Does Morality Hamper the Market Process? A Reappraisal of the Mises Thesis

Journal of Markets and Morality, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp.43-54, Spring 2001

Posted: 8 Aug 2006

See all articles by Scott Alex Beaulier

Scott Alex Beaulier

Mercer University

David L Prychitko

Northern Michigan University - Department of Economics

Abstract

Ludwig von Mises pioneered the praxeological critique of economic interventionism. He argued that the state's manipulation of market processes through wage and price controls, taxes and subsidies, central bank credit manipulation, and other regulatory policies would create unintended and undesirable consequences, and, therefore, further rounds of intervention. Mounting interventions would systematically disturb market processes and tend toward central economic planning. But Mises erred in his later attempt to equate moral reformism, especially the call for a morally improved capitalism, with interventionism. He claimed that moral reforms would, like any kind of economic intervention, hinder market processes and logically lead toward authoritarian control of the economy. Mises therefore insisted that a morally improved capitalism is unworkable. If Mises is correct, the effort of this Journal is not only in vain, it might unwittingly point in the direction of authoritarianism. This article puts Mises' praxeological reasoning to the test. We argue that his conclusions cannot be accepted as deduced from solid economic analysis and praxeological reasoning. Mises failed to provide a successful a priori argument showing that the logic of moral persuasion necessarily hampers market processes and logically tends toward authoritarianism.

Keywords: Ludwig von Mises, interventionism, economics, morality

JEL Classification: B31, P16, A13, B53

Suggested Citation

Beaulier, Scott Alex and Prychitko, David L., Does Morality Hamper the Market Process? A Reappraisal of the Mises Thesis. Journal of Markets and Morality, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp.43-54, Spring 2001, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=922078

Scott Alex Beaulier (Contact Author)

Mercer University ( email )

1400 Coleman Avenue
Macon, GA 31207

David L. Prychitko

Northern Michigan University - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Northern Michigan University
Marquette, MI 49855
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
527
PlumX Metrics