2nd Prize in VSP 2021: The “pretense of knowledge” as a method of governance

The Arrogation of Knowledge and its Consequences

Niels Behrmann

Second Prize in Vernon Smith Prize Contest 2021.


In this essay, I explore the consequences of the methodologically misguided over-confidence in the human ability to gain knowledge and to design a society based on that knowledge. I will defend the hypothesis that such arrogation of knowledge does not only threaten a society’s prosperity but is also highly likely to destroy the respect between differently minded individuals, resulting in the increasing popularity of totalitarian thought. To illustrate the contrast, I will first examine Mises’ praxeology as a down to earth methodology for serious working social sciences that demonstrates how people with morally diverse beliefs can live together in peace and prosperity. Conversely, this changes when methodological premises lack plausibility and humility, which can be demonstrated by analysing the theoretical assumptions of totalitarian ideas. For this purpose, I will review how Plato’s theory of forms and ideas shaped his totalitarian vision of a state ruled by philosopher kings. Additionally, we will see how Herbert Marcuse created a modern justification of knowledge arrogation. I will work out the differences between these approaches by distinguishing between the arrogation of moral knowledge and technical knowledge. Finally, I will demonstrate how both threaten the persistence of liberty.


The way people perceive the world has changed significantly throughout human history. Back in ancient times, it was widely believed that natural phenomena such as flashes of lightning or earthquakes are caused by the activities of gods. In other words, people explained these events as being due to the action of agents who just happened to be more powerful than men. However, as the centuries passed, individuals found regularities in natural occurrences, enabling the triumph of natural sciences and modern prosperity (Puster 2014: 33–35). This success story inclines contemporary scholars to believe in the opposite extreme of the ancient world view: instead of just separating natural phenomena on the one hand and human action on the other, they are now heading towards reducing human action purely to natural causation (Mises 1985: 1–2). In this reading, social sciences can discover universally applicable rules with inductive methods like physics does (Mises 1940: 2).

But this belief is misleading. As the Austrian School of Economics has demonstrated, the social sciences are based on fundamentally different theoretical grounds than the natural sciences. This is because the social sphere of our world is shaped by individuals with changing aims and beliefs; it is based on human action. In this vein, Friedrich August von Hayek famously criticised the approach in economics to unreflectively focus on the mathematical analysis of hypothetical equilibria. According to Hayek, the implicit assumption of full economic knowledge in such a methodology simply means “to assume the problem away” that an economic order has to face (Hayek 1945: 530), namely how to gather all the individually held knowledge about what goods and services are demanded and how they can be most efficiently supplied while demands and circumstances of production are constantly changing. He emphasised that such knowledge about constant change can only be gained through the signals of the price system in a competitive market (Hayek 1945: 522–526). Based on this line of argument, Ludwig von Mises already demonstrated in 1920 that economic calculation in socialism is logically impossible. Since prices are not formed by demand and competitive supply in a state economy, they can only be set on an arbitrary basis, leaving no room for the knowledge transmission needed to calculate the use of resources efficiently (Mises 1920: 87–104).

Based on this line of thought, Hayek warned that a lack of understanding of the methodological grounds of social sciences inclines politicians to the erroneous belief that they can plan the economy, which results in the destruction of efficient production (Hayek 1989: 5–7). However, such “arrogation of knowledge” (Hayek 1989: 6) or even “pretence of knowledge” (Hayek 1989: 3) is still a widely applied form of government. 1 This is not surprising when one considers the incentives of politicians as these not only justify the use of state coercion but also provide a stage for politicians on which to play the “saviour” to increase their popularity. However, such an approach is very dangerous—not only because of its severe economic consequences already described. In this paper, I intend to demonstrate that the arrogation of knowledge as a form of government is highly likely to destroy the mutual respect between differently minded individuals in a society. In the long run, this will threaten society’s social peace and alarmingly increase the popularity of totalitarian thought.

To elucidate my hypothesis, I will first outline an appropriate scientific basis for social sciences that is founded on human action. We will see that Ludwig von Mises developed such a methodology with his praxeology (1). On this baseline, the practical implications of such an approach to how a society can best be structured can be observed. Moreover, this will demonstrate how this encourages people to respect the life decisions of others (2). In contrast, I will demonstrate how the arrogation of knowledge negatively changes all of these aspects (3).

