles belonging to the “Austrian School of Economics.” Prof. Ludwig Mises, celebrates his 70th birthday today, far from but not alienated from his homeland. Educated at the “Academic Gymnasium” in Vienna, where so many men of significant importance for the cultural and political life of Austria originated, Prof. Mises turned to economic investigations already during his legal and political studies at the University of Vienna, initially under the direction of Prof Grünberg’s research on economic history (the liberation of peasants in Austria), but very soon turning to the field of exact theory under the paramount influence of the teachings of Carl Menger, Böhm-Bawerk, and Friedrich Wieser, revolutionizing economic theory at the time. In this area, some difficult problems were still waiting to be solved and logically integrated into the new system based on the theory of subjective value. Above all, a theory of money was missing. This became one of the problems around which the scientific life work of Prof. Mises revolved. A second focus of his continued scientific interest laid in an organizational and sociological area: the analysis of the viability and performance of the different economic (structural) systems or organizational forms (the free market economy, the socialist planned economy, etc.). In both areas, Mises has strongly intervened in the scientific discussion of the most current issues through numerous publications. His habilitation thesis Theorie des Geldes und der Umlaufsmittel (1912, 2nd edition 1924) was undoubtedly a significant accomplishment for the period in which Knapp’s State Theory of Money caused confusion (not only amongst the “practitioners”), but it was also—especially in its historical and critical remarks—an excellent introduction to the theory of money. The pursued end goal of deducing the value of money in its ultimate origins from subjective evaluations, however, was just as little achieved by Mises as in later investigation by Wieser, Zwiedineck, and Aftalion in their Income Theories of Money. Still, it must be noted that Mises already ascribed a very significant influence to the amount of cash-balances held by the various economic agents whe
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