Mises Institute

Coordinates: 32°36′24″N 85°29′29″W / 32.6066°N 85.4913°W / 32.6066; -85.4913
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Mises Institute
Founder(s)Lew Rockwell
Established1982; 42 years ago (1982)
FocusEconomics education, Austrian school of economics, and libertarianism in the United States (anarcho-capitalism, classical liberalism, paleolibertarianism, and right-libertarianism)
Key peopleLew Rockwell (Chairman)
Thomas DiLorenzo (President)
Joseph Salerno (Editor
Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics)
BudgetRevenue: $4,200,056
Expenses: $4,165,289
(FYE 2017)[2]
Location, ,
United States

The Ludwig von Mises Institute for Austrian Economics, or Mises Institute, is a nonprofit think tank headquartered in Auburn, Alabama, that is a center for Austrian economics, radical right-wing libertarian thought and the paleolibertarian and anarcho-capitalist movements in the United States.[3][4][5][2][6] It is named after the economist Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) and promotes his version of heterodox Misesian Austrian economics.[7][8][9]

It was founded in 1982 by Lew Rockwell, chief of staff to Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul. Early supporters of the institute included economist F. A. Hayek, writer Henry Hazlitt, economist Murray Rothbard, Ron Paul,[10] and libertarian coin dealer Burt Blumert.[10][11]


Burton Blumert, Lew Rockwell, David Gordon, and Murray Rothbard

The Mises Institute was founded in 1982 by Lew Rockwell, who was chief of staff to Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul; previously Rockwell had been editor for the conservative Arlington House Publishers and had worked for the radical-right John Birch Society and the traditionalist Hillsdale College.[12][11] Rockwell received the blessing of Margit von Mises during a meeting at the Russian Tea Room in New York City, and she was named the first chairman of the board.[8][13][14] According to Rockwell, the institute was meant to promote the contributions of Ludwig von Mises, who he feared was being ignored by libertarian institutions financed by Charles Koch and David Koch. As recounted by Justin Raimondo, Rockwell said he received a phone call from George Pearson, of the Koch Foundation, who had said that Mises was too radical to name an organization after or promote.[15]

The original academic vice president of the Mises Institute was Murray Rothbard, an influential right-wing libertarian activist and writer who had studied under Ludwig von Mises; Rothbard was a leading figure in the development of anarcho-capitalism and had also been a Cato Institute co-founder.[16][17] Ron Paul, the Texas Republican congressman who would later run for president of the United States, was named a distinguished counselor[18] and assisted with early fundraising.[10] A timber company owner also contributed funds.[8]

Judge John V. Denson assisted in the Mises Institute becoming established at the campus of Auburn University.[19] Auburn was already home to some Austrian economists, including Roger Garrison. The Mises Institute was affiliated with the Auburn University Business School until 1998 when the institute established its own building across the street from campus.[20][non-primary source needed]

The Mises Institute aligned itself with what Rothbard called the Old Right, with "a defense of the gold standard, military isolationism, and 'traditional morality' and opposition to fiat money, supranational institutions, and 'forced integration'", according to academics Niklas Olsen and Quinn Slobodian.[4] It started the Review of Austrian Economics in 1986.[3]

Rothbard and Rockwell coined the name "paleolibertarians" for socially right-wing libertarians like themselves.[21][18] They forged a "paleo alliance" between paleolibertarians and paleoconservatives in the form of the John Randolph Club in 1989, which allied the Mises Institute and the paleoconservative Rockford Institute.[3][4] In the early 1990s, Austrian economist Steven Horwitz called the Mises Institute "a fascist fist in a libertarian glove."[22][undue weight? ]

Figures at the Mises Institute were associated with neo-Confederate positions, and the institute held conferences about secession, including one in 1995 in Charleston, South Carolina, where the American Civil War had begun.[23][12][24][25] After Rothbard's death in 1996, his protege Hans-Hermann Hoppe became a leading anarcho-capitalist figure of the institute and is known for his anti-democratic writing.[4][26]