1. Mises’ Praxeology

Mises emphasised that the methods of the natural sciences are practically unable to explain social phenomena because unlike stones or other dead matter, people do not necessarily react identically to external impulses. He admitted the possibility that the natural sciences may one day be able to explain all behaviour of individuals based on physical processes within their bodies. However, this is just metaphysical speculation since the contemporary natural sciences are unable to do so, wherefore Mises highlighted the need for present-day science to work methodologically based on a dualism that is based on natural causation on the one hand and human action on the other. While natural sciences can explain natural phenomena based on causation, social sciences such as economics can only aim to understand the motives of acting individuals (Mises 1985: 1–9).

Based on this notion, Mises developed his theory of human action, his so-called praxeology: he wanted to determine what every human action must necessarily consist of — independently of the circumstances of time and place. Thus, he analytically deduced that the word action necessarily describes a conscious behaviour of a person that aims at fulfilling a goal (Mises 1940: 11, 30). These thoughts of Mises have been systemized so that we arrive at the following definition of human action:

Someone acts if and only if he does something, because he wants something and believes that what he wants can be achieved by what he does
(Puster/Winter 2018: 135, own translation and emphasis).

Just imagine that you have a headache that prompts you to take a painkiller: we can then state that you did so because you wanted to get rid of your headache and you believed that by taking the painkiller you can get rid of it. By acting in this way, you demonstrated that you valued the calculated success of getting rid of your headache more highly than your calculated costs of taking the painkiller. These costs not only include the financial costs, but also the potential side effects that result from your action. In fact, everything that you do not do for its own sake but for the instrumental reason to fulfil a want is part of your accepted costs (Mises 1940: 13). This also demonstrates the subjectivity of the value judgment you performed concerning your action. Someone else may be more hesitant about the potential side effects of taking the painkiller which leads them to decide not to take it. In such a case, the individual demonstrated that from his subjective standing point, the overall costs of taking the painkiller are higher than the calculated benefit he would gain from taking it (Mises 1933: 31–33). It is also important to keep in mind that Mises’ praxeology does not state that individuals act only in egoistic self-interest. For instance, someone who voluntarily spends money for a charitable purpose with his action shows that he values the supported cause more than the money he gave (Mises 1940: 59–60).

Mises transferred these insights to the function of markets. He demonstrated that two market agents cooperate with each other if and only if the necessary conditions of the definition of human action are fulfilled by both of them (Mises 1940: 112). Practically speaking, this means that if I buy a product you sell me, I only do so because I value the ownership of your sold product more than the money I paid you. Similarly, you only sold your product to me since you value the money I gave you more than your product.2 This demonstrates that both sides of a voluntary exchange profit from it and that is the very reason why the agents cooperate voluntarily (Mises 1940: 191–192). Moreover, the example proves that there is no need for a shared goal for agents to cooperate with each other (Mises 1933: 36–37).

2. Practical Implications of Mises’ Praxeology

Mises emphasised that these praxeological deductions have a striking impact on how to view human society. In his view, it shows that people do not have to sacrifice their own goals to live
in a functioning society. Conversely, it is in the rational self-interest of individuals to cooperate with each other since they can take full advantage of the division of labour without the need
for shared goals (Mises 1940: 117–119).3 However, Mises admitted that this is only the case as long as people have aims concerning material needs. An ascetic can still prefer a pious life
over a pleasurable one, for instance, while a radical egalitarian might prefer a poor egalitarian society over an unequal prosperous one (Mises 1920: 120–121). Nonetheless, Mises highlighted that, empirically, most people prefer prosperity over misery. This could also be seen from the fact that communism gained its popularity by promising a prosperous future for all (Mises 1933: 88–89). Mises emphasised that his praxeology could show how the subjective wants of individuals can be fulfilled most efficiently. Against this background, he stated that liberalism in the classical tradition “has nothing to do with a worldview, metaphysics, or value judgement” (Mises 1933: 37, own translation). This is because his praxeology takes the value judgements of individuals as given, as doing so is the only way to avoid an arbitrary metaphysical postulation concerning some superior value (Puster 2014: 31–32; Puster/Winter 2018: 144, 147). Therefore, Mises’ praxeology demonstrates the fact that value judgments are necessarily subjective and manifest themselves in human action and thus no government can seriously claim to have moral knowledge.

