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Mises and Rand

Mises and Rand

2 Mins
April 14, 2010

Question: Ayn Rand seems to have been influenced by Ludwig von Mises. What was her view of him?

Answer:  Ayn Rand and Mises knew each other, and they were on good personal terms, though never close friends. There is reason to think Rand read many of his works and that they contributed to her thinking on economic topics. The Nathaniel Branden Institute used to recommend Ludwig von Mises's books during her lifetime, and there is one economist, George Reisman, who studied with both Rand and Mises. He has synthesized their ideas in his book Capitalism.

In Human Action, Mises founded his economic theories on a neo-Kantian conception of Categories, and he argued that human preference is entirely subjective. Ayn Rand disagreed with this method and disagreed with the tone of the conclusion about preferences. Rand argued for a moral defense of human freedom and for objective knowledge and values. Mises for his part rejected Rand's moral arguments. However, she thought that Mises's economic theories, put on a firmer foundation, were sound and important.


William Thomas

William R Thomas writes about and teaches Objectivist ideas. He is the editor of The Literary Art of Ayn Rand and of Ethics at Work, both published by The Atlas Society. He is also an economist, teaching occasionally at a variety of universities.

William Thomas
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William Thomas
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