Ludwig von MisesLudwig von Mises, (1881-1973) Economist and social philosopher

Ludwig von Mises Quote

“Government cannot make man richer, but it can make him poorer.”

Ludwig von MisesLudwig von Mises
~ Ludwig von Mises

Ratings and Comments

john-douglas, nassau

How true - unless. of course you happen to be a Haliburton or Bechtel man or even a favorted politician.

E Archer, NYC

I would say the government cannot make the 'common man' richer, but it certainly has made many men billionaires, and they make sure government keeps it coming. Without a doubt, government makes banks and corporations richer!

Bryan Morton, Stuart, FL

The quote refers to "man", not "a man." In that sense, government doesn't produce and cannot create wealth. It can only consume, transfer and destroy wealth.

jim k, austin

Bryan of Stuart got it right.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

We, man that is, is richer because of government or at least I know that I am. Let me count the ways: the Governments of Pennsylvania and Rhode Island secured for me religious liberty, the Continental Government secured my political liberty, need I go on. Government is simply society in action. My community and its government gives me so many untold and innumerable riches that I am at a loss and out of breath trying to enumerate them. Being rich is much more than just cash in the bank.

Mike, Norwalk

john through jim said well, said very well. To Waffler, government is God and Church with ability to create anything / everything from nothing and moral right to lord over the populous chattel. Because his religion is now the only religion allowed in government schools and public administrations, he feels free - on, and on, and on. When the full status and dominion of the individual sovereign is expressed, it is understood that his servant's (government) job description is to serve and protect (with in the limits of doing a small part of what the sovereign could do for himself, if he had the time), not make richer or poorer. Waffler's use of richer here is not the same as the quote's author.

RKA, Wasilla, AK

In the wake of current economic situation and the way things are being run by government not only in USA but other major economies, I have to agree with this statement. Unfortunate, but true. Increasingly, the populist ambitions of neo-cons and leftists alike, we are in the course of bailing out banks and financial institutions, in the path of so called Economic Socialism. What really frustrates and anger me, is that with all this going on, why in the name of God, is it that we are not seeing people in the middle who suffer day by day. Where is the respite for them? Government bailed out corporation in the expense of people. The corporation will not bail out government, people will, with higher taxes and fees. I can not stand this, and I hope people see whats happening to our wealth through their naked eyes. WAKE UP.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

"Being rich is not owning things it is using things." Socrates. Mike you know nothing about my religion, so quit talking like a dictator. My formal religion is as a Seventh-day Adventist so now you know and you can therefore shut up! And of course the Bible tells us that being rich is knowing that "My father owns the cattle on a thousand hills." No one is rich in this world we are only passing through and using things for awhile.

RKA, Wasilla, AK

@ Waffler: Sir, I think you are wrong. Government is not society in action. It is bureaucratic thugs in action, bailing out rich on the expense of poor. The current action or inaction there of, is not helping me. I still earn the same as I have been for last couple of years. The current upswing in the wall street is not an indication of improving economies, it is an indication of man's greed.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Waffler, you've used that Socrates quote before -- can you source it for me? I was just reading Plato's Republic, the Apology, Crito, and a few other of Socrates' works and would like to see the quote in text. Half of what Socrates said is not in promotion of his own opinion, but in rebutting another person's stupidity -- it'd be interesting to see the quote in context.

E Archer, NYC

The communist credo is for the pleb to own nothing and the state to control everything. Indeed, to be 'rich' or more accurately 'powerful' is to control (i.e. 'use') the property of others without the LIABILITY of ownership. I believe Waffler has no idea of his own communist leanings, but it certainly is evident to those of us who simply wish to control our own lives and property. Making up quotes from Socrates to support communist ideals just goes to show how far he will go to keep his head in the sand.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, "By their fruits ye shall know them" comes to mind. I've worked side by side of a lot of Seventh-day Adventists in relief and other charity work, and not one of them would have said their service to their fellow man was satisfied by financing police. I don't know what congregation you associate with but I have far too much respect for Seventh-day Adventists to believe you are in full fellowship. Your statements on government far exceed politics, expounding a religious fervor. It is hard for me to understand how anyone that claims or professes communism or a democracy can speak out of the other side of their mouth at the same time, claiming to be Christian also.

Sherry, Southfield, MI

Unfortunately, the democrats who will vote for Obama haven't a clue what they are in for. He is a socialist. They THINK the government will make them richer but it will not happen. Why do people want the government to take care of them all the time? At what price? To have the government have say in every aspect of our lives (like the communists). Why are people so willing to give up freedoms at the promise of getting something from the government. People have such a hate going for Pres. Bush; blaming him for all the ills of this country (and remember the democratic majority congress passes the laws, not the president) that I think if Satan himself was running under the democratic ticket they would vote for him. So people, don't whine when you lose your freedoms to a socialist/communist president if you elect him. Stop whining and complaining people and take responsibility. Thank you Waffler for your comments. We need to count our blessings in this country instead of whining all the time about what we can't have. Look at other countries and appreciate what you have.