However, a government could claim to have superior technical knowledge on how individual goals can be realized most efficiently, legitimizing market intervention or even state economy. We have already seen that the efficient use of resources is impossible in the latter since knowledge is held individually and can only be transmitted through the price system (compare page 2). Similarly, a market-intervening government that sets fixed prices disrupts this transmission process. As an example, Mises takes a fixed price for milk which lowers its price: the enforced price will ceteris paribus result in higher demand for the cheaper milk while the amount of profitable milk supply simultaneously declines. Consequently, entrepreneurs will rather invest their capital in sectors of the economy without price ceiling. Mises warned that this process will lead to a spiral of further interventions if the government tries to fix these unintended consequences by subsequent interventions, in the end resulting in a planned economy (Mises 1929: 27–36). Moreover, government regulations concerning how to produce goods do not fare any better because they incentivise companies to no longer produce efficiently. Instead, the “competition as a discovery procedure” (Hayek 2002: 9) for the best means of production will be restricted to those who comply with the regulations.4 This ceteris paribus results in lower productivity of the affected economy (Mises 1929: 28–31).

Based on this praxeological analysis, Mises highlighted that interventions cannot increase the wealth of a society. They can only favour some interest groups over others while the average wealth decreases (Mises 1940: 664–666). This can be demonstrated by the effects of a subsidy, i.e. if a government subsidizes a good, this makes its cheaper sale profitable, leading ceteris paribus to higher demand and supply of it. But the increase in the product’s demand and supply necessarily leads to higher overall tax costs of the subvention than to benefits for the producers and consumers of the subsidized good. Thus, governments cannot plausibly claim to have superior technical knowledge and can only justify interventions by normative arguments (Mises 1940: 603–604). However, normative arguments in favour of interventionism imply that the values of some people are superior to the values of others, which cannot be stated on a scientific basis since moral knowledge is – as we have already seen – logically impossible. This is why Mises stated that liberalism in the classical tradition is value-free because only a nonintervening state accepts the value judgments of individuals as given (compare pages 4–5).

Both of our findings based on Mises’ value-free praxeology – the impossibility of superior centralized technical knowledge as well as the impossibility of moral knowledge – demonstratebthe epistemological limits of human thought. Based on these limitations, Hayek added that “[t]he recognition of the insuperable limits to his knowledge ought indeed to teach the student of society a lesson of humility (…)” (Hayek 1989: 7). This is an important aspect because the
realisation of one’s own epistemological limits enables one to value the views and experiences of others. The core idea of this connection was already seen by John Stuart Mill in 1859 (Mill
2003: 72–73) who highlighted that everyone’s experiences and values result from their individual circumstances of birth and life (Mill 2003: 38) and that this limitation can only be compensated by the supplementary perspectives of other individuals (Mill 2003: 69–75). On this basis, Mill agreed with Wilhelm von Humboldt that it is in the rational self-interest of everyone to value liberty since it is a necessary condition for the diverse experiences of living needed for a better understanding of the world (Mill 2003: 73–74; Humboldt 2016: 10–11). Interestingly, it is easy to spot a link between this position and Hayek’s conception of “competition as a discovery procedure” (Hayek 2002: 9). Or, to put it in Mises’ words:

All mankind’s progress has been achieved as a result of the initiative of a small minority that began to deviate <b>
from the ideas and customs of the majority until their example finally moved the others to accept the innovation themselves (Mises 2002: 54).

To sum it up in a biological analogy: evolution (progress) is made possible by mutation (trial and error made by companies/experiments in living by individuals), selection (unsuccessful ideas cannot survive on the market), and replication (copying of successful ideas) (Gebel 2019: 11).

In a nutshell, Humboldt and Mill’s contribution has been to determine that the understanding of the necessity of trial-and-error for progress encourages people to respect the life decisions
of others. That is because progress is in their rational self-interest for the realisation of their own subjective goals since Mises’ praxeology shows that shared goals are not needed for mutually beneficial cooperation. Conversely, interventions in voluntary exchange must necessarily lead to a diminished ability of the average person to fulfil their own subjective goals.5
Thus, no superior technical knowledge of governments is possible, and interventions can only be justified on normative grounds. However, Mises demonstrated that moral knowledge is logically impossible since value judgments are – and only can be – grounded in human action. Based on this insight, Mises appealed for a non-intervening political system. With this background, we can now turn to the major question of this paper: How do practical implications change when we turn to different epistemic premises that take the possibility of centralised technical and/or moral knowledge for granted?

