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Preview: Mises Literature Archives for Henry Hazlitt, ed.


Books from the tradition of the Austrian School, classical liberalism, libertarianism, liberty, and the free market.


The Group vs. the Collective

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0500

[Excerpt from Epistemological Problems of Economics, chap. 1]

The reproach of individualism is commonly leveled against economics on the basis of an alleged irreconcilable conflict between the interests of society and those of the individual. Classical and subjectivist economics, it is said, give an undue priority to the interests of the individual over those of society and generally contend, in conscious denial of the facts, that a harmony of interests prevails between them. It would be the task of genuine science to show that the whole is superior to the parts and that the individual has to subordinate himself to, and conduct himself for, the benefit of society and to sacrifice his selfish private interests to the common good.

In the eyes of those who hold this point of view society must appear as a means designed by Providence to attain ends that are hidden from us. The individual must bow to the will of Providence and must sacrifice his own interests so that its will may be done. His greatest duty is obedience. He must subordinate himself to the leaders and live just as they command.

But who, one must ask, is to be the leader? For many want to lead, and, of course, in different directions and toward different goals. The collectivists, who never cease to pour scorn and derision on the liberal theory of the harmony of interests, pass over in silence the fact that there are various forms of collectivism and that their interests are in irreconcilable conflict. They laud the Middle Ages and its culture of community and solidarity, and with romantic sentimentality they wax ecstatic over the communal associations "in which the individual was included, and in which he was kept warm and protected like fruit in its rind." But they forget that papacy and empire, for example, opposed each other for hundreds of years and that every individual could find himself at any time in the position of having to choose between them. Were the inhabitants of Milan also "kept warm and protected like fruit in its rind" when they had to hand over their city to Frederick Barbarossa? Are there not various factions fighting today on German soil with bitter anger, each of which claims to represent the only true collectivism? And do not the Marxian socialists, the national socialists, the church, and many other parties approach every individual with the demand: join us, for you belong in our ranks, and fight to the death the "false" forms of collectivism? A collectivist social philosophy that did not designate a definite form of collectivism as true and either treat all others as subordinate to it or condemn them as false would be meaningless and vain. It must always tell the individual: Here you have an unquestionably given goal, because an inner voice has revealed it to me; to it you must sacrifice everything else, yourself above all. Fight to victory or death under the banner of this ideal, and concern yourself with nothing else.

Collectivism, in fact, can be stated in no other way than as partisan dogma in which the commitment to a definite ideal and the condemnation of all others are equally necessary. Loyola did not preach just any faith, but that of the Church of Rome. Lagarde did not advocate nationalism, but what he regarded as German nationalism. Church, nation, state in abstracto are concepts of nominalistic science. The collectivists idolize only the one true church, only the "great" nation — the "chosen" people who have been entrusted by Providence with a special mission — only the true state; everything else they condemn.

For that reason all collectivist doctrines are harbingers of irreconcilable hatred and war to the death.

In Defense of "Extreme Apriorism"

