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The Anti-capitalistic Mentality

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,267 ratings  ·  108 reviews
In The Anti-capitalistic Mentality, the respected economist Ludwig von Mises plainly explains the causes of the irrational fear and hatred many intellectuals and others feel for capitalism. In five concise chapters, he traces the causation of the misunderstandings and resultant fears that cause resistance to economic development and social change. He enumerates and rebut ...more
Paperback, 84 pages
Published November 7th 2006 by Liberty Fund Inc. (first published 1956)
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4.02  · 
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 ·  1,267 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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Nov 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This book is essential to understanding why people are socialists (whether they know it or not). In the past, I could never comprehend why people, that I knew well, could fail to realize their view of how the 'world should be' was a largely socialist viewpoint. "How could a rational, logical, thinking human ever come to the conclusions you have have arrived at?!" I would ask in dismay.

This book clears all that up. Mises shows the core of socialism is envy. He shows that capitalism, while making
Ashutosh Rai
Oct 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
This book is a rant against anti-capitalists. It's repetitive and makes many false assumptions about them (while giving no satisfactory answers to why it does that). According to the book, all poor people had equal opportunity to be as rich and famous as anyone else, but they ruined it because they were worthless. And if not so, it's not fault of capitalism, but because it's not implemented in an absolute way. The book also says that all the technological advancements have been possible only bec ...more
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
I got the impression that von Mises considers that every person who does not agree with a complete laissez-faire economics is a communist/socialist (for him both have the same meaning), and his political orientation is due to envy from the more intelligent and successful citizens. I find the argument very simplistic, and while some people can fall on this category, I suspect that most of Mises' "communists" have other reasons to oppose to laissez-faire and support government policies (environme ...more
Nov 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
You call this analysis?
Jan 08, 2016 rated it liked it
The Anti-Capitalist Mentality (1956) by Ludwig von Mises outlines why von Mises thinks that many people are against capitalism. The book makes the mistake of assuming that anyone who disagrees with von Mises is daft or mean spirited. However the book does make some interesting points. Von Mises points out how he believes that the market itself was critical in providing the prosperity and levels of technology that are available. He also points out how people who dislike markets disregard their im ...more
John Martindale
May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics, economics
I had a foster brother, to whom if I threw a football and he happened to bobble and drop it--would yell, full of spite "Stupid football, dumb ball... this is a stupid ball!!" it was always entirely the footballs fault. It's this kind of immaturity that Mises muses is at root to the anti-capitalistic mentality. Mises speculates that they have either foiled ambitions or they bitterly envy and hate those more successful than themselves and to protect their precious little egos, they in essence scre ...more
Mar 19, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed-books
This book is partly economic and partly "psychological," in that it attempts to explain why those who oppose capitalism do so. The economic or social science segments of this book are in fact extremely worthwhile and demonstrate von Mises' keen understanding of that field. Most people, including myself, will gain a lot from reading it. The psychological segments are useful, but are sometimes a bit of a stretch and engage in too much pigeonholing, or fitting a wide array of people's motives into ...more
Christopher Donaghue
Mar 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: issues
Good grief, can there be a weaker, sillier, more one-dimensional interpretation of the motives of mankind than this? As far as von Mises is concerned, everybody who is not an ardent laissez-faire capitalist is suffering from envy for which he must find a scapegoat; even the rich who happen to embrace socialism or communism (the same thing to von Mises's deluded mind) are lying to themselves that they actually support communism, doing so only to ease the self-doubt they feel when faced with even ...more
JC Hewitt
Apr 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This is the most passionate book by Mises that I've read. I would expect a polemic like this from Murray Rothbard or even Ayn Rand, but not him. I've read excerpts before, but never the whole book.

Mises explains the psychology of the anti-capitalist as if he were writing today. I recognize some of my younger self in his criticisms. Especially the envy, contempt, and over-confidence that marked my personality when I was younger.

It's sometimes challenging to understand why so many people hate and
Bernardo Kaiser
Sep 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
The success of a human being and its value in the world is based on its financial success and material accumulation, individuals only possibly acquire material wealth through moral ways in a pure capitalistic system and all critics of capitalism are moved by envy and resentment. Gotcha.

Diseased ideology.
Nov 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality theorizes the abhorrence of capitalism. Ludwig von Mises suggests that free market capitalism induces competition for scarce resources resulting in success or failure where men and women are subconsciously subjected to inferiority complexes. Anti-capitalists hate the potential of failure, for it brings awareness to defeat and insufficiency because success and failure are determined by supply and demand based on merit and achievement rather than the apparent human ...more
May 17, 2015 rated it liked it
It's a brief bit of well-intentioned rhetoric from the legendary economist, but so many of the realities of our global society are overlooked. Here are a couple points from the book that shed light on the mentality Mises possesses.

He asserts that because big business is something the masses benefits from, it may not be criticized for exploitation of the same masses.

The quote below is incredibly ignorant to the realities of the modern age.