In a 2000 report, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) said that the Mises Institute had shown "recent interest in neo-Confederate themes" and that Rockwell, the institute's founder, had "argued that the Civil War 'transformed the American regime from a federalist system based on freedom to a centralized state that circumscribed liberty in the name of public order.'"[27]

Kyle Wingfield wrote a 2006 commentary in The Wall Street Journal that the Southern United States was a "natural home" for the institute, as "Southerners have always been distrustful of government," with the institute making the "Heart of Dixie a wellspring of sensible economic thinking."[28]

By 2011, The Economist said, the Austrian School economics championed by the Mises Institute had "won few mainstream converts". But it noted the think tank's growing presence on the internet as well as its facilities in Auburn including an amphitheater, conservatory, recording studio and library.[8]

The political scientist George Hawley described the Mises Institute in 2016 as "the intellectual epicenter of the radical libertarian movement in the United States".[3] As of 2022, about 30 Mises Institutes had been created worldwide; some had died off but others, especially Brazil's, had gained influence.[29]

Current activities[edit]

The institute describes its mission as to "promote teaching and research in the Austrian school of economics, and individual freedom, honest history, and international peace, in the tradition of Ludwig von Mises and Murray N. Rothbard."[30]

Its academic programs include Mises University (non-accredited), Rothbard Graduate Seminar, the Austrian Economics Research Conference, and a summer research fellowship program. In 2020, the Mises Institute began offering a graduate program.[31] It has led to the creation of spin-off organizations around the world, including Brazil,[32][better source needed] Germany,[33] South Korea,[34][better source needed] and Turkey.[35][non-primary source needed] It publishes the Journal of Libertarian Studies, which it took over in 2000 from the Center for Libertarian Studies.[36]

The German Mises Institute (Ludwig von Mises Institut Deutschland e.V.) is an 2012 founded interest group and think tank of libertarian gold traders and investment advisors, which were associated with Swiss-based German billionaire August von Finck (1930–2021). Many gold dealers from the von Finck company Degussa Goldhandel are active on the board of the institute; they reject intergovernmental fiscal policy and promote gold as a "safe currency".[citation needed] Von Finck was active in economic policy and criticized the EU.[37] He assumed the costs for expert opinions from prominent professors, such as Hans-Werner Sinn, with whose help the lawyer and politician Peter Gauweiler (CSU) took action at the German Federal Constitutional Court against the rescue packages for Greece and the Euro.[citation needed]

Political and economic views[edit]

The Mises Institute describes itself as libertarian, and as promoting the Austrian School of economics.[38] In 2003, Chip Berlet of the SPLC described it as "a major center promoting libertarian political theory and the Austrian School of free market economics", while also assessing that it favors a "Darwinian view of society in which elites are seen as natural and any intervention by the government on behalf of social justice is destructive".[39]

The Mises Institute favors the methodology of Misesian praxeology ("the logic of human action"),[30] which holds that economic science is deductive rather than empirical. Developed by Ludwig von Mises, following the Methodenstreit opined by Carl Menger, it opposes the mathematical modeling and hypothesis-testing used to justify knowledge in neoclassical economics. Misesian economics is a form of heterodox economics.[7][8][9] It is distinct from that of other Austrian economists, including Hayek and those associated with George Mason University.[40][41][42]

Influence on campaigns and government[edit]

The paleolibertarian economic and cultural views of some of the Mises Institute's leading figures have been influential in the presidential campaigns of Ron Paul, the presidential campaign of Rand Paul, the presidential campaigns of Donald Trump, and the candidacy of Joshua Smith for chair of the Libertarian Party.[5][43][6][44][45][18]

A 2014 New York Times piece described the Mises Institute as part of Rand Paul's intellectual inheritance.[6]

Candice Jackson, who served as acting head of the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights during the Trump Administration, was previously a summer fellow at the Mises Institute and had collaborated on articles for Rockwell's website.[46]

