This is an incredible strategy by the Mises institute, when you come to the last paragraph, linger awhile, and read my further comment afterwards.
Flooding the World with Truth
by Doug French
The email said: “Did you see this article on the Austrian School in The Economist?”
The article in question was from last month, which now seems like years ago. Sure, I probably saw it. About 50 such items hit my inbox every day.
Ten years ago, this article would have been amazing. Today it is a blip on the screen. But someone out there will read it and get curious. He or she will look for more and find Mises.org. Then the change happens, that most important change in the world: the mind begins to grasp the idea of liberty. Here is an event that is more important than anything in the physical world. Repeat that experience millions and billions of times and history will conform.
Our time is coming. Of this I’m convinced. The explosion of the Austrian School into the popular media is so large and so vast that it is impossible to keep up. We’re in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, all over the television, in journals and hundreds of books, and in every other conceivable media outlet.
No, they don’t always get the story right. What matters is that these relentless mentions, this constant spotlight on a body of ideas, are potentially transformative.
This is our moment. Ludwig von Mises fought his entire life for this. Murray Rothbard dreamed of a time like this. The Austrian School, broadly considered, has worked for 500 years to get the word out about free markets, sound money, and the wreckage caused by government intervention.
Government and its apologists worked to suppress the writings of the great defenders of economic freedom throughout the whole 20th century. We were supposed to buy into the government’s plans for our lives and everyone else’s, around the world. We were supposed to pay, obey, and shut up.
It didn’t work. They tried to kill Mises, and then they burned his books. He escaped to Geneva and then to New York and went on to write the greatest treatises ever. They dumped Rothbard in a tiny office at a small Brooklyn college, and he wrote and published and made history anyway. So it has always been: the pen is mightier than the sword.
In our times, a major reason, and perhaps the major reason, for the phenomenal progress is the work of the Mises Institute. This is the infrastructure that gives rise to and supports all the rest.
The Mises Institute was founded by Lew Rockwell in 1982, when the cause of sound money was hopeless and Mises’s works were slipping into obscurity. Our first conference was on the gold standard. Everyone said it was a dumb idea. Nearly 30 years later, the whole world is watching those speeches online.
In these decades, we’ve published hundreds of books on economic freedom – some technical, some popular, some serious, some funny. Since the beginning of the digital age, our audience has expanded to millions. Really, there is no way to fully trace the influence of the Mises Institute, but it is pervasive, ubiquitous, and darn near universal.
The reason is the domain name you see in your browser window. This domain has been supercharged through the most brilliant (and some say crazy) strategy ever imagined: We give away as much as we possibly can. We give away lectures, films, books, journals, articles, and information in every conceivable way we can package it.
When Mises first started doing this, they gave away a major text book written by Murray Rothchild. I downloaded it and read a couple of paragraphs on my computer and was so amazed at this revalation that I bought the book on Amazon. I phoned the Institute and asked whether they think this is a good idea and was told that since they gave the book away for free, sales in bookshops and on the Mises website have shot up. Canonical gives their software away free (Ubuntu) and also the source code (intellectual rights) and have grown from a staff of three, in five years, to over 350 staff in 28 countries around the world. I could, therefore, easily believe this. Since then Mises give away just about everything and are growing at a phenomenal rate.
The secret is, by giving away the main product, people want ancillary services. With Mises, these are courses of instruction and speakers for conferences and with Canonical it is support contracts and engineers certification. Both organisations realise that by giving the main product away free, they increase their customer base for ancillary services.