The Classical Tradition
By Ludwig von Mises
Edited by Bettina Bien Greaves
The term "liberalism" comes from the Latin word liber meaning "free." Mises defines liberalism as "the liberal doctrine of the harmony of the rightly understood interests of all members of a free society founded on the principle of private ownership of the means of production." This book presents the theoretical and practical arguments for liberalism in the classical tradition.
he foundation of liberalism, Mises says, rests on an understanding and appreciation of private property, social cooperation, the freedom idea, ethics and morality, democracy, and the legitimate role of government. Liberalism is not a political party; it is a system of social organization. The liberal program aims at securing equality under law and freedom of opportunity for everyone to make their own choices and decisions, so long as they do not interfere with the equal rights of others; it offers no special privileges to anyone. Under liberalism, the role of government would be limited to protecting the lives, property, and freedom of its citizens to pursue their own ends and goals. Mises is more specific here than elsewhere in applying the liberal program to economic policy, domestic and foreign. Also in this book, Mises contrasts liberalism with other conceivable systems of social organization such as socialism, communism, and fascism.
Publication Date: November 2005
Preface (1985), preface to the English-language edition, introduction, editorial footnotes, appendix, bibliography, index.
Paperback also available.
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