Notable faculty[edit]

Notable figures affiliated with the Mises Institute include:[47]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Mises Academy:What Is The Mises Institute; What We Do". June 18, 2014. Archived from the original on November 20, 2014. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Mises Institute in Charity Navigator". Charity Navigator. Archived from the original on August 1, 2021. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Hawley, George (2016). Right-wing critics of American conservatism. Lawrence: 164–171. ISBN 978-0-7006-2193-4. OCLC 925410917.
  4. ^ a b c d Olsen, Niklas; Slobodian, Quinn (April 2022). "Locating Ludwig von Mises: Introduction". Journal of the History of Ideas. 83 (2): 257–267. doi:10.1353/jhi.2022.0012. ISSN 1086-3222. PMID 35603613. S2CID 248987154.
  5. ^ a b Sanchez, Julian; Weigel, David (January 16, 2008). "Who Wrote Ron Paul's Newsletters?". Reason. Archived from the original on April 9, 2019. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  6. ^ a b c Tanenhaus, Sam; Rutenberg, Jim (January 25, 2014). "Rand Paul's Mixed Inheritance". New York Times. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Lee, Frederic S.; Cronin, Bruce C.; McConnell, Scott; Dean, Erik (2010). "Research Quality Rankings of Heterodox Economic Journals in a Contested Discipline". American Journal of Economics and Sociology. 69 (5): 1409–1452. doi:10.1111/j.1536-7150.2010.00751.x. S2CID 145069581.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Heterodox economics: Marginal revolutionaries". The Economist. December 31, 2011. Archived from the original on February 22, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  9. ^ a b Lavoie, Marc (May 13, 2022). Post-Keynesian Economics. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 7. doi:10.4337/9781839109621. ISBN 978-1-83910-962-1. S2CID 249145864.
  10. ^ a b c "The Story of the Mises Institute". Mises Institute. September 18, 2018. Archived from the original on August 23, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  11. ^ a b Doherty, Brian (2009). Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. United States: PublicAffairs. ISBN 9780786731886.
  12. ^ a b Dallek, Matthew (2023). Birchers: How the John Birch Society Radicalized the American Right. United States: Basic Books.
  13. ^ "30 Years of Bedeviling the Bad Guys". Mises Institute. October 1, 2012. Archived from the original on November 25, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  14. ^ "Biography of Margit von Mises: 1890–1993". Mises Institute. August 18, 2014. Archived from the original on March 18, 2021. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  15. ^ Raimondo, Justin (2000). Enemy of the State: The Biography of Murray Rothbard. Prometheus.
  16. ^ Leeson, Robert (2017). Hayek: A Collaborative Biography, Part IX: The Divine Right of the 'Free' Market. Springer. p. 180. ISBN 978-3-319-60708-5. To the original 'anarchocapitalist' (Rothbard coined the term) [...].
  17. ^ Jensen, Jacob (April 2022). "Repurposing Mises: Murray Rothbard and the Birth of Anarchocapitalism". Journal of the History of Ideas. 83 (2): 315–332. doi:10.1353/jhi.2022.0015. ISSN 1086-3222. PMID 35603616. S2CID 248985277.
  18. ^ a b c Zengerle, Jason (June 10, 2010). "Paleo Wacko". The New Republic. ISSN 0028-6583. Retrieved September 2, 2023.
  19. ^ "Why the Mises Institute Is in Auburn". Mises Institute. October 9, 2018. Archived from the original on October 10, 2018. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  20. ^ "Mises and Liberty". Mises Institute. September 15, 1998. Archived from the original on June 19, 2015. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  21. ^ Ronald Hamowy, ed., 2008, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, Cato Institute, SAGE, ISBN 1-41296580-2
  22. ^ "Michael Levin". Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on August 6, 2016. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  23. ^ Sebesta, Edward H.; Hague, Euan; Beirich, Heidi, eds. (2009). Neo-Confederacy: A Critical Introduction. United States: University of Texas Press. pp. 33–34.
  24. ^ Weiner, Rachel (July 10, 2013). "The libertarian war over the Civil War". The Washington Post.
