I am always amazed at the massive difference between Keynes and Mises – one of the most important being that of their differing emphases on time. Keynes is the great champion of the Present: “In the long run, we are all dead.” Mises is the champion of the Future: “At the outset of every step forward on the road to a more plentiful existence is saving.”
Now one always weighs present satisfaction against future satisfaction when one makes decisions about what (and if) to consume. So the Present is always battling against the Future. The Future is always struggling to be born.
But when Keynesians cause massive deficit spending, fiat money, inflation, social insurance, medicare, rising college costs, government schools, lack of jobs, wars (in which the young die), etc., one gets the distinct impression that they are working hard to throw our children under the bus.
So it is Mises’s clear emphasis on capital and saving, his emphasis on the Future, that automatically makes him the great “Champion of Children.” Mises emphasizes that stored capital makes for a “more plentiful existence” in the Future.
Everyone has great empathy for children that are developmentally disabled. But when our children are shackled by massive Keynesian debt, who can argue that they have been economically disabled? Capital is the freedom to grow, is the freedom for our children to grow in the future.
Obviously, not all capital consumption is caused by government; short-sighted corporations also consume massive amounts of capital, especially when they lay waste to our environment. But there exist harsh market disincentives for this behavior.
Unfortunately the forced consumption caused by government is not so controllable. Every day, a plebiscite occurs in the marketplace; one can change government only every few years. And as the years tick by, the forced consumption becomes locked in. Many times, at the point of a weapon.
Any baboon can emphasize the Present; in fact, all baboons do. It takes a man, a leader, to envision a better future and to lead the masses to it. Any animal can eat its young; it takes a man to build and to protect the future of our children. It takes a champion.