Mises Institute

The Mises Institute,[4] short name for Ludwig von Mises Institute for Austrian Economics, is a nonprofit organization of economic education located in Auburn, Alabama, United States.[5] It is named after Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) because it promotes teaching and research in the Austrian School of economics and Misesian views on social and political philosophy.[6]

Mises Institute
MottoAustrian Economics, freedom and peace
Founder(s)Lew Rockwell, Murray Rothbard, Burton Blumert, Henry Hazlitt
Established1982 (1982)
MissionPromoting Austrian economics, freedom, and peace in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises through research, publishing, and education. Defense of the market economy, private property, sound money, and peaceful international relations.[1]
FocusEconomics education, Austrian economics, libertarianism
Key peopleLew Rockwell (Chairman)
Jeff Deist (President)
Joseph Salerno (Editor
Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics)
BudgetRevenue: $4,200,056
Expenses: $4,165,289
(FYE 2017)[3]
Location, ,
United States

The Mises Institute was founded in 1982 by Lew Rockwell, Burton Blumert, and Murray Rothbard, following a split between the Cato Institute and Rothbard, who had been one of the founders of the Cato Institute.[7] Additional backing for the founding of the Institute came from Mises's wife, Margit von Mises, Henry Hazlitt, Lawrence Fertig, and Nobel Economics Laureate Friedrich Hayek.[8][9] Through its publications, the Institute promotes Austrian School economic method and theories,[10][11] and libertarian political economy following the intellectual tradition of Mises and his disciples.[12][13]

While the institute does not consider itself strictly a think tank,[14] according to a popularity ranking of 2015 the Mises Institute ranked as the 9th most influential think tank in the United States.[15]

Background and location

Further information: Split among the contemporary Austrian School

The Ludwig von Mises Institute was established in 1982 in the wake of a dispute which occurred in the early 1980s between Murray Rothbard and the Cato Institute, another libertarian organization co-founded by Rothbard.[16][17] Llewellyn Rockwell has stated that the Mises Institute met strong opposition from parties affiliated with the Koch family, Rothbard's former backers at Cato.[18][19] Rothbard was the Mises Institute's vice president and head of academic programs until his death in 1995.[20]

The Institute states that its founding ambition is to be "the research and educational center of classical liberalism, libertarian political theory, and the Austrian School of economics".[21] It has reprinted works by Mises, Rothbard, Hayek, and others. It presents the annual "Austrian Economics Research Conference" (AERC) and "Mises University", at which Austrian School thinkers meet, and Institute personnel teach and advise students, respectively. The Institute reports that its library holds nearly 35,000 volumes, including Rothbard's personal library.[22]

Early after its founding, the Mises Institute was located at the business department offices of Auburn University, and relocated nearby to its current site in 1998.[23] According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, the Institute chose its Auburn location for low cost of living and "good ol' Southern hospitality". The article goes on "to make an additional point", that "Southerners have always been distrustful of government," making the South a natural home for the organization's libertarian outlook.[24] The institute has a staff of 16 Senior Fellows and about 70 adjunct scholars from the United States and other countries.[25]

Views espoused by founders and organization scholars

In a 2006 article published on the Wall Street Journal's website, Kyle Wingfield credited the Institute for helping make the "Heart of Dixie a wellspring of sensible economic thinking."[26] Wingfield pointed to the Institute's publication and promotion of the work of Mises and other Austrian economists, who he characterizes as advocating "limited government, lower taxes, stronger private property rights and less business regulation."

Method of economics

The Institute scholary work is founded in Misesian praxeology ('the logic of action'), that holds that economic science is a deductive science instead an empirical science. For the Institute, praxeology is an economic method based on premises about human action known with certainty to be philosophically true (using the analytic–synthetic distinction of Immanuel Kant).[11] Developed by Ludwig von Mises, following the Methodenstreit opened by Carl Menger, is a self-conscious opposition to the mathematical modeling and hypothesis-testing used to justify knowledge in neoclassical economics.[27][28] Externally, this economic method usually is considered a form of heterodox economics.[29]

Forms of government

The Institute has published works by authors critical of various forms of government, including democracy, which was called coercive,[30] incompatible with wealth creation,[31] replete with inner contradictions,[32] and a system of legalized graft.[33] To many of these authors, the distinction lies not in the form of government, but in the degree of liberty individuals in a society actually enjoy.[30] Lew Rockwell notably said "the best way to teach your kids about taxes is by eating thirty percent of their ice cream." [34]

Intellectual property

Mises Institute has published the writing of Mises Academy instructor Stephan Kinsella in opposition to intellectual property. Kinsella believes that intellectual property law not only violates property rights, but undermines social well-being from a utilitarian perspective.[35]

