Great Economists Since Petty and Boisguilbert
Edited by Gilbert Faccarello and Heinz D. Kurz
Chapter 72: Ludwig Heinrich von Mises (1881–1973)
Ludwig Heinrich von Mises was born in Lemberg (capital of Galicia, then a province of the Habsburg empire, today Lviv, Ukraine) on 29 September 1881 and died in New York 18 October 1973. His father was a Jewish-Austrian railroad engineer. The family moved to Vienna soon after Ludwig’s birth, where he attended an elite grammar school and the University of Vienna (1900–1906). Like most other Austrian economists, he enrolled in the Faculty of Law, earning his doctoral degree in 1906 and becoming a member of Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk’s famous seminar. Mises’s professional achievements in academia remained modest in comparison to his scholarly accomplishments. After his habilitation in 1913, he taught as Privatdozent and later as “extraordinary” professor without a salary. Until he left Austria in 1934, he spent most of his professional life as an economist for the Viennese chamber of commerce. In the 1920s and early 1930s, he became influential as an adviser to the centre-right coalition governments of the First Austrian Republic. In the 1920s, he inaugurated a private seminar, attracting brilliant young economists and social theorists such as Gottfried Haberler, Friedrich August von Hayek, Felix Kaufmann, Fritz Machlup, Oskar Morgenstern, Paul Rosenstein-Rodan and Alfred Schütz. As a consequence of the surge of the Nazi movement in Germany and the concomitant menace regarding the political situation in Austria, Mises moved to the Institut Universitaire des Hautes Études Internationales in Geneva in 1934, where he was offered a paid professorship. After the defeat of the French...
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