Human ActionThe text files are the Fourth edition,copyright 1996 by Bettina B. Greaves (Irvington: Foundation for Economic Education, 1996), who gave her kind permission for this online edition ( see note). George Reisman prepared the .pdf files, which correspond to the fourth edition text. He also prepared a file with additions for the 3rd edition. See the publication history of this book.

Also available: Nationalökonomie: Theorie Des Handelns und Wirthschaftens, the 1940 German-language predecessor to Human Action, and the Scholar's Edition, which is a reprint of Mises's original 1940 with a new introduction and index. 

To purchase the fully restored First Edition (1949), see THE SCHOLAR'S EDITION, which is the print edition published by the Mises Institute. The Scholar's Edition is also available for download. See also Mises's essay "The Why of Human Action" and Joseph Salerno's (in .pdf) "The Place of Mises's Human Action in the Development of Modern Economic Thought".

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Foreword to the 4th edition by Bettina B. Greaves (p. v) [ read in .pdf]
Foreword to the 3rd edition by Ludwig von Mises [ read in .pdf]
Contents Page in .pdf]

Introduction [ read in .pdf]

  1. Economics and Praxeology (p. 1)          
  2. The Epistemological Problem of a General Theory of Human Action (p. 4)          
  3. Economic Theory and the Practice of Human Action (p. 7)          
  4. Resume (p. 10)

Chapter I. Acting Man [ read in .pdf]

  1. Purposeful Action and Animal Reaction (p. 11)          
  2. The Prerequisites of Human Action (p. 13)          
  3. Human Action as an Ultimate Given (p. 17)          
  4. Rationality and Irrationality; Subjectivism and Objectivity of Praxeological Research (p. 19)          
  5. Causality as a Requirement of Action (p. 22)           
  6. The Alter Ego (p. 23)

Chapter II. The Epistemological Problems of the Sciences of Human Action [ read in .pdf]

  1. Praxeology and History (p. 30)          
  2. The Formal and Aprioristic Character of Praxeology (p. 32)          
  3. The A Priori and Reality (p. 38)          
  4. The Principle of Methodological Individualism (p. 41)          
  5. The Principle of Methodological Singularism (p. 44)          
  6. The Individual and Changing Features of Human Action (p. 46)          
  7. The Scope and the Specific Method of History (p. 47)          
  8. Conception and Understanding (p. 51)          
  9. On Ideal Types (p. 59)          
  10. The Procedure of Economics (p. 64)          
  11. The Limitations on Praxeological Concepts (p. 69)

Chapter III. Economics and the Revolt Against Reason [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Revolt Against Reason (p. 72)          
  2. The Logical Aspect of Polylogism (p. 75)          
  3. The Praxeological Aspect of Polylogism (p. 76)          
  4. Racial Polylogism (p. 84)          
  5. Polylogism and Understanding (p. 86)          
  6. The Case for Reason (p. 89)

Chapter IV. A First Analysis of the Category of Action [ read in .pdf]

  1. Ends and Means (p. 92)          
  2. The Scale of Value (p. 94)          
  3. The Scale of Needs (p. 96)          
  4. Action as an Exchange (p. 97)

Chapter V. Time [ read in .pdf]

  1. Time as a Praxeological Factor (p. 99)          
  2. Past, Present, and Future (p. 100)          
  3. The Economization of Time (p. 101)          
  4. The Temporal Relation Between Actions (p. 102)

Chapter VI. Uncertainty [ read in .pdf]

  1. Uncertainty and Acting (p. 105)          
  2. The Meaning of Probability (p. 106)          
  3. Class Probability (p. 107)          
  4. Case Probability (p. 110)          
  5. Numerical Evaluation of Case Probability (p. 113)          
  6. Betting, Gambling, and Playing Games (p. 115)          
  7. Praxeological Prediction (p. 117)

Chapter VII. Action Within the World [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Law of Marginal Utility (p. 119)          
  2. The Law of Returns (p. 127)          
  3. Human Labor as a Means (p. 131)          
  4. Production (p. 140)



Chapter VIII. Human Society [ read in .pdf]

  1. Human Cooperation (p. 143)          
  2. A Critique of the Holistic and Metaphysical View of Society (p. 145)          
  3. The Division of Labor (p. 157)          
  4. The Ricardian Law of Association (p. 159)          
  5. The Effects of the Division of Labor (p. 164)          
  6. The Individual Within Society (p. 165)          
  7. The Great Society (p. 169)          
  8. The Instinct of Aggression and Destruction (p. 170)

