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Vindictive Liberals: The 1963 Edition of Human Action

Written by Gary North on May 2, 2013

This is the fiftieth anniversary of one of the most scurrilous incidents in academic publishing. The victim was Ludwig von Mises. The perpetrator was Yale University Press.

Yale University Press published the 1949 edition of Human Action. Sales were much higher than the editor had expected. It was a 900-page treatise on economics, written by an immigrant from Germany who was teaching at an undistinguished university. He was out of favor with the now-dominant Keynesian establishment. The book sold for $10, which in 1949 was the equivalent in today’s money of $98. Who would have imagined that it would go through six printings?

In 1962, it went out of print. I remember attending a week-long evening seminar by Mises that summer. It was sponsored by Andrew Joseph Galambos. Attendees could not buy Human Action.

Mises wanted to revise the book. The replacement editor allowed this. But he would not allow Mises to see the page proofs in early 1963. Mises had asked.

When the book appeared, it was a typesetting atrocity. The editor did not pay for a new typesetting job. Instead, he hired a typesetter to typeset revised sections. Then the man then pasted over the old edition. The changes were made in bold face. They did not match the original edition. The result was an aesthetic disaster.

My edition has this title page. On the page is an addition. It is attached to the page by Scotch tape.

(For the rest of the story, click the link.)

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16 thoughts on “Vindictive Liberals: The 1963 Edition of Human Action

  1. Lol. This has nothing tp do with liberals or conservatives. This has everything to do with a publisher being a cheapskate. Way to politicize nothing, Gary.

  2. He is trying to illustrate how some liberals try to malign others in times past. Stuff like this happened all the time; just not always in publishing.

  3. jimmy apendix says:

    excuse me I meant to say may your boyfriend….

  4. daves5dea says:

    You are as big a fool as ever if you believe that—-of course the publisher purposefully did that—they are not for a free, unfettered, market. They are basically Keynesians who think that the government and the Federal Reserve can solve economic problems—which they cannot!!!

  5. daves5dea says:

    I am in full agreement with you —just look what happened to President John F. Kennedy in 1963. He was a Democrat that was proposing lower taxes in order to stimulate the economy, and his opposition to a protracted U.S. military role in Vietnam, plus deciding not to invade Cuba during the Bay of Pigs incident, made him few friends with the CIA.,the Pentagon (military-industrial complex) leading to his death in Dallas, Texas. Some day we may yet come to our collective senses.

  6. Ed Schofield says:

    With regard to Kennedy and Vietnam, maybe you weren't around then, but I was. In the 1960 Presidential Debate, it was Nixon who said he did not think American parents wanted their sons to die half-way around the world for some country they never heard of, and it was Kennedy who boldly insisted that by God, we would stand with out allies and commit the whole force of the United States military to defend any of them who were attacked. Kennedy significantly increased US presence in Vietnam and gave full US support to that corrupt idiot President Diem and his even more corrupt wife.

  7. I agree with you on everything except Cuba. Castro came to us first for help. If we had befriended him, there would not have been the Bay of Pigs!

  8. I agree – we should have befriended Castro. He would have changed his mind about America then. As a result, his people have lived decades in poverty. That said, we need to be choosy about what kind of friends we support – and Diem was not one of them.

  9. daves5dea says:

    You sure know how to rewrite history. Kennedy told an aide when he was on his way to Dallas, and stated to him that he would not commit any troops to die unnecessarily in a war half way around the Earth. You are a fool to state what you have because Nixon went into Laos and Cambodia after Johnson used the excuse of the Tonkin Bay incident where someone launched and attack on one of our boats in the area. The first thing upon being sworn in LBJ sent our forces into Southeast Asia. I grew up then and you are mixed up as to what occurred then. Kennedy avoided war in Cuba and was not at all convinced that we should follow in the missteps of the French in Vietnam. Where did you get your information from, the Watergate burglars???

  10. daves5dea says:

    We should have opened up trade and relations with the Cuban officialdom ages ago, and we would see a complete change in leadership there. With travel back and forth and full trade the people in Cuba would now be a close trading partner instead of a foe.

  11. Ludwig says:

    And all these foolish little kids want to go to Yale so they can be "Yaleys." How much are they really going to learn in an environment that is virulently anti-free market and surrounded by intellectually dishonest Keynsians (proto-Marxists) and outright Marxists. Does anyone really think Yale is that much different today? If anything, it is much worse. This article is as much an indictment of Yale as it is of the eastern establishment.

  12. Sutekh says:

    Right you are, Ed. Defending allies against outside attack is one thing, but when their government is so corrupt that its own people prefer to attack it, rather than repel invaders and subversionists, there is nothing to defend. I was only in third grade at the time, but everyone had heard about how corrupt Diem was.

  13. Sutekh says:

    A communist will use anyone dumb enough to help him.
    Castor repeatedly said that he was not a communist until he had successfully taken over Cuba, and persuaded all the people to turn in their guns because "the revolution is over." Afterwards, Castro said the equivalent of, "By golly, whadday know? I AM a communist."

  14. Sutekh says:

    It is irnoic that a few years ago Berkeley got its funding reduced by the California government, which was so broke from trying to practice the economics that Berkeley espoused that it no longer had the money.

  15. Seymour Kleerly says:

    Would you have prefered the Right Wing Dictator Batista who left the masses without the basics?

  16. Seymour Kleerly says:

    I'm sure all the Righties who live in the Confederacy agree with you.