The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality

The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality

Infobox Book
name = The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality
author = Ludwig Von Mises
illustrator =
cover_artist =
country = United States
language = English
series =
publisher = D Van Nostrand Company, Liberty Fund
pub_date = 1956
media_type = Print (Hardback & Paperback)
pages = 114

"The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality" is a book written by Austrian School economist and libertarian thinker Ludwig von Mises. It is an investigation into the psychological roots of the anti-capitalistic stance that is widespread in the general populations of the capitalist world. Von Mises suggests various reasons for this mentality, primarily the fact that free competition in the market economy allows for no excuses of one's failures.

Frustrated ambition

'In a society based on caste and status, the individual can ascribe adverse fate to conditions beyond his own control. [For instance] He is a slave because the superhuman powers that determine all becoming had assigned him this rank. [...] It is quite another thing under capitalism. Here everybody's station in life depends on his own doing [...] The sway of the principle, "to each according to his accomplishments", does not allow of any excuse for personal shortcomings' (pp.11-12)

Faced with this burden many who have fared poorly in the market economy seek a scapegoat to shift the blame from themselves and restore their self-image.

Common misunderstandings

According to Von Mises the economic myths of Marxian philosophy have heavily influenced the way the general public interprets its economic condition and perceives of capitalism. The average wage-earner's high standard of living is viewed as an inevitable result of 'self-acting progress', akin to Marx's 'material productive forces'. It is believed that these material productive forces (eg. technological innovations) are not only independent of capitalism but will eventually force capitalism to yield to more advanced forms of socialist organisation. Till that day the exploiting capitalists will continue to refuse workers their fair share of this progress.As Von Mises explains the notion of 'fair share' is devoid of meaning, for both capital and labour are necessary to produce goods and it is impossible to assign a proportion of the end product as belonging to either labour or capital. But even more importantly the historical increase in the average wage-earner's rewards is due solely to the accumulation of capital, and in particular 'the fact that the rate of capital accumulation exceeds the rate of increase in population' (p.88). It follows from this that

'All pseudo-economic doctrines which depreciate the role of saving and capital accumulation are absurd [...] What has improved the wage earners' standard of living is the fact that the capital equipment per head of the men eager to earn wages has increased. It is a consequence of this fact that an ever increasing portion of the total amount of usable goods produced goes to the wage earners' (p.89)


# The Social Characteristics of Capitalism and the Psychological Causes of Its Vilification
## The Sovereign Consumer
## The Urge for Economic Betterment
## Status Society and Capitalism
## The Resentment of Frustrated Ambition
## The Resentment of the Intellectuals
## The Anti-capitalistic Bias of American Intellectuals
## The Resentment of the White-Collar Workers
## The Resentment of "Cousins"
## The Communism of Broadway and Hollywood
## The Non-Economic Objections to Capitalism
## Ant-Communism vs. Capitalism
# The Ordinary Man's Social Philosophy
## Capitalism as it is and as it is Seen by the Common Man
## The Anti-capitalistic Front
# Literature Under Capitalism
## The Market for Literary Products
## Success on the Book Market
## Remarks about the Detective Stories
## Freedom of the Press
## The Bigotry of the Literati
## The "Social" Novels and Plays
# The Noneconomic Objections to Capitalism
## The Argument of Happiness
## Materialism
## Injustice
## The "Bourgeois Prejudice" for Liberty
## Liberty and Western Civilation
# "Anticommunism" versus Capitalism

Publication History

* D Van Nostrand Company, 1956
* Libertarian Press,
* Liberty Fund, 2006, ISBN 0-86597-670-8 (cloth), ISBN 0-86597-671-6 (paperback)

ee also

*Austrian school

External links

* [ The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality by Ludwig von Mises in E-Book version at]

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