"The age amid capitalism has abolished all vestiges of sla
Zachary Moore
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
In this short book, Mises sets out the view that the main spring of anti-market thought essentially derives from an envious spirit on the part of pseudo-intellectuals. Much of his insight seems to be sound although I am more inclined to the accept the thesis of intellectual error rather than malice aforethought to explain anti-market views, especially as the "left" and the "right" are typically presented to people as a package deal in which many unappealing tendencies are caught up in the "right ...more
Michael Connolly
May 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, academia
The author, a famous economist from the Austrian school of economics, tries to explain the psychology of the socialist intellectual. Why are the majority of intellectuals on the political Left? He argues that many scientists, professors, writers and journalists are envious of businessmen, who make far more money, but appear to have no particular talent (except for making money). He argues that intellectuals often disguise their envy by attacking the capitalistic system, being too ashamed to expr ...more
Killer of Dreams
Aug 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
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Apr 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a lengthy excerpt which pertains to literature which I should type in here, but I may save that for a blog entry. Suffice it to say, Mises pulls no punches for the "social" literature of bourgeois authors who romanticize the poor and their condition. And I'm a sucker for being introduced to words I've never seen before, such as "banausic". Also, unlike many a polemicist, Mises actually bothered to read the opposition (e.g., Marx, Lenin).
Nicolas Ahumada
May 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A short yet great book

I think Mises made pretty clear which are the enemies of freedom and the consequences of their thinking. I recommend this book to anyone that has a very basic notion of economics.
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economics, politics
Good points, as always from prof. Mises.
Jason Keisling
Jan 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics, politics
This isn't Mises' best work. It's a short and fairly easy read, but I strongly suggest reading some of his others first.
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics, politics
Excellent. Right up there with Friedman, Hayek, and Bastiat
My first ever Mises. Brilliantly illuminating.
Nathan Albright
May 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: challenge-2018
There's a lot about this book that is dead-on accurate, but this is not the sort of book one writes if one wants to make friends.  In reading a book, especially a bracing book like this one [1], it is most important to me to  figure out what the audience for this book is and what the author is trying to accomplish.  And here, I think, the author is writing to the wealthy socialites of the United States and letting them know that the envious haters who want to bring them down through corrupting g ...more
Stefan Matias
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Given the unbelievable degree of wealth and prosperity Capitalism has endowed modern society with, how come it is so frequently and fiercely condemned? This is the question that Mises seeks to explore in this booklet, and he theorizes that a fundamental reason is that of envy. As Capitalism - in contrast with previous systems of societal organization - allows people to freely move up or down in the ranks depending on their merits, there will naturally be both winners and losers. No longer can on ...more
Don Lim
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Those who wish to alleviate poverty ought to embrace capitalism. In a system where individuals are free and undisturbed by others, they will tend to seek solutions to problems faced in society. These individuals--entrepreneurs--will provide goods and services which best benefit their fellow man. The historic ways of organizing society by slave, serfdom, and caste limited and constrained the individual to immovable economic and social status--apart from extremely rare cases where one can climb th ...more
John  Mihelic
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Mises is interesting to me in part because he helped kick off the Socialist Calculation debate in the 20s by trying to show how socialism wouldn’t work in his estimation. I thought Mises’s argument was tortured, but Hayek did put a nice bow on it by looking at the problem of incomplete information.

I wanted to read more Mises without having to slog through Human Action, so I pulled this text. This text is especially salient to me because I am highly critical of capitalism as it really exists. The
Mark Geise
Feb 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this short little read. "The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality" attempts to analyze why particular people become anti-capitalists. What are the tenets of anti-capitalist philosophy and what drives people to accept these tenets? Those are the major questions Mises answers.

Mises basically believes that people turn against capitalism because they are envious of others. They see that someone from their origins is making more than them or has more wealth than them, so they believe that the system
Stefanni Brasil
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've always wanted to read more about Economics and I decided to start that with Mises. I confess that I once too believed that socialism was the ideal way of running a society, but as time goes by, I noticed that not only it was another dictatorial ideology but also it makes people from the so-called socialists' countries have to immigrate to 'awful capitalists' countries. So it didn't make sense to me people defending socialism if people who live in those countries don't want to live there. Th ...more
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
It is a good read about capitalism, it debunks many anti-capitalistic arguments, but not all of them. The most important anti-capitalistic arguments are not debunked here, and sometimes they are tried to be debunked, but by over simplistic world view in my opinion. Maybe this simplistic argumentation worked years ago, but nowadays it sounds naive and do not answer to the valid questions about capitalism problems.
Seth Braun
Jan 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
The local Libertarian chapter proposed to read this for their book club, so I decided to check it out to see what sort of guns the Austrian school could whip out. Instead, I got a bunch of half-assed psychoanalysis without historic evidence or what I would consider economic analysis. Mises basically just invented characters that don't exist and then got mad at them while making a bunch of baseless assertions.
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is an understanding of why socialists and communists are stupid. The book basically explains why socialists and communists have absolutely no understanding of economics and explains why Capitalism is the only Economic system that creates jobs and wealth, improves the standard of living, and promotes economic freedom. This book is a must read to understand why capitalism works.
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Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (German pronunciation: [ˈluːtvɪç fɔn ˈmiːzəs]; September 29, 1881 – October 10, 1973) was an Austrian economist, historian, philosopher, author, and classical liberal who had a significant influence on the modern free-market libertarian movement and the Austrian School.
“Under capitalism the common man enjoys amenities which in ages gone by were unknown and therefore inaccessible even to the richest people. But, of course, these motorcars, television sets and refrigerators do not make a man happy. In the instant in which he acquires them, he may feel happier than he did before. But as soon as some of his wishes are satisfied, new wishes spring up. Such is human nature.” 38 likes
“Nonetheless, many people, and especially intellectuals, passionately loathe capitalism. As they see it, this ghastly mode of society’s economic organization has brought about nothing but mischief and misery. Men were once happy and prosperous in the good old days preceding the Industrial Revolution. Now under capitalism the immense majority are starving paupers ruthlessly exploited by rugged individualists. For these scoundrels nothing counts but their moneyed interests. They do not produce good and really useful things, but only what will yield the highest profits. They poison bodies with alcoholic beverages and tobacco, and souls and minds with tabloids, lascivious books and silly moving pictures. The “ideological superstructure” of capitalism is a literature of decay and degradation, the burlesque show and the art of striptease, the Hollywood pictures and the detective stories.” 4 likes
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