Chapter IX. The Role of Ideas [ read in .pdf]

  1. Human Reason (p. 177)          
  2. World View and Ideology (p. 178)          
  3. Might (p. 187)          
  4. Meliorism and the Idea of Progress (p. 191)

Chapter X. Exchange Within Society [ read in .pdf]

  1. Autistic Exchange and Interpersonal Exchange (p. 194)          
  2. Contractual Bonds and Hegemonic Bonds (p. 195)          
  3. Calculative Action (p. 198)



Chapter XI. Valuation Without Calculation [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Gradation of the Means (p. 200)          
  2. The Barter-Fiction of the Elementary Theory of Value and Prices (p. 201)          
  3. The Problem of Economic Calculation (p. 206)          
  4. Economic Calculation and the Market (p. 209)

Chapter XII. The Sphere of Economic Calculation [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Character of Monetary Entries (p. 212)          
  2. The Limits of Economic Calculation (p. 214)          
  3. The Changeability of Prices (p. 217)          
  4. Stabilization (p. 219)          
  5. The Root of the Stabilization Idea (p. 223)

Chapter XIII. Monetary Calculation as a Tool of Action [ read in .pdf]

  1. Monetary Calculation as a Method of Thinking (p. 229)          
  2. Economic Calculation and the Science of Human Action (p. 231)



Chapter XIV. The Scope and Method of Catallactics [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Delimitation of Catallactic Problems (p. 232)          
  2. The Method of Imaginary Constructions (p. 236)          
  3. The Pure Market Economy (p. 237)          
  4. The Autistic Economy (p. 243)          
  5. The State of Rest and the Evenly Rotating Economy (p. 244)          
  6. The Stationary Economy (p. 250)          
  7. The Integration of Catallactic Functions (p. 251)

Chapter XV. The Market [[ read in .pdf]

  1. The Characteristics of the Market Economy (p. 257)          
  2. Capital Goods and Capital (p. 259)          
  3. Capitalism (p. 264)          
  4. The Sovereignty of the Consumers (p. 269)          
  5. Competition (p. 273)          
  6. Freedom (p. 279)          
  7. Inequality of Wealth and Income (p. 287)          
  8. Entrepreneurial Profit and Loss (p. 289)          
  9. Entrepreneurial Profits and Losses in a Progressing (p. 294)          
  10. Promoters, Managers, Technicians, and Bureaucrats (p. 303)          
  11. The Selective Process (p. 311)          
  12. The Individual and the Market (p. 315)          
  13. Business Propaganda (p. 320)          
  14. The "Volkswirtschaft" (p. 323)

Chapter XVI. Prices [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Pricing Process (p. 327)          
  2. Valuation and Appraisement (p. 331)          
  3. The Prices of the Goods of Higher Orders (p. 333)          
  4. Cost Accounting (p. 339)          
  5. Logical Catallactics Versus Mathematical Catallactics (p. 350)          
  6. Monopoly Prices (p. 357)          
  7. Good Will (p. 379)          
  8. Monopoly of Demand (p. 383)          
  9. Consumption as Affected by Monopoly Prices (p. 384)          
  10. Price Discrimination on the Part of the Seller (p. 388)          
  11. Price Discrimination on the Part of the Buyer (p. 391)          
  12. The Connexity of Prices (p. 391)          
  13. Prices and Income (p. 393)          
  14. Prices and Production (p. 394)          
  15. The Chimera of Nonmarket Prices (p. 395)

Chapter XVII. Indirect Exchange [ read in .pdf]

  1. Media of Exchange and Money (p. 398)          
  2. Observations on Some Widespread Errors (p. 398)          
  3. Demand for Money and Supply of Money (p. 401)          
  4. The Determination of the Purchasing Power of Money (p. 408)          
  5. The Problem of Hume and Mill and the Driving Force of Money (p. 416)          
  6. Cash-Induced and Goods-Induced Changes in Purchasing Power (p. 419)          
  7. Monetary Calculation and Changes in Purchasing Power (p. 424)          
  8. The Anticipation of Expected Changes in Purchasing Power (p. 426)          
  9. The Specific Value of Money (p. 428)          
  10. The Import of the Money Relation (p. 430)          
  11. The Money-Substitutes (p. 432)          
  12. The Limitation on the Issuance of Fiduciary Media (p. 434)          
  13. The Size and Composition of Cash Holdings (p. 448)          
  14. Balances of Payments (p. 450)          
  15. Interlocal Exchange Rates (p. 452)          
  16. Interest Rates and the Money Relation (p. 458)          
  17. Secondary Media of Exchange (p. 462)          
  18. The Inflationist View of History (p. 466)          
  19. The Gold Standard (p. 471)

