Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises 1881 – 1973
Influential thinker, writer and teacher, Ludwig von Mises is a towering figure in the “Austrian School” of economic thought. As a stalwart defender of free market economics, private property and personal liberty, Mises is one of the most influential figures in modern economics.
While studying at the University of Vienna, Mises discovered Carl Menger’s Principles of Economics, setting young Ludwig on a path that would result in a lifetime of writing, codifying and teaching in the fields of economics, sociology, philosophy and political theory, The “Austrian School” of economic thought is popular for its support of the market and individual being allowed to freely trade without intervention or controls.
Mises played a pivotal role in Austria’s economic path following World War 1. In 1912 he published his highly influential book The Theory of Money and Credit which his student, Murray Rothbard, would call “…the best book on money ever written”.
Mises and Margit escaped Europe ahead of Nazi advancement in 1940 and settled in New York It was not long after he arrived that he published his most acclaimed work Human Action: A Treatise on Economics which effectively classifies economics as belonging within a study of praxeology, or one aspect in the study of human action. The work is vitally important in understanding the affect that an individual’s valuation of something has on their acquisition of it and thus the impact that valuation has on other market factors.
The Mises Institute
Mises is appreciated for his staunch opposition and life-long struggle to do all he could to curb the devastating tide of socialism, which he witnessed first-hand and was able to impact to some degree at home in Vienna. He argued successfully for sound money and the value of commodity-based currency and against government intervention recognizing the importance of individual liberty and property rights as intrinsic to a healthy market.
These ideas are still being promoted today through the work of the institute bearing his name. Established in Auburn, Alabama in 1982 by Llewellyn Rockwell, Jr., the Ludwig von Mises Institute has spread to influence the establishment of several institutes promoting free market principles around the world.
The Mises Silver Coin
The straight-forward and honest approach to the daunting subject of economics inspired the design of the coin which features a simple bust of Mises on the obverse in a now-iconic relaxed full face view. Gracing the top curve above his head is an abbreviation his favorite phrase Mises adopted while still in school: “TU NE CEDE MALIS” which is taken from Virgil’s The Aeneid. The full quote is “Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito (Latin: Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.) It speaks to the commitment Mises exercised throughout his career to never falter in his battle against socialism.
The reverse of the coin prominently displays the crest of the von Mises family now utilized by the Ludwig von Mises Institute as well as the name of the Institute and the slogan “Advancing the Austrian School of Economics” as well as the words “Liberty”, “Prosperity” and “Peace” and the corresponding marks of weight and purity.