From the Reformation to Austrian Economics

“Gary North observed, “Given this willingness on the part of Luther to reverse many earlier pronouncements that he formerly had penned, it is not surprising that his economic utterances should display an overall lack of coherence through the years.”1 Luther “opposed free pricing. Merchants may not follow the rule of buying low and selling high. ’On such a basis trade can be nothing more than robbing and stealing the property of others…. The rule ought to be, not “I may sell my wares as dear as I can or will,” but, “I may sell my wares as I ought, or is right and fair.”’”(North, p. 79.)

Rothbard describes Luther as “a confused, contradictory, and unsystematic thinker at best,” adding that he was least consistent in economics. But the Protestant Reformation that Luther kicked off had some powerful long-term effects on economic thought and economic development.

Nymeyer saw close connections between Misesian ideas and biblical law, which he elaborated upon in his journal and 1964 book Minimal Religion. In 1968, Nymeyer wrote, “Mises influenced me more than any other man in my intellectual development. I was his protégé.” He referred to Mises as “the greatest living champion of the innermost rampart of Christianity.” After Nymeyer’s death, Sennholz took over Libertarian Press.”