Ludwig von Mises was born on this day in 1881. He would live his mark as one of the greatest teachers of economics in the 20th century, and perhaps, I would argue, the greatest systematic economic thinker history has ever known. On the occasion of his birthday, I like to share what Hayek had to say about Mises's influence on him.
I just learned he was usually right in his conclusions, but I was not completely satisfied with his argument. That, I think, followed me through my life. I was always influenced by Mises's answers, but not fully satisfied by his arguments. It became very largely an attempt to improve the argument, which I realized led to correct conclusions. But the question of why it hadn't persuaded most other people became important to me; so I became anxious to put it in a more effective form. ... In my interests, I've been very much guided by him. Both the interests in money and industrial fluctuations and the interest in socialism comes very directly from his influence. ... Being for ten years in close contact with a man with whose conclusions on the whole you agree but whose arguments were not always convincing to you was a great stimulus.
Hayek could have included in his list also methodology -- see, e.g., The Counter-Revolution of Science -- and method of analysis -- see his discussion of the competitive market process in works such as "The Meaninog of Competition", "Competition as a Discovery Procedure", and the chapter on the market order in Law, Legislation and Liberty.
There should be little doubt that there is a Mises-Hayek research program to be developed in economics and political economy. Kirzner is the heir apparent to that program in technical economics, and I'd argue that Buchanan was the heir apparent to that program in political economy. Thus, the legcy of Ludwig von Mises lives on through the further development of the Mises-Hayek-Kirzner theory of the entrepreneurial market process, and in the Smith-Mises-Hayek-Buchanan continual restatement of classical liberalism. There are no doubt other intellectual branches to Mises's legacy, most notably the Rothbardian pursuit of laissze faire radicalism.
But today, lets remember that Mises was the fountainhead of such a vibrant intellectual tradition in scholarship and in science, and to see his his influence in the impact of his students from Vienna (not just Hayek, but also Machlup, Morgenstern, Haberler in economics; Schutz in sociology; Kaufmann in philosophy of science) and the US (not just Kirzner, but also Sennholz and the educational activism he inspired with organizations such as FEE and IHS). Mises's intellectual "grandchildren" and "great grandchildren" and "great great grandchildren" are a diverse and growing group.
Mises's intellectual influence throughout the world continues to grow and flourish in a multitude of directions 133 years after his birth. In 1981, I attended the 100th birthday celebrations that were held at Grove City College. So much has changed since that time in a positive direction for the advancement of Mises's ideas within and outside of the academy.
Happy Birthday Professor Mises!