Chapter XVIII. Action in the Passing of Time [ read in .pdf]

  1. Perspective in the Valuation of Time Periods (p. 479)          
  2. Time Preference as an Essential Requisite of Action (p. 483)          
  3. Capital Goods (p. 490)          
  4. Period of Production, Waiting Time, and Period of Provision (p. 493)          
  5. The Convertibility of Capital Goods (p. 503)          
  6. The Influence of the Past Upon Action (p. 505)          
  7. Accumulation, Maintenance and Consumption of Capital (p. 514)          
  8. The Mobility of the Investor (p. 517)          
  9. Money and Capital; Saving and Investment (p. 520)

Chapter XIX. Interest [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Phenomenon of Interest (p. 524)          
  2. Originary Interest (p. 526)          
  3. The Height of Interest Rates (p. 532)          
  4. Originary Interest in the Changing Economy (p. 534)          
  5. The Computation of Interest(p. 536)

Chapter XX. Interest, Credit Expansion, and the Trade Cycle [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Problems (p. 538)          
  2. The Entrepreneurial Component in the Gross Market Rate of Interest (p. 539)          
  3. The Price Premium as a Component of the Gross Market Rate of Interest (p. 541)          
  4. The Loan Market (p. 545)          
  5. The Effects of Changes in the Money Relation Upon Originary Interest (p. 548)          
  6. The Gross Market Rate of Interest as Affected by Inflation and Credit Expansion (p. 550)          
  7. The Gross Market Rate of Interest as Affected by Deflation and Credit Contraction (p. 566)          
  8. The Monetary or Circulation Credit Theory of the Trade Cycle (p. 571)          
  9. The Market Economy as Affected by the Recurrence of the Trade Cycle (p.575)

Chapter XXI. Work and Wages [ read in .pdf]

  1. Introversive Labor and Extroversive Labor (p. 587)          
  2. Joy and Tedium of Labor (p. 588)          
  3. Wages (p. 592)          
  4. Catallactic Unemployment (p. 598)          
  5. Gross Wage Rates and Net Wage Rates (p. 600)          
  6. Wages and Subsistence (p. 602)          
  7. The Supply of Labor as Affected by the Disutility of Labor (p. 611)          
  8. Wage Rates as Affected by the Vicissitudes of the Market (p. 624)          
  9. The Labor Market (p. 625)

Chapter XXII. The Nonhuman Original Factors of Production [ read in .pdf]

  1. General Observations Concerning the Theory of Rent (p. 635)          
  2. The Time Factor in Land Utilization (p. 637)          
  3. The Submarginal Land (p. 640)          
  4. The Land as Standing Room (p. 642)          
  5. The Prices of Land (p. 643)

Chapter XXIII. The Data of the Market [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Theory and the Data (p. 646)          
  2. The Role of Power (p. 647)          
  3. The Historical Role of War and Conquest (p. 649)          
  4. Real Man as a Datum (p. 651)          
  5. The Period of Adjustment (p. 652)          
  6. The Limits of Property Rights and the Problems of External Costs and External Economies (p. 654)

Chapter XXIV. Harmony and Conflict of Interests [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Ultimate Source of Profit and Loss on the Market (p. 664)          
  2. The Limitation of Offspring (p. 667)          
  3. The Harmony of the "Rightly Understood" Interests (p. 673)          
  4. Private Property (p. 682)          
  5. The Conflicts of Our Age (p. 684)



Chapter XXV. The Imaginary Construction of a Socialist Society [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Historical Origin of the Socialist Idea (p. 689)          
  2. The Socialist Doctrine (p. 693)          
  3. The Praxeological Character of Socialism (p. 695)

Chapter XXVI. The Impossibility of Economic Calculation Under Socialism [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Problem (p. 698)          
  2. Past Failures to Conceive the Problem (p.701)          
  3. Recent Suggestions for Socialist Economic Calculation (p. 703)          
  4. Trial and Error (p. 704)          
  5. The Quasi-market (p. 705)          
  6. The Differential Equations of Mathematical Economics (p. 710)



