Less Marx, More Mises

I ran across this article on CNN’s website and found it quite interesting. It appears that the appeal of Karl Marx among Latin Americans is waning and being displaced by the ideas of Ludwig von Mises.

Perhaps twenty years ago (long enough ago that I can’t recall exactly when), I gave a series of lectures at five different universities in Guatemala. With one exception, those universities had a distinctly Marxist orientation. I recall speaking in lecture halls that featured pictures of Marx. I could tell by the questions students asked that their economics education was very Marxist.

The one exception is Universidad Francisco Marroquin, which was established to promote “ethical, legal and economic principles of a society of free and responsible persons.”

One could hardly conclude that the battle of ideas has been won by free market advocates who promote Ludwig von Mises’s ideas over Karl Marx’s socialist ideas. Still, it is encouraging that Mises’s ideas appear to be gaining ground.

Javier Milei’s victory in Argentina is a good sign. However, only months into his presidential administration, it remains to be seen whether his promises will become reality. Meanwhile, the Maduro administration lingers on in Venezuela, showing that the battle is far from won.

Still, just the idea that popular figures in Latin America are promoting Mises’s name and ideas is a sign that the ideas of freedom are gaining ground in an area that could greatly benefit them.

Randall G. Holcombe is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute, the DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University, and author of the Independent Institute book Liberty in Peril: Democracy and Power in American History.
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