The Von Mises Institute: Answer to economic prayers
Today, the Von Mises Institute is the leading scholarly center for research in the Austrian School of economics, as well as important studies regarding liberalism and libertarianism. Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., current chairman and CEO, has continued with the same pursuits and goals with which he founded the organization in 1981.
Though the Institute supports and encourages research on liberalism and libertarianism, they are not a policy center. “We want to advance research, and increase knowledge from the general public,” Rockwell said. “We try to reach out to everyone from housewife to hedge fund manager.” In order to do this, the Institute offers a wide variety of materials through their website. This includes books, audio, periodicals, journals, and articles, all offered free of charge.
Another large part of outreach and education for the Von Mises Institute is Mises University. This summer program, which has existed for over 20 years, has seen nearly “everyone involved in Austrian economics in any country” come through its doors. The program is designed for undergraduate and graduate students. Another program exists for donors and adults outside of formal educational institutions.
While the Mises Institute is non-partisan, the less-government, lower taxes beliefs that they hold true to are conventional wisdom to the average Republican. “We try to stay out of politics because we have both parties,” Rockwell said. “We endorse principles and ideas, not candidates, policies or politics.” One such idea, put forth by former presidential candidate and retiring Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) would be to let everyone under a certain age opt-out of social security, and in turn not have to pay the associated tax that is taken out of every paycheck.
“Everything the government does is a redistribution of wealth,” Rockwell said. “Whether it is Lockheed Martin or someone else, that’s what it is. It takes money from the poorest group—young working people—and gives it to the richest, older retirees. FDR said that was a program that would never be replaced, so far he has been right.”
Rockwell acknowledges that Social Security was designed to make everyone love government and become dependent upon them. “If there were no Social Security, people would have to plan for old age,” he said. “People would save and invest. That’s where economic growth comes from. Individual responsibility is good for society.”
While some may see these ideas as radical, Rockwell believes that this and other ideas from the Institute are the correct alternative to what the American government is doing now.
“The government and the Federal Reserve have created a huge crisis, and none of the mainstream schools of economics has a theory or explanation of what’s happening,” he said. “We are in economic hot water, and things will get worse.”
Thanks to the Von Mises Institute and their tireless work, however, there is still hope after all.