3. The Arrogation of Knowledge and its Threat to Respect and Liberty

Plato’s more than two-thousand-year-old Politeia laid the theoretical foundation for the political philosophy of the western world. This is important to bear in mind as we will now see in how many respects Plato’s thought is based on premises that are the exact opposite of those in Mises’ praxeology. Near the beginning of the Politeia, Plato’s dialogue figure Socrates argues that the question of what justice demands can best be found by analysing a state (an ancient city-state) and the necessary function of every individual within it (Plato 2000: 368c–369b).
This statement sets the stage for the main part of the Politeia where Plato’s Socrates lays out his vision of a perfect state. Thus, we already see that Plato did not start his investigation by
looking at the subjective goals of individuals as Mises did. According to Plato, every individual just has an instrumental value to fulfil his role in society; this is what justice demands (Plato
2000: 432b–434a). It should thus be the job of philosopher kings to rule such a state and to plan what shall be done by whom (Plato 2000: 473b–474c).

Plato arrived at this view based on his theoretical assumptions. He believed that human societies have a natural tendency to decay as all material things do (Popper 2013: 17–19, 520–522). However, according to Plato, besides the decaying material world, there is also the unchanging world of objective forms and ideas. Plato stated that these ideas are like blueprintsfor all material things in the world. In this view, a tree grows because it has a natural tendency to become like the objective idea of a tree; and it decays because this is natural to all material things (Plato 2000: 507b–511e). These forms and ideas are led by the idea of the good that shows the structure of all ideas (Plato 2000: 503b–506b). This metaphysical assumption had an important impact on Plato’s political philosophy because he saw in the idea of the good the ultimate chance to overcome the declared tendency of societies to decay (Popper 2013: 19–21). Through the character of Socrates, he claimed that philosophers are the only ones who can identify the true nature of the idea of the good by abstract thought (Plato 2000: 489e–490b), thereby enabling the enlightened philosophers to understand the world (Plato 2000: 514a– 518e). Once they understood it, they should not be concerned about the material world and the imperfect people within it. Instead, they should re-educate them and establish the institutions of a perfect society over which they rule and that is based on the idea of the good (Plato 2000: 499b–501c).

Plato was sure that once someone had identified the idea of the good, he must necessarily act according to it. For him, it is logically impossible to act based on emotions like fear once
one knows that such an action will lead to more harm than good. Thus, in Plato’s view, all subsequently regretted actions of individuals are the consequence of a cognitive error (Plato
1996: 351b–360e). In contrast to Mises, there is no room for subjective value judgments in Plato’s theory of human action. There is just rational behaviour for rational aims based on the
nature of the good and irrational behaviour as a consequence of ignorance. Additionally, Plato regarded ordinary people as being unable to think independently, making them vulnerable to believing the wrong opinions they happen to hear (Plato 1996: 312b–314b). This is the background that led Plato to favour his version of a centrally controlled society, including demands
like the ban of certain poetry which he judged to have bad effects on the minds of citizens (Plato 2000: 391c–392c, 595a–b, 607a–608b).

Karl Popper famously criticised Plato’s approach in the first volume of his book The open society and its enemies: He accused Plato of having laid out the theoretical groundwork for the totalitarian movements of the twentieth century with his idea of “Utopian engineering” (Popper 2013: 147). Popper indicated that Plato’s conception of objective knowledge about moral and technical questions by the identification of the good inevitably leads to trouble. This is because there are no rational means left for disagreeing with philosopher kings who are all confident of having discovered the ultimate truth. The only means left is intolerance and violence against every opposition until everybody is indoctrinated with the same thought (Popper 2013: 149–152). Popper highlighted that Plato’s conception of a perfect philosopher as the “possessor of truth” is the absolute opposite of the “modest seeker” of truth that his teacher Socrates had in mind (Popper 2013: 125). As Plato himself reported, Socrates discussed with others to seek for truth by reasoning with them. When this led him to disappointment, he thought:

Well, I am certainly wiser than this man [with whom he just discussed]. It is only too likely that neither of us has any knowledge to boast of; but he thinks that he knows something which he does not know, whereas I am quite conscious of my ignorance. At any rate, it seems that I am wiser than he is to this small extent, that I do not think that I know what I do not know (Plato 1993: 21d, own comment).