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0500

[Murray Rothbard wrote this in 1956. It originally appeared in the Southern Economic Journal (January 1957) and was reprinted in Rothbard's, The Logic of Action One (1997) and Economic Controversies (2011).]The stimulating methodological controversy between Professors Machlup and Hutchison proves that there are sometimes more than two sides to every question.Terence W. Hutchison, “Professor Machlup on Verification in Economics,” Southern Economic Journal (April 1956): 476–83; Fritz Machlup, “Rejoinder to a Reluctant Ultra-Empiricist,” ibid., pp. 483–93. In many ways, the two are debating at cross-purposes: Professor Hutchison is primarily tilting against the methodological (and political) views of Professor Ludwig von Mises; his most serious charge is that Professor Machlup’s entire position is, at bottom, an attempt to cloak the Misesian heresy in the garments of epistemological respectability. Professor Machlup’s reply, quite properly, barely mentions Mises; for, in fact, their methodological views are poles apart. (Machlup’s position is close to the central “positivist” tradition of economic methodology.) But, in the meanwhile, we find that Professor Mises and “extreme apriorism” go undefended in the debate. Perhaps an extreme apriorist’s contribution to this discussion may prove helpful.First, it should be made clear that neither Professor Machlup nor Professor Hutchison is what Mises calls a praxeologist, that is, neither believes (a) that the fundamental axioms and premises of economics are absolutely true; (b) that the theorems and conclusions deduced by the laws of logic from these postulates are therefore absolutely true; (c) that there is consequently no need for empirical “testing,” either of the premises or the conclusions; and (d) that the deduced theorems could not be tested even if it were desirable.he praxeological tradition, though named only recently, has a long and honored place in the history of economic thought. In the first great methodological controversy in our science, John Stuart Mill was the positivist and Nassau Senior the praxeologist, with J.E. Cairnes wavering between the two positions. Later on, the praxeologic method was further developed by the early Austrians, by Wicksteed, and by Richard Strigl, reaching its full culmination in the works of Ludwig von Mises. Mises’s views may be found in Human Action (New Haven, Conn: Yale University Press, 1949), and in his earlier Grundprobleme der Nationalökonomie [translated into English as Epistemological Problems of Economics (Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand, 1960]. On the similarity between Senior and Mises, see Marian Bowley, Nassau Senior and Classical Economics (New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1949), chap. 1, esp. pp. 64–65. Lionel Robbin’s Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science was emphatically praxeologic, although it did not delve into the more complex methodological problems. Both disputants are eager to test economic laws empirically.The crucial difference is that Professor Machlup adheres to the orthodox positivist position that the assumptions need not be verified so long as their deduced consequents may be proven true — essentially the position of Professor Milton Friedman — while Professor Hutchison, wary of shaky assumptions takes the more empirical — or institutionalist — approach that the assumptions had better be verified as well.Strange as it may seem for an ultra-apriorist, Hutchison’s position strikes me as the better of the two. If one must choose between two brands of empiricism, it seems like folly to put one’s trust in procedures for testing only conclusions by fact. Far better to make sure that the assumptions also are correct. Here I must salute Professor Hutchison’s charge that the positivists rest their case on misleading analogies from the epistemology of physics.  This is precisely the nub of the issue. All the positivist procedures are based on the physical sciences.On the differences between the methodologies of p[...]

Economics in Service of the State: The Empiricism of Richard T. Ely

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0600

[Excerpt from Murray Rothbard, The Progressive Era, Patrick Newman, ed. (Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, 2017), from chap. 13 "World War I as Fulfillment: Power and the Intellectuals," pp. 428–36.]World War I was the apotheosis of the growing notion of intellectuals as servants of the State and junior partners in State rule. In the new fusion of intellectuals and State, each was of powerful aid to the other. Intellectuals could serve the State by apologizing for and supplying rationales for its deeds. Intellectuals were also needed to staff important positions as planners and controllers of the society and economy. The State could also serve intellectuals by restricting entry into, and thereby raising the income and the prestige of, the various occupations and professions. During World War I, historians were of particular importance in supplying the government with war propaganda, convincing the public of the unique evil of Germans throughout history and of the satanic designs of the Kaiser. Economists, particularly empirical economists and statisticians, were of great importance in the planning and control of the nation's wartime economy. Historians playing preeminent roles in the war propaganda machine have been studied fairly extensively; economists and statisticians, playing a less blatant and allegedly "value-free" role, have received far less attention.For a refreshingly acidulous portrayal of the actions of the historians in World War I, see C. Hartley Grattan, "The Historians Cut Loose," American Mercury, August 1927, reprinted in Haw Elmer Barnes, In Quest of Truth and Justice, 2nd ed. (Colorado Springs: Ralph Myles Publisher, 1972), pp. 142–164. A more extended account is George T. Blakey, Historians on the Homefront: American Propagandists for the Great War (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1970). Gruber, Mars and Minerva, deals with academia and social scientism, but concentrates an historians. James R. Mock and Cedric Larson, Words that Won the War (Princeton University Press, 1939), presents the story of the "Creel Committee," the Committee on Public Information, the official propaganda ministry during the war.Although it is an outworn generalization to say that nineteenth century economists were stalwart champions of laissez faire, it is still true that deductive economic theory proved to be a mighty bulwark against government intervention. For, basically, economic theory showed the harmony and order inherent in the free market, as well as the counterproductive distortions and economic shackles imposed by state intervention. In order for statism to dominate the economics profession, then, it was important to discredit deductive theory. One of the most important ways of doing so was to advance the notion that, to be "genuinely scientific," economics had to eschew generalization and deductive laws and simply engage in empirical inquiry into the facts of history and historical institutions, hoping that somehow laws would eventually arise from these detailed investigations.Thus the German Historical School, which managed to seize control of the economics discipline in Germany, fiercely proclaimed not only its devotion to statism and government control, but also its opposition to the "abstract" deductive laws of political economy. This was the first major group within the economics profession to champion what Ludwig von Mises was later to call "anti-economics." Gustav Schmoller, the leader of the Historical School, proudly declared that his and his colleagues' major task at the University of Berlin was to form "the intellectual bodyguard of the House of Hohenzollern."During the 1880s and 1890s bright young graduate students in history and the social sciences went to Germany, the home of the PhD degree, to obtain their doctorates. Almost to a man, they returned to the United States to teach in colleges and in the newly created graduate schools, imbued with the excitement of the "new" economics and political science. It was a "new" social science t[...]

