Ludwig von Mises (29 September 1881 – 10 October 1973) was an Austrian School economist, historian, and sociologist. Mises wrote and lectured extensively on behalf of classical liberalism. In his magnum opus Human Action, Mises adopted praxeology as a general conceptual foundation of the social sciences and set forth his methodological approach to economics.
In 1920, Mises introduced in an article his Economic Calculation Problem as a critique of socialisms which are based on planned economies and renunciations of the price mechanism. In his first article “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth”, Mises describes the nature of the price system under capitalism and describes how individual subjective values are translated into the objective information necessary for rational allocation of resources in society. Mises argued that the pricing systems in socialist economies were necessarily deficient because if a public entity owned all the means of production, no rational prices could be obtained for capital goods as they were merely internal transfers of goods and not “objects of exchange”, unlike final goods. Therefore, they were unpriced and hence the system would be necessarily irrational, as the central planners would not know how to allocate the available resources efficiently. He wrote that “rational economic activity is impossible in a socialist commonwealth”. Mises developed his critique of socialism more completely in his 1922 book Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis, arguing that the market price system is an expression of praxeology and can not be replicated by any form of bureaucracy.
Murray Newton Rothbard (2 March 1926 – 7 January 1995) was an American heterodox economist of the Austrian School, historian, and a political theorist, whose writings and personal influence played a seminal role in the development of modern right-libertarianism. Rothbard was the founder and leading theoretician of anarcho-capitalism, a staunch advocate of historical revisionism and a central figure in the 20th-century American libertarian movement. He wrote over twenty books on political theory, revisionist history, economics, and other subjects.
Rothbard asserted that all services provided by the “monopoly system of the corporate state” could be provided more efficiently by the private sector and wrote that the state is “the organization of robbery systematized and writ large”. He called fractional-reserve banking a form of fraud and opposed central banking. He categorically opposed all military, political, and economic interventionism in the affairs of other nations. According to his protégé Hans-Hermann Hoppe, “[t]here would be no anarcho-capitalist movement to speak of without Rothbard”.
Economist Jeffrey Herbener, who calls Rothbard his friend and “intellectual mentor”, wrote that Rothbard received “only ostracism” from mainstream academia. Rothbard rejected mainstream economic methodologies and instead embraced the praxeology of his most important intellectual precursor, Ludwig von Mises. To promote his economic and political ideas, Rothbard joined Lew Rockwell and Burton Blumert in 1982 to establish the Mises Institute in Alabama.
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