Human Action

Human Action

Human Action: A Treatise on Economics is the magnum opus of the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises. It presents a case for laissez-faire capitalism based on Mises' praxeology, or rational investigation of human decision-making. It rejects positivism within economics. It defends an a priori epistemology and underpins praxeology with a foundation of methodological individualism and laws of apodictic certainty. Mises argues that the free-market economy not only outdistances any government-planned system, but ultimately serves as the foundation of civilization itself.

Nationalökonomie: Theorie Des Handelns und Wirthschaftens is the 1940 German-language predecessor to Human Action.


Part One: Human Action
I. Acting Man
II. The Epistemological Problems of the Sciences of Human Action
III. Economics and the Revolt Against Reason
IV. A First Analysis of the Category of Action
V. Time
VI. Uncertainty
VII. Action Within the World

Part Two: Actions Within the Framework of Society
VIII. Human Society
IX. The Role of Ideas
X. Exchange Within Society

Part Three: Economic Calculation
XI. Valuation Without Calculation
XII. The Sphere of Economic Calculation
XIII. Monetary Calculation as a Tool of Action

Part Four: Catallactics or Economics of the Market Society
XIV. The Scope and Method of Catallactics
XV. The Market
XVI. Prices
XVII. Indirect Exchange
XVIII. Action in the Passing of Time
XIX. The Rate of Interest
XX. Interest, Credit Expansion, and the Trade Cycle
XXI. Work and Wages
XXII. The Nonhuman Original Factors of Production
XXIII. The Data of the Market
XXIV. Harmony and Conflict of Interests

Part Five: Social Cooperation Without a Market
XXV. The Imaginary Construction of a Socialist Society
XXVI. The Impossibility of Economic Calculation Under Socialism

Part Six: The Hampered Market Economy
XXVII. The Government and the Market
XXVIII. Interference by Taxation
XXIX. Restriction of Production
XXX. Interference with the Structure of Prices
XXXI. Currency and Credit Manipulation
XXXII. Confiscation and Redistribution
XXXIII. Syndicalism and Corporativism
XXXIV. The Economics of War
XXXV. The Welfare Principle Versus the Market Principle
XXXVI. The Crisis of Interventionism

Part Seven: The Place of Economics in Society
XXXVII. The Nondescript Character of Economics
XXXVIII. The Place of Economics in Learning
XXXIX. Economics and the Essential Problems of Human Existence

Publishing history

  • The first edition of the work came out in 1949, from the Yale University Press
  • The revised and expanded second edition came out in 1963. This edition, also by the Yale University Press, was full of mistakes and another one had to be done quickly afterwards, by another editor.
  • The revised third edition came out in 1966 from Henry Regney.
  • The fourth edition came out in 1996, with revisions by Bettina B. Greaves. Available in hardback single (Liberty Fund, ISBN 0-86597-630-9) and four volume paperback editions (Liberty Fund, ISBN 0865976317), as well as single volume paperback (Fox & Wilkes, ISBN 0930073185).
  • In 1998 the Ludwig von Mises Institute brought back the first edition as the "Scholars Edition" ISBN 0945466242.


See also

External links

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