The Leading Mises Scholar on the Man and His Legacy

JEFF DEIST: You are German, but not from a big city in Germany.

GUIDO HÜLSMANN: That’s correct, a small town.

JD: Did your small-town upbringing influence your career and outlook?

GH: I think so. The town where I went to high school in those years had the highest communist voter percentage in all of Western Germany. And this presence made itself felt also in the school, not necessarily among the teachers, although there was at least one communist, but especially among the student body. We always had very engaged discussions, sometimes heated discussions about policy issues. I still remember that I actually gave my first public talk at the age of 15, in the context of the rearmament debate. All communists were against it and since the communists were against it, it must have been the default position for any other human beings. So, they didn’t find any older people to stand up to them, and I was ignorant enough and had enough personality to do this. So, I did it at the age of 15 and that was my first experience.

JD: You didn’t go through a leftwing phase as a young man?

GH: Not very much. I was flirting with some leftwing ideas when I was at the university.

JD: You decided to go to Technical University in Berlin, and studied engineering rather than economics.

GH: After school, I spent one year in the military for mandatory service, so I had a lot of time to give it some thought. There were two options for me at the time. Either I could become an airline pilot or do something with the economy. As far as the economy is concerned, either it would have been business law or engineering with complementary economic instruction. I knew that I was interested in this because I took a class in economics while in the military. In the…

Read more