Economics of the Free Society

Economics of the Free Society

Economics of the Free Society

Economics of the Free Society

Excerpt

This English translation of my Die Lehre von der Wirtschaft is based on the 9th German edition (Eugen-Rentsch Verlag, Zurich, 1961). The appearance of the work in the United States some twenty- five years after its original publication in German may be the proper occasion on which to relate its rather tumultuous history. The original draft was composed during a period of exile in Turkey in 1936 and was published in Vienna (Julius Springer Verlag) shortly before the National Socialist takeover of Austria. It was a publication which properly should have excited the deepest suspicion of the agents of the brown totalitarians. Nevertheless, it managed for a time to avoid outright proscription and enjoyed a modest clandestine circulation in certain areas where the swastika flew. Ultimately, the Gestapo, with its sure nose for intellectual contraband, broke into the cellars of the Vienna publisher and confiscated the remaining copies. Thus the book, like its author, was forced to emigrate and had the good fortune to be adopted by a Swiss firm. A Czech and an Hungarian translation were prepared, but before they could be published the political upheavals which followed in the wake of Nazi conquests silenced this antitotalitarian voice.

A better fate was reserved to the French translation which was published in 1940 in Paris (Librairie de Medicis) under the title Explication économique du monde moderne. Perhaps "published" is not quite the right word to describe what happened to the book. Arrangements for its distribution had been completed by May of 1940, but shortly afterwards Paris capitulated to German troops. This appeared to doom the book, particularly since a very frank foreword and final chapter had been prepared for the French edition . . .

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