Thus, Socrates identified the true wisdom of a philosopher as the noble ability to admit one’s own limitations in knowledge. This striking difference to Plato lead Popper to the conclusion:

It is hard, I think, to conceive a greater contrast than that between the Socratic and the Platonic ideal of a philosopher.<b>
It is the contrast between two worlds—the world of a modest, rational individualist and that of a totalitarian demi-god (Popper 2013: 125).

Plato’s conception of forms and ideas led by the idea of the good sounds very alien to modern ears. It is not a seriously taken opinion any longer that the final truth of everything can once and for all be discovered in the ivory tower of philosophers. Conversely, we have already touched on the fact that it is still a very fashionable behaviour in economics to postulate economic laws (like Plato’s ideas) inductively from empirical data (like Plato’s material world). However, we have already previously discussed this kind of arrogation of technical knowledge. Now, I want to focus on yet another influential conception of the arrogation of moral knowledge.

This can be observed very clearly in Repressive Tolerance, an essay Herbert Marcuse first published in 1965. In this essay, Marcuse claimed that libertarians and conservatives represent the interests of the wealthy, enabling them to manipulate the masses in favour of their own political causes with plenty of resources (Marcuse 1969: 115–119). Based on this hypothesis, Marcuse called it repressive to grant the speech of libertarians and conservatives the same tolerance as the political left (Marcuse 1969: 81). Implicitly similar to Plato, Marcuse believed that ordinary people are unable to think independently about the opinions they hear and are thus indoctrinated by the most dominant voice, which Marcuse saw in the thought of libertarians and conservatives (Marcuse 1969: 115–116). Based on this premise, Marcuse legitimised the violent suppression of their speech to overcome the claimed indoctrination of the masses (Marcuse 1969: 100–101, 123). However, Marcuse admitted that discussion is needed in society for technical knowledge concerning how the progress of a society can best be achieved. But he also believed that such discussions could be restricted to the “progressive” opinions of the political left while those of the “regressive” do not need to be considered. In his view, the values of the political left are superior to those of libertarians and conservatives (Marcuse 1969: 85, 105–107). In our terminology: Marcuse claimed to possess moral knowledge. Moreover, he did not consider whether a libertarian economic policy may be able to fulfil his goals – such as the reduction of poverty – better than the means postulated by the political left.

With reference to Plato and Marcuse, we have now seen how the arrogation of knowledge legitimises the use of authoritarian or even totalitarian means. This inherent connection between knowledge arrogation and totalitarian thought already worried Mises and Hayek. As demonstrated above, Mises’ praxeology takes all subjective value judgments of individuals, which everybody shows through their individual actions, as given. This led Mises to his statement that liberalism in the classical tradition is not an ideology because it abstains from value judgement. However, he stated that as soon as some values are postulated to be superior (e.g. in the form of natural laws), we are entering the area of metaphysics. Problematically, metaphysical questions are something that can only be speculated about and believed in but there are no rational means to verify or falsify them (compare pages 3–5). This subsequently has the effect that passionate disagreements about metaphysical questions lead to violence as they do in religious wars or conflicts of ideologies (Mises 1940: 115–124).

In his book, The Road to Serfdom first published in 1944, Hayek illustrated that this risk of violent conflict between followers of different ideologies increases the more the state expands the sphere of its control, grounded in its assumption of technical knowledge. This is because an extensively intervening state inevitably has to make decisions concerning questions a nonhomogeneous public is morally divided about (Hayek 2001: 59–67). Additionally, once the state activity in economic affairs is widely accepted as a means in politics, governments are likely to compensate unintended consequences of interventions with new interventions which steadily increases the scope of state activity (compare page 5). The inability of these unquestioned interventions to deliver the promised ends then inclines people to think that the true problem of society is the moral imperfection of differently minded individuals (Mises 1940: 1–2). Consequently, people are no longer cooperating agents who mutually profit from the voluntary exchange in the market sphere but politicised enemies who vote at the ballot box intending to centrally enforce their own value judgements. In contrast to market cooperation, there is no mutual gain in this process but anger against those who try to enforce values that are opposed to one’s own (Brennan 2016: 231–245). Hayek feared that this process of increasing state activity and polarisation continues until a society ends up being taken over by a totalitarian ideology that has gained popularity and claims to possess absolute moral and technical knowledge (Hayek 2001).