American Civil War and the Confederacy

A 2000 "Intelligence Report" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, categorized the Institute as Neo-Confederate, "devoted to a radical libertarian view of government and economics."[36] In 2003, Lew Rockwell responded to this criticism by saying: "The Mises Institute recently came under fire from one of these watchdog groups that claims to oppose intolerance and hate. What was our offense? We have published revisionist accounts of the origins of the Civil War that demonstrate that the tariff bred more conflict between the South and the feds than slavery. For that, we were decried as a dangerous institutional proponent of 'neoconfederate' ideology. Why not just plain old Confederate ideology."[37]

Publications, conferences, activities and awards

The Mises Institute makes available a large number of books, journal articles, and other writings online, and archives various writings on its website. Its Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics discusses Austrian economics.[38] It published the Journal of Libertarian Studies from 1977 to 2008.[39] The Mises Review has been published since 1995, the quarterly review of literature in the social sciences being currently edited by David Gordon. Currently, the Mises Institute offers a free bi-monthly newsletter called The Austrian, available in print and digitally online. It is the successor of The Free Market (1983–2013).[40]

The Institute presents the annual Schlarbaum Prize for "lifetime defense of liberty", a $10,000 prize given to a public intellectual or scholar. Laureates have included U.S. Congressman Ron Paul and economists Walter Block and Hans-Hermann Hoppe. Other honors include the Murray Rothbard Medal (also won by Block, Hoppe and Paul, as well as by economic historian Gary North), the Ludwig von Mises Entrepreneurship Award, the O.P. Alford III Prize, the Douglas E. French Prize, the Elgin Groseclose Award for money writing, and the Fertig Prize.[41]

Notable scholars

Noted scholars include:[42]


The Mises Institute has been criticized by some libertarians for the incorporation of paleolibertarian and right-wing cultural views, including the positions taken by some of its leading figures on topics such as race, immigration, and the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.[48][49][50] Often these criticisms affirm that there are aspects of the paleolibertarian ideology that supposedly are at odds with the views of the historical Ludwig von Mises,[51] nevertheless the institute quotes Mises works to support the perspective that Mises had some right-wing views on cultural issues like morality, family and nation from a psychological and sociological basis.[52][53] In an article written on Institute Chairman Lew Rockwell's website, Jacob Huebert observes that socially liberal libertarians have often accused the Mises Institute of racism. He calls the charges erroneous and argues that they might stem from the support of some Institute scholars for immigration restrictions, its support of Confederate secession, or its uncompromising stand on libertarian issues and property rights.[54]

In 2003, Chip Berlet of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an American nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation, described the Mises Institute as "a major center promoting libertarian political theory and the Austrian School of free market economics", also noting Rothbard's opposition to child labor laws and the anti-immigrant views of other Institute scholars.[55]

