by Richard M. Ebeling
Ludwig von Mises’s majestic magnum opus, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, was published on September 14, 1949. In the nearly seven decades since its appearance, Human Action has come to be recognized as one of the truly great classics of modern economics.
Often a “classic” means a famous book considered to have made important contributions to a discipline that is reverentially referred to but is rarely ever read. In economics, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations is the typical example of such a work. Every economist has heard of the “invisible hand” and the notion of self-interest furthering the public interest through the incentive mechanism of the market, but probably few economists nowadays have actually read more than a handful of snippets and brief passages from Smith’s treatise.