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Essays

The essays are short pieces written to explore a key idea or important individual in the classical liberal and free market traditions. The essays are linked to other material in the Library in order to encourage a deeper exploration of the ideas under discussion. For a concise introduction to classical liberal and free market ideas see the essay by Mises below.



Mises on the Foundations of Classical Liberalism
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Source: A chapter in Mises, Liberalism: The Classical Tradition, trans. Ralph Raico, ed. Bettina Bien Greaves (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005).

LIBERALISM : The Classical Tradition

CHAPTER 1. The Foundations of Liberal Policy

1. Property

Human society is an association of persons for cooperative action. As against the isolated action of individuals, cooperative action on the basis of the principle of the division of labor has the advantage of greater productivity. If a number of men work in cooperation in accordance with the principle of the division of labor, they will produce (other things being equal) not only as much as the sum of what they would have produced by working as self-sufficient individuals, but considerably more. All human civilization is founded on this fact. It is by virtue of the division of labor that man is distinguished from the animals. It is the division of labor that has made feeble man, far inferior to most animals in physical strength, the lord of the earth and the creator of the marvels of technology. In the absence of the division of labor, we would not be in any respect further advanced today than our ancestors of a thousand or ten thousand years ago.

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