The Gold Standard Act of 1900 and After

Thu, 08 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0600

Any reform legislation had to wait until after the elections of 1898, for the gold forces were not yet in control of Congress. In the autumn, the executive committee of the Indianapolis Monetary Convention mobilized its forces, calling on no less than 97,000 correspondents throughout the country through whom it had distributed the preliminary report. The executive committee urged its constituency to elect a gold-standard Congress; when the gold forces routed the silverites in November, the results of the election were hailed by Hanna as eminently satisfactory.The decks were now cleared for the McKinley administration to submit its bill, and the Congress that met in December 1899 quickly passed the measure; Congress then passed the conference report of the Gold Standard Act in March 1900.The currency reformers had gotten their way. It is well known that the Gold Standard Act provided for a single gold standard, with no retention of silver money except as tokens. Less well known are the clauses that began the march toward a more “elastic” currency. As Lyman Gage had suggested in 1897, national banks, previously confined to large cities, were now made possible with a small amount of capital in small towns and rural areas. And it was made far easier for national banks to issue notes. The object of these clauses, as one historian put it, was to satisfy an “increased demand for money at crop-moving time, and to meet popular cries for ‘more money’ by encouraging the organization of national banks in comparatively undeveloped regions.”Livingston, Origins, p. 123The reformers exulted over the passage of the Gold Standard Act, but took the line that this was only the first step on the much-needed path to fundamental banking reform. Thus, Professor Frank W. Taussig of Harvard praised the act, and greeted the emergence of a new social and ideological alignment, caused by “strong pressure from the business community” through the Indianapolis Monetary Convention. He particularly welcomed the fact that the Gold Standard Act “treats the national banks not as grasping and dangerous corporations but as useful institutions deserving the fostering care of the legislature.” But such tender legislative care was not enough; fundamental banking reform was needed. For, Taussig declared, “The changes in banking legislation are not such as to make possible any considerable expansion of the national system or to enable it to render the community the full service of which it is capable.” In short, the changes allowed for more and greater expansion of bank credit and the supply of money. Therefore, Taussig concluded, “It is well nigh certain that eventually Congress will have to consider once more the further remodeling of the national bank system.”Frank W. Taussig, “The Currency Act of 1900,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 14 (May 1900): 415.In fact, the Gold Standard Act of 1900 was only the opening gun of the banking reform movement. Three friends and financial journalists, two from Chicago, were to play a large role in the development of that movement. Massachusetts-born Charles A. Conant (1861–1915), a leading historian of banking, wrote A History of Modern Banks of Issue in 1896, while still a Washington correspondent for the New York Journal of Commerce and an editor of Bankers Magazine. After his stint of public relations work and lobbying for the Indianapolis convention, Conant moved to New York in 1902 to become treasurer of the Morgan-oriented Morton Trust Company. The two Chicagoans, both friends of Lyman Gage, were, along with Gage, in the Rockefeller ambit: Frank A. Vanderlip was picked by Gage as his assistant secretary of the Treasury, and when Gage left office, Vanderlip came to New York as a top executive at the flagship commercial bank of the Rockefeller interests, the National City Bank of New York. Meanwhile, Vanderlip’s close friend and mentor at the Chicago Tribune, Joseph French Johnson, had also moved eas[...]

