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Methodological Individualism

Methodological Individualism is a form of analysis that views all social phenomena as results of individual action. Only individuals can act, even when those individuals form collectives. This also holds true for exchanges. Markets and prices for goods represent the aggregation of individual preferences. Markets and institutions, then, must be evaluated in terms of individuals, rather than arbitrary groupings like class, race, or nationality.

Anthony Carilli - The Economic Way of Thinking

 

 

 

Related Publications

ARCHIVE

The Goal Is Freedom: No Substitute for History

AUGUST 03, 2007 by SHELDON RICHMAN

The great economist Ludwig von Mises showed thateconomics can be deduced from the axiom that human beings act:individuals consciously select ends and apply scarce means to achieve them.By examining the logical implications of that undeniable fact, one can come tounderstand the concepts value, cost, time preference, supply,demand, money, price, profit, interest, andso on. In light of this, it is noteworthy that Mises was also an accomplishedhistorian. And more than that, he was an important historiographer; that is, hewas interested in the why and how of history. This theorist who is so identifiedwith the a priori method in economics also believed that a knowledge ofhistory and its methods was indispensable to understanding the world. More . . .

A NEW article by Sheldon Richman


Related Freeman Articles

FEATURE

Methodological Individualism

NOVEMBER 14, 2012 by WARREN C. GIBSON

"The hangman, not the state, executes a criminal." Ludwig von Mises's insight into the source of human action contains a world of wisdom, says Warren Gibson.

THE CALLING

On Individualism and Economic Order

Great Austrian works of the twentieth century

SEPTEMBER 20, 2012 by STEVEN HORWITZ

Many of the themes that characterize Austrian economics since its revival in the mid-1970s emerged from these essays.

ARTICLE

Hayek on Individualism

True and false.

JUNE 15, 2012 by SHELDON RICHMAN

For Hayek the crucial difference is over whether societies (institutions) are largely spontaneous, emergent, and organic--or designed.

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FEE offers live online events for people new to the economic, ethical, and legal principles of a free society.

CURRENT ISSUE

December 2014

Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
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