  25. ^ Lee, Michael J.; Atchison, R. Jarrod. (2022). We are Not One People: Secession and Separatism in American Politics Since 1776. United States: Oxford University Press. pp. 58–60.
  26. ^ Heer, Jeet (October 24, 2016). "The Right Is Giving Up on Democracy". The New Republic. ISSN 0028-6583. Retrieved September 2, 2023.
  27. ^ "The Neo-Confederates". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Summer 2000. Archived from the original on February 22, 2016. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  28. ^ Wingfield, Kyle (August 11, 2006). "Von Mises Finds A Sweet Home In Alabama". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Archived from the original on October 20, 2020. Retrieved December 19, 2020.
  29. ^ Slobodian, Quinn; Plehwe, Dieter, eds. (May 24, 2022). Market Civilizations. Zone Books. doi:10.2307/j.ctv1vbd2mv. ISBN 978-1-942130-68-0. S2CID 249073465.
  30. ^ a b "What is the Mises Institute?". June 18, 2014. Archived from the original on November 20, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  31. ^ "Graduate Program". Mises Institute. March 26, 2020. Archived from the original on April 16, 2020. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  32. ^ "Home". mises.org.br. Archived from the original on July 14, 2022. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  33. ^ "Ludwig von Mises Institut Deutschland". Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  34. ^ miseskorea.org
  35. ^ misesenstitusu.com
  36. ^ "Center for Libertarian Studies records". oac.cdlib.org. Retrieved July 1, 2023.
  37. ^ "Milliardär August von Finck kaufte sich die neurechte und liberale Szene Deutschlands | Recentr" (in German). May 18, 2020. Archived from the original on May 22, 2020. Retrieved July 14, 2022.
  38. ^ newvalleymedia (June 18, 2014). "What Is the Mises Institute?". Mises Institute. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  39. ^ Berlet, Chip (Summer 2003). "Into the Mainstream". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on February 7, 2010. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  40. ^ "Socialism: The Calculation Problem Is Not the Knowledge Problem". Mises Institute. March 13, 2018. Archived from the original on March 21, 2018. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  41. ^ "Why I Am Not an Austrian Economist". econfaculty.gmu.edu. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  42. ^ Ebeling, Richard M. (December 1, 2014). "Hayek e Mises". MISES: Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy, Law and Economics. 2 (2): 629–650. doi:10.30800/mises.2014.v2.697. ISSN 2594-9187.
  43. ^ Sheffield, Matthew (September 2, 2016). "Where did Donald Trump get his racialized rhetoric? From libertarians". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on October 12, 2016. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  44. ^ Rutenberg, Jim; Kovaleski, Serge F. (December 26, 2011). "Paul Disowns Extremists' Views but Doesn't Disavow the Support (Published 2011)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on January 7, 2021. Retrieved December 28, 2020.
  45. ^ Welch, Matt (July 4, 2018). "Libertarian Party Rebuffs Mises Uprising". Reason. Archived from the original on October 15, 2020. Retrieved September 18, 2020.
  46. ^ Waldman, Annie (April 14, 2017). "DeVos Pick to Head Civil Rights Office Once Said She Faced Discrimination for Being White". ProPublica. Archived from the original on April 14, 2017. Retrieved November 23, 2021.
  47. ^ "Faculty Members". Ludwig von Mises Institute. Archived from the original on July 28, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  48. ^ "Jörg Guido Hülsmann".
  49. ^ "Peter Klein". Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business. Archived from the original on June 8, 2017. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  50. ^ "Senior Fellows, Faculty Members, and Staff". Ludwig von Mises Institute. Archived from the original on July 28, 2013. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  51. ^ "Joseph T. Salerno".

External links[edit]

32°36′24″N 85°29′29″W / 32.6066°N 85.4913°W / 32.6066; -85.4913