Capitalism and Socialism

EC700 — with Art Carden

Dates: March 31, 2011 - May 11, 2011
Status: Closed

Debates about capitalism and socialism sometimes proceed as if we are choosing between two equally viable economic systems. As Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich von Hayek, and other economists writing in the Austrian tradition have shown, rational economic calculation requires prices. Prices can only emerge through exchange, and exchange can only take place if private property rights are secure. In five sessions, we will define and explain exactly what we mean by “capitalism” and socialism,” and we will explore the consequences of each. Specifically, we will explore the early case for socialism, the twentieth-century socialist calculation debate, and the implications of the debate for how we understand the causes and consequences of government intervention.

Mises Daily Article by instructor Art Carden on his plans for this course.
On My Capitalism and Socialism Course: More Details: blog post by Professor Carden

Live Class Sessions

The lectures are broadcast live over the internet, and students will receive a special access code to join the sessions. Students will be able to ask the professor questions via internet forum posts, and the professor will respond via video. Live attendance is not required; recordings of all live sessions will be made available to students. The weekly live class sessions will be from 7pm-8:30pm EDT on the following Thursdays: 3/31, 4/7, 4/21, 4/28, 5/5.  The sessions will consist of 60 minutes of lecture and 30 minutes of question-and-answer.

Course Outine

Main Texts:
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Partym
Class 1: Capitalism, Socialism, and the Mixed Economy
Basic: Hoppe, chapters 1-2; Salerno, “Postscript: Why a Socialist Economy is ‘Impossible'”
Advanced: chapter 3 of Thomas Sowell’s Knowledge and Decisions; Ludwig von Mises, Marxism Unmasked
Background: Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, specifically the essays “Wages of Labour,” “Estranged Labour,” “Private Property and Communism,” “Human Needs and Division of Labour Under the Rule of Private Property,” and “The Power of Money”
Class 2: Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth
Basic: Mises, “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth;” Hayek chapter 4; Salerno Postscript (again)
Advanced: Hayek chapters 7-9; Murray Rothbard, Man, Economy, and State chapters 7-9 and the related lectures from the Rothbard Graduate Seminar; Mises, Human Action chapters 11-15, 25-26
Class 3: Capitalism and Socialism in Practice
Basic: Review Mises and Hayek.  Hoppe, chapters 3-6 plus my review of Eugen Richter’s Pictures of the Socialistic Future
Class 4: The Cultural and Environmental Critique of Capitalism
Basic: Hoppe, Chapter 7; Art Carden, “Common Objections to Capitalism” and the video of Carden’s lecture on the same at the “In Defense of Capitalism” conference in Copenhagen; Art Carden, “Environmental Economics
Advanced: Deirdre N. McCloskey, Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce, pp. 1-60; Murray Rothbard, “Law, Property Rights, and Air Pollution
Class 5: The Persistence and Popularity of Interventionism
Basic: Hoppe, chapters 8-10; Friedrich Hayek, “The Intellectuals and Socialism“; Art Carden, “Why is Capitalism So Unpopular?“; Mises, Human Action chapter 39
AdvancedHuman Action chapters 27-38

Certificate of Completion:

The final grade will depend on quizzes.  The Mises Academy is currently not accredited, but this course is worth 3 credits in our own internal system.  Feel free to ask your school to accept Mises Academy credits.  You will receive a digital Certificate of Completion for this course if you take it for a grade, and a Certificate of Participation if you take it on a paid-audit basis.

Refund Policy

If you drop the course during its first week (7 calendar days), you will receive a full refund, minus a $25 processing fee.
If you drop the course during its second week, you will receive a half refund.
No refunds will be granted following the second week.

Computer Requirements

Video Lecture Sessions

Operating System
Mac OS X 10.4 or higher
Windows XP SP2 or higher

Broadband 2Mb+

Safari 2, Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 3.0 or higher

Course Readings, Discussions and Assignments

Operating System
Windows 98 or higher
Mac OS 10.1 or higher

56k V.90 modem or higher

Firefox 3.0 or higher is recommended for both Mac and PC.
Free download:
Opera and Safari will not show built-in html editor in Moodle.
Internet Explorer can potentially cause errors.


Art Carden

Art Carden is an Assistant Professor of Economics and Business at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, an Adjunct Fellow with the Oakland, California-based Independent Institute, a member of the adjunct faculty of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, a Jack Miller Center Fellow, and a scholar with the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.  He has spoken at colleges, universities, conferences, and seminars in the US and Europe, including Mises University 2009.  His research papers can be found on his Social Science Research Network author page and on his website. He is also a regular contributor to and Division of Labour.

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