Psychology vs. Praxeology

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0600

(Excerpt from chapter 17 of Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism, pp. 765–67.)Mises’s exposition of economic science differed decisively from all modern authors in that it drew a sharp line between praxeology and psychology. This has remained a defining feature of the works of his disciples.Mises did not contest that the psychological background of a person, his worldview, knowledge, conscious motivations, subconscious urges, and so on have an immediate impact on his behavior. Neither did he ignore the important psychological problems that his friend F.A. Hayek began to stress in those years, in particular, that of knowledge acquisition. Mises’s point was that there were also laws of human behavior that exist in complete independence of these psychological dispositions.For example, in chapter 4, Mises discusses ends and means, scales of values, and scales of needs. He does not deal with the question of how or why people select ends and means, or how or why they have certain values and certain needs. He argues that in every human action we do use means to attain ends, and that needs and values can be rankedMurray Rothbard later argued that as a consequence of the mere fact that people rank their choice alternatives, it follows that demand curves must slope downward to the right. See Murray N. Rothbard, Man, Economy, and State, 3rd ed. (Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1993), chap. 2. Mises made no such inference. He was skeptical about the use of graphical methods in exact analysis (he did accept them as pedagogical devices). In chapter 15 (“The Market”) he points out that consumers are sovereign because their buying decisions steer the market.Mises, Human Action, p. 270. This is obviously true, irrespective of what consumers buy or the reason why they make these purchases. Therefore he does not deal with these questions. In chapter 16 (“Prices”) Mises states that the number of market participants determines how narrow the margins are within which prices are determined. Yet this implies that the number of market participants has no influence on how prices are formed. Irrespective of the number of market participants, market prices are always determined by the decisions of marginal buyers and sellers.Ibid., p. 324. Thus, all prices can be explained as a result of the mere fact that market participants prefer one good A to another good B.Ibid., pp. 328f.Praxeology is the science of these laws. It examines the ramifications of the mere fact that a man makes this or that choice. Considering the relationship between a choice and its consequences, praxeology examines the suitability of different means to attain particular ends. In praxeological analysis, the ends are “given,” not in the sense that human beings cannot choose them or that the choice of the right end is not problematic, but in the sense that the choice of ends is outside the scope of this particular science.Mises would later discuss the irrelevance of homooeconomicus for modern economics in Human Action, pp. 62ff. He concluded that "theorems concerning commodity prices, wage rates, and interest rates refer to all these phenomena without any regard to the motives causing people to buy or to sell or to abstain from buying or selling" (p. 64).With respect to the knowledge of market participants, Mises emphasized the fact that the individual market participants are not equally well informed. Yet even if they all had the same information they would appraise this information differently.Ibid., p. 325.As to equilibrium, he stated again and again that the market never reaches such a state, that it is a mere mental construct the only function of which is to analyze profits and losses. That is, the equilibrium construct is needed to explain a particular component of price spreads. It is not required to explain prices (wages, interest, commodity prices) as such.Ibid., pp. 245ff.Consequently, in [...]

Equilibrium, Profit and Loss, and Entrepreneurship

Mon, 22 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0600

(Excerpt from chapter 17 of Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism, pp. 770–73.)It was through the writings of Carl Menger and Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk that Mises had come to understand the market economy as a rational social order in which all factors of production are geared toward the satisfaction of consumer wants. Not only the allocation of the production factors, but also the incomes of the owners of these factors ultimately depended exclusively on their relative contribution to the satisfaction of human wants. All values, all prices, as Frank Fetter had put it, depend on a daily referendum in the market democracy.“The market is a democracy where every penny gives a right of vote.” Frank A. Fetter, The Principles of Economics (New York: The Century Co., 1905), p. 395. A few pages later he states: “So each is measuring the services of all others, and all are valuing each. It is the democracy of valuation” (p. 410).But in none of his predecessors did Mises find a satisfactory account of the process through which the structure of production was brought in line with consumer preferences. His fellow Böhm-Bawerk seminar member, Joseph Schumpeter, had brilliantly shown how entrepreneurs drive the market. According to Schumpeter’s Theory of Economic Development,Joseph A. Schumpeter, Theorie der wirtschaftlichen Entwicklung (Munich: Duncker & Humblot, 1911). entrepreneurs are innovators who constantly interrupt the smooth operation of an inert economy.Schumpeter had a point. Innovation does play a central role in the market economy. But how does this fit with the Mengerian picture of the market economy as a rational social order? Was there a contradiction between the Schumpeterian notion that entrepreneurs reap profits for innovation and the Mengerian insight that all incomes depend on consumer wishes? In Nationalökonomie, Mises reconciles Schumpeter with Menger. From Schumpeter, he adopted the idea that entrepreneurs are the motor of the market process. But they cannot earn a profit for innovation per se — only for innovations that improve the satisfaction of consumer wants.Entrepreneurs constantly adjust the structure of production to what they expect will be the future preferences of consumers. The different entrepreneurs act in effect as advocates for different consumer needs. Based on their estimates of what they expect to obtain for an imagined product in the future, they go to the factor markets where they compete with other entrepreneurs, bidding up prices for the available factors of production—workers and material supplies. This pricing process determines the incomes of all factors of production, and it ensures that only the most important investment projects (“important” in terms of future consumer spending) will be realized.The driving force of entrepreneurship is the profit motive. Profit is the specific remuneration a person receives for bearing uncertainty. In the market economy, entrepreneurs act with due caution and responsibility because they are personally liable for any wrong decisions. Loss is the punishment for unsuccessful entrepreneurship. Profit and loss are together the measure of entrepreneurship.Are all businessmen entrepreneurs? Are all entrepreneurs businessmen? If not, how could entrepreneurs be distinguished from “regular” businessmen and other market participants? Mises answered these difficult questions by defining entrepreneurship as a social function, namely, as the function of assuming responsibility for the uncertainty of the future. The entrepreneur in Mises’s theory is not a person but a role played by people — and it is not at all limited to businessmen. Ultimately anyone can be an entrepreneur to the extent that he assumes the repercussions of uncertainty. Profits and losses do not only determine the income of businessmen, but also of wage-earners and capitalists.[...]