Chapter XXVII. The Government and the Market [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Idea of a Third System (p. 716)          
  2. The Intervention (p. 717)          
  3. The Delimitation of Governmental Functions (p. 719)          
  4. Righteousness as the Ultimate Standard of the Individual's Actions (p. 724)          
  5. The Meaning of Laissez Faire (p. 730)          
  6. Direct Government Interference with Consumption (p. 732)

Chapter XXVIII. Interference by Taxation [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Neutral Tax (p. 737)          
  2. The Total Tax (p. 738)          
  3. Fiscal and Nonfiscal Objectives of Taxation (p. 740)          
  4. The Three Classes of Tax Interventionism (p. 741)

Chapter XXIX. Restriction of Production [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Nature of Restriction (p. 743)          
  2. The Price of Restriction (p. 744)          
  3. Restriction as a Privilege (p. 748)          
  4. Restriction as an Economic System (p. 755)

Chapter XXX. Interference with the Structure of Prices [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Government and the Autonomy of the Market (p. 758)          
  2. The Market's Reaction to Government Interference (p. 762)          
  3. Minimum Wage Rates (p. 769)

CHAPTER XXXI. Currency and Credit Manipulation [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Government and the Currency (p. 780)          
  2. The Interventionist Aspect of Legal Tender Legislation (p. 783)          
  3. The Evolution of Modern Methods of Currency Manipulation (p. 786)          
  4. The Objectives of Currency Devaluation (p. 789)          
  5. Credit Expansion (p. 793)          
  6. Foreign Exchange Control and Bilateral Exchange Agreements (p. 800)

Chapter XXXII. Confiscation and Redistribution [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Philosophy of Confiscation (p. 804)          
  2. Land Reform (p. 805)          
  3. Confiscatory Taxation (p. 806)

Chapter XXXIII. Syndicalism and Corporativism [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Syndicalist Idea (p. 812)          
  2. The Fallacies of Syndicalism (p. 813)          
  3. Syndicalist Elements in Popular Policies (p. 815)          
  4. Guild Socialism and Corporativism (p. 816)

Chapter XXXIV. The Economics of War [ read in .pdf]

  1. Total War (p. 821)          
  2. War and the Market Economy (p. 825)          
  3. War and Autarky (p. 828)          
  4. The Futility of War (p. 831)

Chapter XXXV. The Welfare Principle Versus the Market Principle [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Case Against the Market Economy (p. 833)          
  2. Poverty (p. 835)          
  3. Inequality (p. 840)          
  4. Insecurity (p. 851)          
  5. Social Justice (p. 853)

Chapter XXXVI. The Crisis of Interventionism [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Harvest of Interventionism (p. 855)          
  2. The Exhaustion of the Reserve Fund (p. 855)          
  3. The End of Interventionism (p. 858)

Chapter XXXVII. The Nondescript Character of Economics [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Singularity of Economics (p. 862)          
  2. Economics and Public Opinion (p. 863)          
  3. The Illusion of the Old Liberals (p. 864)



Chapter XXXVIII. The Place of Economics in Learning [ read in .pdf]

  1. The Study of Economics (p. 867)          
  2. Economics as a Profession (p. 869)          
  3. Forecasting as a Profession (p. 870)          
  4. Economics and the Universities (p. 872)          
  5. General Education and Economics (p. 876)          
  6. Economics and the Citizen (p. 878)          
  7. Economics and Freedom (p. 879)

Chapter XXXIX. Economics and the Essential Problems of Human Existence [ read in .pdf]

  1. Science and Life (p. 881)          
  2. Economics and Judgments of Value (p. 882)          
  3. Economic Cognition and Human Action (p. 885)

Interactive Index [read in .pdf

Glossary by Percy Greaves

This Mises text was prepared by Richard Perry, Amanda Printz, and Jeffrey Tucker, though many have and continue to contribute to this project.

