“Thoughts and ideas are not phantoms,” Ludwig von Mises wrote in Theory and History. “They are real things. Although intangible and immaterial, they are factors in bringing about changes in the realm of tangible and material things.”
Proof of this statement can be observed in Brazil, where, in the midst of political and socioeconomic turmoil, Mises’ Austrian ideas are gaining a foothold. And, moreover, changing the minds of Brazilians about the direction in which the country should head.
In fact, Mises has become most Googled economist in the country. Take a look, for example, at the interest of Keynes vs. Mises on Google Trends.
“Just like the Mises Institute,” Joseph T. Salerno writes on the Mises Wire, “which is ranked as the 9th most influential think tank in the U.S., Mises Brazil has an enormous intellectual influence that belies its modest size.”
“While governments around the world,” Tho Bishop chimes in, “have been facing the brunt of populist movements, spurred by a slowing global economy and increased political centralization, the conditions in Brazil offer unique hope for the cause of liberty.”
And even the mainstream can’t ignore Brazil’s call for sound economics: “Protesters,” a Foreign Policy article reads, “chanted against Rousseff and the PT’s left-wing policies, raising comparisons with Venezuela, Argentina, and Cuba. In Rio they held signs that read, ‘Against the Bolivarian dictatorship,’ referring to the colonial-era revolutionary figure held dear by Latin America’s left, and waved placards calling for ‘Less Marx, more Mises,’ citing the late Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, whose work is influential in libertarian circles.”
Today, to talk about this widening trend, we invite the one-and-only Austrian Addict to the show.
Is there hope for Brazil? Will the political turmoil prove to a force to sound economics? Will Mises rise out of the ashes of Marx’s tired ideas?
Nobody can predict the future. But, despite the chaos, Terra do Brasil might, thanks to the powerful influence of Mises, have a future to look forward to.
Menos Marx, Mais Mises (Less Marx, More Mises)
By Austrian Addict
The global economic slowdown provides an opportunity to spread the ideas of Austrian economics and individual liberty. People know something is wrong but they don’t know the cause.
Government intervention by politicians and bureaucrats, along with our central bankers policy of money printing and zero interest rates is what caused these economic distortions.
It is easy for political leaders to sell the belief that the solutions come from bureaucratic central planners. People can see concrete things built from the plans of engineers and architects, so it makes sense in our minds that plans can bring about the ends sought by the planners.
Getting people to understand that order can be created spontaneously when individuals pursue their own plans and cooperate voluntarily with each other in what we call a free market, is much more difficult because of its abstract nature.
The concepts of money and interest rates aren’t easy to wrap your head around. When they are manipulated by central banks, it’s even harder to grasp.
Education about economic principles has to come from the bottom up (0ne on one), because we know the truth can’t come from politicians and bureaucrats.
In this article, Hope In Brazil As Millions March Against Rouseff, by Tho Bishop, at mises.org, we see growth of bottom up change.
Here are some excerpts from the article:
“Due to the work of Helio Beltrao and Mises Brasil, Ludwig von Mises and Austrian economics have made unprecedented gains within the country. As I noted last year, Mises is the most searched economist in all of Brazil. Meanwhile the media was forced to take notice as signs reading Menos Marx, Mais Mises (Less Marx, More Mises) were seen being waved during an earlier round of anti-Rousseff (President Dilma Rousseff) protests.”
“Ludwig von Mises: ‘In the long run even the most despotic governments with all their brutality and cruelty are no match for ideas. Eventually the ideology that has won the support of the majority will prevail and cut the ground from under the tyrant’s feet.’
MORE HOPE FOR LATIN AMERICA?
Here is a video from libertypenblog.blogspot.com. John Stossel talks to Gloria Alvarez who is a free market activist in Latin America. Here are quotes from the video:
Gloria Alvarez: “..In Latin America we still don’t know how economics works. We have seen Cuba fail and it should be enough to see Cuba failing…….and since we don’t know history because Latin Americans are oblivious to what happened in the Soviet Union, in China…..”
Stossel asks, “How did you learn this”
Gloria Alvarez: “….I studied in a libertarian university…UFM….It has von Mises library…”
Miss Alvarez, Latin Americans aren’t alone in their ignorance of history or how economics works.
We Americans have become blissfully ignorant.
And we have no excuses because we have a culture of liberty and free markets. How much farther down the Road to Serfdom do we have to travel before we wake up?
[Ed. note: Click here to see video Gloria Alvarez speak at CPAC.]
Austrian Economics Addict