The masses are the common people.
According to Ludwig von Mises, "The masses, the hosts of common men, do not conceive any ideas, sound or unsound. They only choose between the ideologies developed by the intellectual leaders of mankind." The common man's inferiority to the average businessman "manifests itself first of all in his limited ability to think, to work, and thereby to contribute more to the joint productive effort of mankind. Most people who satisfactorily operate in routine jobs would be found wanting in any performance requiring a modicum of initiative and reflection." For this reason, "a man of average intellectual abilities has no chance to rise to the rank of a captain of industry."
Mises notes, "Capitalism is not simply mass production, but mass production to satisfy the needs of the masses. The arts and crafts of the good old days had catered almost exclusively to the wants of the well-to-do. But the factories produced cheap goods for the many." The common man tends to not understand or appreciate the role of capital accumulation, entrepreneurship and technological ingenuity in supplying amenities. He views there to be, rather, a self-acting tendency toward progressing advancement of the experimental natural sciences and their application to the solution of technological problems that will continue under any economic system.
- Mises, Ludwig von. "The Illusion of the Old Liberals". Human Action. http://mises.org/humanaction/chap37sec3.asp.
- Mises, Ludwig von. "On Equality and Inequality". http://mises.org/daily/2179.
- Mises, Ludwig von. Liberty and Property. http://mises.org/libprop/lpsec4.asp.
- Mises, Ludwig von. Liberty and Property. http://mises.org/libprop/lpsec2.asp.
- Mises, Ludwig von. "Capitalism as It Is and as It Is Seen by the Common Man". The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality. http://mises.org/etexts/mises/anticap/section2.asp.