Ken, Milford Pa

We all are happy to have libraries, public schools, fire departments, etc. However this doesn't mean that when we point out where government has overstepped it's bounds that we are unappreciative or unpatriotic. It is the must American thing possible being able to speak up and express our displeasure. Having these public services doesn't mean that we want government to decide for us how we are to conduct ourselves in every aspect of our lives. It is un-American and unpatriotic to tell American's to except, in silence what government doles out to us. Government is the servant of the people and not the master. The servant is never supposed to dictate to the Master and the people are the masters. John Adams said that it is the job of government to create the most happiness, for the greatest amount of the people, for the largest percentage of the time possible. He did not say that the government is to rule over all details of our lives instructing as to what to do. This was recognized by all of our founding fathers as tyranny, not freedom or riches.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Yeah Mike I am not in lock step with anyone including the SDA. Organized religion can take you so far, I mean look at Palin she is a self proclaimed Christian and a State of Alaska proclaimed iunethica person and now even lies about the report against her. Ken from Milford you have it correct sir. You have a pont RKA but community leaders, Mayors, Governors, Presidents are the leaders of government which is the preeminent leader of society. There are also other community leaders but they don't have the force of "law". They do have moral suasion.

Logan, Memphis, TN

Hey, Waffler, can you source that quote from Socrates for me? I've done some searching online and can't find it -- I've been reading some Socrates lately and would love to see where that quote is that I skipped over... thanks.

roberto, queretaro, mexico

Unless you happen to be living in Mexico or most Latin American countries and why exclude Africa and Asia, where closeness to the government has made thousands of people very rich.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Logan the quote is just something I picked up somewhere second hand, I mean I did not see in Socrates own hand writing or hear it from his own voice. I was lead to believe as I believe many have that he said that. I look it up today and did not find it but found a similar sentiment of his. The source is the not the main issue. The statement still has some inate truth to it. Since we are only tenants on this planet for 100 years we are in fact renters. But you are the prideful research guy so why don't show off your pirde and let us know.

E Archer, NYC

Waffler, I believe that you are demonstrating what Mike frequently refers to as 'prideful ignorance.' As you are someone who tells others to not put words in your mouth, I suggest not making up quotes from Socrates to backup your case (especially on a quote site where you can probably find dozens of real quotes to make your point). We are not 'renters' on this Earth, we are inhabitants -- would you have us all pay rent for the right to live? We have RESPONSIBILITIES, not government-imposed liabilities. In Waffler's world, we are all slaves to the state.

warren, olathe

The best riches the government can give man is his freedom from as much government as possible.

Jimi Bigbear, Libertyville, IA

Interesting discussion - Socrates notwithstanding.

The point I want to make is that Jewish Aristocrat von Mises was (and is) an Establishment point man. The Alabama Austrians' and the NeoLibertarians' cacophony of daily if not hourly calls blaming government - calling for overthrowing the government - ARE IN SERVICE TO THAT SAME ESTABLISHMENT THAT HAS CORRUPTED THE GOVERNMENT.

Going all the way back to Poppy Bush and his minion Oliver North and their creation of Camp(s) FEMA - there are SO many executive orders in place to turn America into full police state, that THEY are just itching for a revolt so all the EO's (which normally - CONstitutionally - only apply to officers, members, and employees of the executive branch) can kick in under the guise of "national emergency."

The problem is NOT the government. The problem is those "evil doers" who have stolen OUR government from US and corrupted it to their own advantage. Do yourself a favor, download and read Eustace Mullins' "The World Order" with this link:

Mike, Norwalk

Jimi, said well. It would be far better for the sleeping lions (sovereigns) to join in the process of self governing over their rights representatives than any other alternative. If there is an ultimate blame, it is the willing patrons of the statist theocracy, replacing their dogmas with the once advancing republican form of government. Though Von Mises states principles much closer to fiscal natural law than the anti-law Keynesian transfer /theft of wealth, that whole movement has been derailed to support the Neo . . .

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    Abby    3/22/16

    When speaking of all of society, this would be a great quote. Especially if speaking to an educated society. Selectively, this isn't necessarily true today. Solyndra is an example...we have a picknchoose government, and we have a whirlpool of politicians, circling round and round DC from position to position, never leaving the comfort of the tax dollar paid bedding they lie upon. DC is nothing like the vision of the is a cesspool of winks and nods. It is why we have Trump and Bernie as candidates. It will only get worse as we have had 3 generations of FEDERAL education to teach people to be good uneducated followers...and the 4th generation is coming up fast...


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