Publication History

  • 1949 Human Action: A Treatise on Economics. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1949. xv:889pp. index.
  • 1949 British edition: Human Action: A Treatise on Economics. London: W. I-lodge & Co., 1949. 889pp. index.
  • 1954 Index, Human Action (1949) by Vern [Vernelia) Crawford. Irvington-on­Hudson, N.Y.: Foundation for Economic Education, 11954]. [2Opp.)
  • 1959  Italian translation: L ‘Azione Umana: Trattato di Economia. Translated and edited by Tullio Bagiotti. Turin: Unione Tipografico-Editrice Torinese, 1959. xix:661pp. index.
  • 1960 Spanish translation: La Acción Humnana: Tratado de Economia. Translated by Joaqumn Reig Albiol. Valencia: Fundaciôn Ignacio Villalonga, 1960. 2 vols., 60lpp. & 673pp. index.
  • 1963  Second edition, revised and enlarged: Human Action: A Treatise on Economics. New revised edition. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1963. xix:907pp. Index prepared by Vernelia A. Crawford. Notable revisions include Chapter 15:6 on freedom and government, 16:6 on monopoly, and 27:6 on corruption. NOTE: Unfortunately, this second edition contains serious typographical errors; an “Errata” sheet was issued, noting the more flagrant typos. See Henry Hazlitt’s “Mangling a Masterpiece,” National Review 16:18 (May 5, 1964), 366-367, and Chapter 8 in Margit von Mises, My Years with Ludwig von Mises (New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1976; 2nd enlarged ed., Cedar Falls, Iowa: Center for Futures Education, 1976).
  • 1966 Third edition: Human Action: A Treatise on Economics. 3rd revised edition. Chicago:  Henry Regnery, 1966. xvii: 907pp. index. A new and corrected printing of the 2nd edition, incorporating Mises’ 1963 revisions.
  • 1968 Second Spanish-language edition, incorporating Mises’ second and third edition changes and additions: La Accion Humana: Tratado de Economla. Translation by JoaquIn Reig Albiol. Madrid: Editorial Sopec, 1968. l070 pp.
  • 1976/7 Chinese translation by Tao-Ping Hsia. 2 vols. l5:489pp; 4.9l-903pp.
  • 1978 Reprint of third revised edition (1966): Human Action: A Treatise on Economics. 3rd revised edition. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 119781. xvii:907pp. index.
  • 1980  Third Spanish language edition; translation made from 3rd (1966) English language edition: La Acción Humana: Tratado de EconomIa. Madrid: Union Editorial, 1980. l3O2pp. Index based on Crawford’s 1954 index; translator’s notes of certain terms based on Percy L. Greaves, Jr’s. Glossary to Human Action: Mises Made Easier (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Free Market Books, 1976; 2nd ed., Irvington, N.Y.: Free Market Books. 1990).
  • 1985  French translation of the third revised edition: L ‘Action Humaine: Traité d’Economie. Translated by Raoul Audouin. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1985. xi:942pp. index.
  • 1985  Contemporary Books reprint (3rd revised ed.): Human Action. With a new preface by Margit von Mises. Issued in a special limited "leatherbound" edition (200 copies) by Laissez Faire Books (New York).
  • 1986 Fourth Spanish edition, paperback. Reprint of third (1980) edition: Madrid: Union Editorial, 1986. 1302pp.
  • 1990 Contemporary Books paperback reprint (3rd revised ccl.): (San Francisco & New York: Laissez Faire Books). 907pp. index.
  • 1990  Portuguese translation of 3rd revised ed.: Açao Humana: urn Tratado de Economia. Translated by Donald Stewart, Jr. Rio de Janeiro: Il Instituto Liberal, 1990. [xvi]: 872+4pp. index of names.
  • 1990  Unabridged audiotape version: Human Action. Read by Bernard Mayes. (Ashland, Ore.: Classics on Tape, 1990). 30 cassettes.
  • 1991  Chinese translation by Tao-Ping Hsia (1976/7) revised by Hui-Lin Wu. Taipei, Taiwan: Yuan Liu Publishing Co., 1991. (Nos. I & 2 in series of famous books on liberalism). 2 vols., 1-506; 507-l074pp.
  • 1991 Japanese translation: Ningen-Koi-Gaku. Translated by Toshio Murata. Tokyo: Shunjü Sha, Inc., 1991. 995pp. index.
  • 1996 The Fourth Edition, (Irvington-on-Hudson, NY: Foundation for Economic Education, 1996), with a new index and forward by Bettin Bien Greaves. Typos from 3rd edition corrected.
  • 1998 The Scholar's Edition. Reprint of the first edition with a new introduction by J.M. Herbener, H-H Hoppe, and J.T. Salerno, including 1954 Crawford index, never before published with the book. Auburn, Alabama: Mises Institute. 912 pp. index and introduction.
  • 2000 Online edition of the 3rd edition, copyright Mises Institute,, with the permission of Bettina Bien Greaves.
  • 2000 Russian edition, third revised edition,


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