In this essay, I have examined the practical implications of implicitly believed premises concerning the structure of the world and the human ability to understand it. In this investigation, it has become clear that the subjectivism of Mises’ praxeology is methodologically the most plausible fundament of the social sciences since (economic) value does not exist in objective
terms but depends on human action. Thus, universally applicable rules cannot be determined from economic data because it only represents the history of human value judgments. However, Mises’ analytically deducted praxeology gives a theoretical framework to an observer to understand why agents act the way they do, considering their aims and beliefs. Moreover, this framework demonstrates that the intervention of the state in voluntary exchange leads ceteris paribus to a decrease of mutually beneficial cooperation. Consequently, Mises showed that interventions can only be plausibly justified based on normative grounds. But, since normative arguments are of a metaphysical nature, Mises highlighted that the possession of moral
knowledge is impossible.

Conversely, we have seen that Marcuse claimed the possession of moral knowledge to be possible, leading to his statement that individuals with different values are morally inferior. Mises stated that such attitudes result in the use of violence against differently minded individuals since normative disputes cannot be solved by rational means. Thus, he highlighted that only a non-intervening state does not act ideologically since it accepts the evolved prices in a society based on the voluntary exchange of individuals as given. In contrast, trying to plan the economy based on the arrogation of technical knowledge does not only destroy wealth but also makes it necessary to centrally decide about questions citizens are morally divided about. The more the sphere of the state extends, the more this will politicize and polarize the people since political rules are violently enforced and not the result of voluntary cooperation. This process encourages people to disrespect each other, culminating in the belief that the moral imperfection of differently minded individuals is the cause for the failing attempts of the state to plan the economy. Hayek feared that this fatal process continues until a totalitarian movement comes into power, claiming to possess absolute moral and technical knowledge as Plato did for his philosopher kings once they gained insight into the idea of the good. As in Plato’s vision, this totalitarian state would then systematically erase pluralism and form a homogeneous society.

Against this background, Popper emphasized the huge contrast between Plato’s conception of a philosopher as an enlightened person and Socrates’ conception of the humble seeker of the truth who knows his own limitations. With this Socratic attitude, we do not see our fellows as imperfect bodies but rather as individuals whose perspectives matter and are of value to us as Humboldt and Mill highlighted. Consequently, it is – not only for the sake of economic development but also for the future of respect, peace, and liberty – important “to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design” (Hayek 1988: 76).




1 For this paper, it is not relevant whether insufficient information presented by governments as knowledge is the
consequence of insufficient self-reflection or intended pretense. Thus, I will use the term arrogation of knowledge
instead of pretense of knowledge because the first is combinable with both causes.

2 Strictly speaking, this example is also a bit simplified since our value judgment could be triggered by other motives as well. For example, I could be willing to pay more for your product than its functional value alone justifies because I want to support a charity you promised a share of your profits.

3 Still, there remains the problem of externalities. Due to constraints of space, it is not possible to discuss the issues connected to these in detail here. However, it is important to realize that negative externalities are also of a subjective nature. Thus, Titus Gebel argued that people in an area could agree unanimously about how to treat externalities by signing a treaty concerning them. This is part of Gebel’s conception of free private cities, compare: Gebel 2019. Nonetheless, there remains the problem of globally impacting externalities that must be discussed elsewhere.

4 For reasons of simplicity, I just describe the effect of interventions on the supply of goods here. Naturally, the same consequences apply to the supply of services.

5 Due to space constraints, I must again exclude a deeper discussion concerning how to deal with externalities and their subjective nature (compare page 4, footnote 3). This also includes the question of how the exact framework of a market order is defined. However, I will provide a brief indication concerning a possible solution here. As the German philosopher Julian F. Müller recently outlined, competition could also be used for the search for new political systems by institutionally organized competition between small-scale autonomous cities. Analogous to the market sphere, this would increase the institutional knowledge of the supply side on how to satisfy the different subjective wishes of the demand side (Müller 2019). In the spirit of Mill and Humboldt, diverse subjective value judgments would not be treated as a threat to human progress but as a necessary condition for it (Lütge/Müller 2014: 345).


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