By Ludwig von Mises

“The inherent mark of capitalism is that it is mass production for mass consumption directed by the most energetic and far-sighted individuals, unflaggingly aiming at improvement.  Its driving force is the profit motive, the instrumentality of which forces the businessman constantly to provide the consumers with more, better and cheaper amenities.  An excess of profits over losses can appear only in a progressing economy and only to the extent to which the masses’ standard of living improves.  Thus capitalism is the system under which the keenest and most agile minds are driven to promote the welfare of the laggard many.”

Human Action covers an extensive range of economic concepts from exchange and uncertainty, to the functions of society and the role of ideas.  While this book is a more time consuming and difficult read, it is a monumental piece of work that focuses on the most essential and basic part of economics: human action and decision-making.  Throughout the book, Mises stresses the importance of incentives and explains how they affect and guide human action and therefore heavily influence economic outcomes.

Mises’ book is an educational read that conveys the principles and theories of the Austrian school of economic thought, the chief rival of Keynesian economics.