December 10, 2010
A World of Liberty and Its Supporters
The Ludwig von Mises Institute has fans all over the world. I would like to tell you more about our philosophy and the work that we do, with the hope that you will, right now, join me in becoming a financial supporter. We don’t often ask for money, but we do need your help, and I believe that donating to the Mises Institute is the best investment in freedom that you can ever make.
Ludwig von Mises considered it everyone’s civic duty to study economics. Not only is economics exciting — a window into a reality the state wants to hide — but a culture formed by sound economic thought is one that can’t be tricked by political machinations.
This has been our mission since Lew Rockwell founded the Mises Institute in 1982. We not only sponsor research and focus on scholars; we also educate as many people as possible in Austrian economics and classical liberalism.
Economics “is the philosophy of human life and action and concerns everybody and everything,” wrote Mises. “It is the pith of civilization and of man’s human existence.”
The goal, then, is not to hold meetings that only academics care about or make a splash in the bureaucratic world of today’s university life, much less publish journals left to collect dust on library shelves unread. The Mises Institute has dedicated itself to Mises’s view that everyone — young and old, rich and poor — should learn economics, and what is learned should change the world.
In the old days of paper, ink, and the US mail, spreading the word was like slogging through mud. But the Internet changed all of that in 1995, and now we have the power of the digital world in the palm of our hand. Your generous support has made Mises.org one of the most popular websites in the world.
Mises.org offers not only new and classic articles each weekday but also resources including more than 1,000 books online; 3,000 audio and video files; and complete archives of many libertarian periodicals that have laid the groundwork of the freedom movement. We publish in the open-source model, not only permitting but encouraging everyone to spread the ideas and download as much as possible for free.
As a result, the Mises Institute’s work is ubiquitous, appearing in thousands of venues around the globe and in many formats (HTML, PDF, ePub, audio, video in many formats, and blessed old hard copy) and many languages. If we bump into someone else’s state-protected proprietary claim, we do our own version and give it away to the world. In this way, what we do can achieve universal distribution long after this generation is gone.
The blog and community are active day and night. And, of course, the institute has an active presence on social media. We are thrilled to see other Mises institutes popping up all over the world!
But our electronic presence is only a part of accomplishing the mission you’ve entrusted us with: to educate the world about the glories of free markets and sound economics. We had sell-out crowds for our Jekyll Island conference honoring Ron Paul; our New York conference combining Austrian economics and investments, featuring Marc Faber; and our annual Supporters Summit honoring acclaimed investor Jim Rogers with the Gary G. Schlarbaum award for a lifetime defense of liberty.
Parents drive for hours so that their children can attend our one-day seminars for high-school students. The institute held two of these events in Auburn this year and we will take this program on the road for the first time on January 21, 2011, the day prior to our 7th annual Houston Mises Circle, sponsored by Jeremy and Helen Davis — an event that, last year, drew nearly 600 attendees.
In 2010, for the first time, we held Mises Circle events in Phoenix and Las Vegas. Plus, we made return engagements to Colorado Springs and Greenville, South Carolina. For 2011, sponsors have invited us to three new cities already: Naples, Chicago, and New Orleans.
The Mises Institute hosted a record crowd for the 2010 Mises University. One hundred and ninety-five students representing 150 universities and 24 countries learned Austrian economics from a world-class faculty. The vast majority (122) chose to take the written exam in an attempt to be included in the Mündliche Prüfung (oral examination) at week’s end. Ninety-four (94) students passed that exam with 28 of those students qualifying for the orals by scoring 85 percent or above on the difficult written exam.
Because of your commitment to liberty, the institute hosted 20 talented summer fellows from all over the world, who studied under the direction of LvMI faculty. The Summer Fellowship Program has produced bestselling authors. This year’s Austrian Scholars Conference was possibly the best ever, featuring dozens of papers on new research, named lectures, innovative thinkers and doers.
The Mises Institute continues to be the most active publisher and seller of free-market books in the world. Of course, paper-and-ink versions are not enough, and we are meeting the challenge of converting more of our titles to ePub versions and audio. The pocket paperback of Human Action — what a smash hit that has been! — is just the beginning.
The amount of information the Mises Institute offers seems limitless. Many people wonder, “I’m interested and want to learn. But where do I start?” What began years ago as a dream of the Mises Institute is now a reality: an all-online school for Misesian scholarship that would break down the artificial barriers erected by mainstream academia between the curious and the learned became a reality this spring with the Mises Academy, which has hosted thousands of students in live classrooms.
Academy students take the classes from all over the world and come from all walks of life. They have one thing in common: a thirst for knowledge about the Austrian School, economic history, and classical liberalism. They are inspired by the lectures, genuinely interested in the subject matter, and able to interact with the instructors in a way that is not confined by the time and space of traditional brick-and-mortar classrooms.
And this winter, there was another rollout: the Mises Wiki, which already has 400 entries! The future looks bright here.
There is no bloated bureaucracy behind any of this. We have a small staff that works very hard. You are what makes the difference: your patronage, your interest, your enthusiasm, and your financial support. We work to earn your trust by producing ever-more-wonderful things and offering them to the whole world.
Online and in print, on the road and in Auburn, the Mises Institute is bringing Austrian economics and teaching liberty to all who will listen, read, or watch. Times are tough, and we know it. Your commitment to free markets and the bright future that freedom can provide inspires us each day to reach more students by any and all avenues that technology provides.
For the millions who visited Mises.org and the thousands who attended our events in 2010, I say thank you for making it possible. I simply cannot imagine how much the cause of liberty would suffer without the work of the Mises Institute.
I’m so proud to be part of this great work, and I know you are thrilled to be a partner in it. It is something we can all do for the cause of freedom and the health of civilization. The need is always there but the work today is more urgent than ever — and more fulfilling than ever.
Of course our work isn’t done. The Austrian iron is hot and we must strike with more of everything. In the future, the market will demand our information through new technologies. More students will realize that their Keynesian education is bankrupt and look to us for answers. We must be ready to fight the war of ideas on all fronts. With your help, we can win a better tomorrow with liberty and free markets.
Douglas French is president of the Mises Institute and author of Early Speculative Bubbles & Increases in the Money Supply and Walk Away: The Rise and Fall of the Home-Ownership Myth. He received his masters degree in economics from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, under Murray Rothbard with Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe serving on his thesis committee. French teaches in the Mises Academy. See his tribute to Murray Rothbard. Send him mail. See Doug French’s article archives.
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