See also


  1. About The Mises Institute. Accessed November 23, 2012
  2. "Mises Academy:What Is The Mises Institute; What We Do". June 18, 2014.
  3. "Mises Institute in Charity Navigator". Charity Navigator. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  4. The Mises Institute's New Look
  5. Sam Tanenhaus and Jim Rutenberg (January 25, 2014). "Rand Paul's Mixed Inheritance". New York Times. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  6. Its website states that it exists to promote "teaching and research in the Austrian school of economics, and individual freedom, honest history, and international peace, in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises and Murray N. Rothbard.""What is the Mises Institute?". Mises Institute. Mises Institute. June 18, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  7. Utley, Jon Basil (May 4, 2009). "Freedom fighter". The American Conservative. ISSN 1540-966X. Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved September 16, 2013. In memoriam.(subscription required)
  8. Peterson, William H. (2009). Mises in America. Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-1933550428.
  9. According to the Mises.org website, Nobel Prize winner Friedrich Hayek served on their founding board. See: Ludwig von Mises Institute: Literature Library
  10. "What is Austrian Economics"? Mises.org
  11. Mises Institute in Charity Navigator: «It is the mission of the Mises Institute to restore a high place for theory in economics and the social sciences, encourage a revival of critical historical research, and draw attention to neglected traditions in Western philosophy.» Charity Navigator
  12. What is Mises Wire?: «Mises Wire offers contemporary news and opinion through the lens of Austrian economics and libertarian political economy.» From Mises Institute.
  13. Mises Institute in Charity Navigator: «Founded in 1982, the Mises Institute is the research and educational center of classical liberalism, libertarian political theory, and the Austrian School of economics.» Charity Navigator
  14. Mises Institute Ranked 9th Most Influential US Think Tank. Mises Institute
  15. The 50 Most Influential Think Tanks in the United States. The Best Schools is part of the National Association for College Admission Counseling and the American Council on Education.
  16. Rockwell, Lew. "Libertarianism and the Old Right." Mises.org. August 5, 2006.
  17. Stromberg, Joseph (August 2, 2000). "Raimondo on Rothbard and Rothbard on Everything". Retrieved January 10, 2010.
  18. Gordon, David (April 22, 2008). "The Kochtopus vs. Murray N. Rothbard". LewRockwell.com. Archived from the original on December 20, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
  19. In the 1980s, Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard developed a paleolibertarian strategy, a culturally conservative conception of libertarianism to counter left- or liberal-libertarianism. In an article about the Ron Paul Newsletter controversy, Austrian economist Steven Horwitz discussed the strategy and said the Institute at the time had "numerous connections with all kinds of unsavory folks: racists, anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers". See: Dalmia, Shikha (December 25, 2011). "The Right Way for Ron Paul to Respond to Newsletter Controversy." Reason, citing Horowitz, Steve (December 23, 2011). "How Did We Get Here? Or, Why Do 20 Year Old Newsletters Matter So Damn Much?". Bleeding Heart Libertarians.
  20. "About the Mises Institute." Mises.org
  21. "About the Mises Institute." Mises.org
  22. "Ward & Massey Libraries". Mises.org. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  23. "The Mises Campus". Mises.org. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  24. Wingfield, Kyle. "Auburnomics: Von Mises finds a sweet home in Alabama." Wall Street Journal. August 11, 2006.
  25. "Faculty Members". Mises.org. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  26. Wingfield, Kyle (August 4, 2006). "Sweet Home Alabama." The Wall Street Journal Online
  27. What Is the Mises Institute? Mission Statement.
  28. Praxeology: The Methodology of Austrian Economics Praxeology: The Methodology of Austrian Economics. Murray N. Rothbard (1976)
  29. Lee, Frederic S., and Cronin, Bruce C. (2010). "Research Quality Rankings of Heterodox Economic Journals in a Contested Discipline." American Journal of Economics and Sociology. 69(5): 1428 (subscription required)
  30. Christopher Mayer (February 16, 2000). "Democracy is Coercive".
  31. "Does Democracy Threaten the Free Market? – N. Joseph Potts – Mises Institute". April 10, 2003.
  32. "Chapter 5 – Binary Intervention: Government Expenditures (continued)".
  33. Does Democracy Promote Peace? - James Ostrowski - Mises Daily (2001)
  34. Peterson, William H. (2009). Mises in America. Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute. pp. 81–82. ISBN 978-1933550428.
  35. Kinsella, Stephan (September 4, 2009). "The Case Against IP: A Concise Guide." Mises.org
  36. "The Neo-Confederates". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Summer 2000.
  37. Rockwell, Lew (2003). Speaking of Liberty (PDF). Ludwig von Mises Institute. p. 362. ISBN 9780945466383. OCLC 54794604.
  38. "The Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics". November 23, 2014.
  39. "Journal of Libertarian Studies".
  40. "The Austrian".
  41. "Mises Institute Awards." Mises.org
  42. "Faculty Members" Ludwig von Mises Institute
  43. History and Principles, Property and Freedom Society (2009)
  44. Peter Klein, Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business. Retrieved 22 December 2017
  45. See, e.g., May 1990 issue of The Free Market and Mises.org blog comment
  46. "Senior Fellows, Faculty Members, and Staff." Ludwig von Mises Institute
  47. Ludwig von Mises Institute
  48. From the Top: Ron Paul's Mistake. Reason Magazine
  49. Paul Disowns Extremists’ Views but Doesn’t Disavow the Support. New York Times
  50. The Rhetoric of Libertarians and the Unfortunate Appeal to the Alt-Right. Steven Horowitz
  51. Ludwig von Mises Wouldn’t Recognize the Ludwig von Mises Institute As It Exists Today. The Jack News
  52. Cultural Thought of Ludwig von Mises (1991)
  53. Mises on the Family. Lew Rockwell (1998): "Proposals to transform the relations between the sexes have long gone hand in hand with plans for the socialization of the means of production." "Marriage is to disappear along with private property.... Socialism promises not only welfare-wealth for all-but universal happiness in love as well." Ludwig von Mises, Socialism, first published in 1922.
  54. Huebert, Jacob (December 20, 2002). "The Ludwig von Mises Legacy: A Reality Check." LewRockwell.com
  55. Berlet, Chip (Summer 2003). "Into the Mainstream". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved September 24, 2013.

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