The problems with the Mises Institute
Let me take a moment to give you a brief public notice. Since I regularly recommend that readers head to the Mises Institute for rational writing in economics, I need to also let you know that I have serious reservations about their non-economic writing.
That is to say that when the economists of the Mises Institute write about economics, using the insights of the Austrian tradition of economics, there are few better – as last year’s much-needed Bailout Reader should demonstrate. When the Institute’s economists write outside their field however, they are universally awful. Specifically, they are awful on intellectual property, on foreign policy, on religion, on anarchy, and on how the South will rise again. (On morning drinking, of course, they’re fundamentally sound.)
And they’re not just awful: their writings on these subjects are in opposition to Ludwig von Mises’s own writings on these subjects – or the first four subjects, anyway. So as a “Mises Institute” it’s only on economics (and morning drinking) they can be taken seriously on “what Mises would have said.”
Just thought you should know. In my view, for all their heroic work in resuscitating the economic thoughts and writing of Ludwig von Mises and his colleagues in the Austrian tradition, the Mises Institute should more accurately be re-named the Rothbard Institute, with all that implies.
And for those still confused about Mises’s own views on intellectual property (which includes his followers at the Mises Institute), Mises’s translator, editor, and bibliographer Bettina Bien Greaves summarises here. Short story: “Without copyright protection, musicians, authors, and composers are in the position of having to bear all the costs of production while the benefits go to others.”