The Middle of the Road Leads to Socialism

Thu, 11 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0600

The fundamental dogma of all brands of socialism and communism is that the market economy or capitalism is a system that hurts the vital interests of the immense majority of people for the sole benefit of a small minority of rugged individualists. It condemns the masses to progressing impoverishment. It brings about misery, slavery, oppression, degradation and exploitation of the working men, while it enriches a class of idle and useless parasites.This doctrine was not the work of Karl Marx. It had been developed long before Marx entered the scene. Its most successful propagators were not the Marxian authors, but such men as Carlyle and Ruskin, the British Fabians, the German professors, and the American Institutionalists. And it is a very significant fact that the correctness of this dogma was contested only by a few economists who were very soon silenced and barred from access to the universities, the press, the leadership of political parties and, first of all, public office. Public opinion by and large accepted the condemnation of capitalism without any reservation.1. SocialismBut, of course, the practical political conclusions which people drew from this dogma were not uniform. One group declared that there is but one way to wipe out these evils, namely to abolish capitalism entirely. They advocate the substitution of public control of the means of production for private control. They aim at the establishment of what is called socialism, communism, planning, or state capitalism. All these terms signify the same thing. No longer should the consumers, by their buying and abstention from buying, determine what should be produced, in what quantity and of what quality. Henceforth a central authority alone should direct all production activities.2. Interventionism, Allegedly a Middle-of-the-Road PolicyA second group seems to be less radical. They reject socialism no less than capitalism. They recommend a third system, which, as they say, is as far from capitalism as it is from socialism, which as a third system of society’s economic organization, stands midway between the two other systems, and while retaining the advantages of both, avoids the disadvantages inherent in each. This third system is known as the system of interventionism. In the terminology of American politics it is often referred to as the middle-of-the-road policy.What makes this third system popular with many people is the particular way they choose to look upon the problems involved. As they see it, two classes, the capitalists and entrepreneurs on the one hand and the wage earners on the other hand, are arguing about the distribution of the yield of capital and entrepreneurial activities. Both parties are claiming the whole cake for themselves. Now, suggest these mediators, let us make peace by splitting the disputed value equally between the two classes. The State as an impartial arbiter should interfere, and should curb the greed of the capitalists and assign a part of the profits to the working classes. Thus it will be possible to dethrone the moloch capitalism without enthroning the moloch of totalitarian socialism.Yet this mode of judging the issue is entirely fallacious. The antagonism between capitalism and socialism is not a dispute about the distribution of booty. It is a controversy about which two schemes for society’s economic organization, capitalism or socialism, is conducive to the better attainment of those ends which all people consider as the ultimate aim of activities commonly called economic, viz., the best possible supply of useful commodities and services. Capitalism wants to attain these ends by private enterprise and initiative, subject to the supremacy of the public’s buying and abstention from buying on the market. The socialists want to substitute the unique plan of a central authority for the plans of the various individuals. They want to put in [...]

An Austro-Libertarian View: Essays by David Gordon

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0600

Volume 1: Economics, Philosophy, LawVolume 2: Political TheoryVolume 3: Current Affairs, Foreign Policy, American History, European History

Review by Paul Gottfried

David Gordon, from the Foreword:

Shortly after Murray Rothbard’s lamented death in January, 1995, Lew Rockwell telephoned me. He asked me to write a book review journal for the Mises Institute, covering new books in philosophy, history, politics, and economics. Moreover, he wanted the first issue in one month. I managed to meet the deadline and continued to write the journal for a number of years. Articles from The Mises Review form the bulk of the material included in these volumes; but a few reviews from other sources are here as well. Ever since I first read Man, Economy, and State in 1962, I have been a convinced Rothbardian, and it is from this standpoint that I have written my articles.

George Washington: An Image and Its Influence

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0600

George Washington took office as president in 1789 with an asset of inestimable value. People viewed him as the hero of the American Revolution who, disdaining power, had like the Roman general Cincinnatus returned home to his farm. When he allowed himself, with great reluctance, to be nominated as chief executive, his prestige was unparalleled. Indeed, his reputation was worldwide. When he died,Napoleon Bonaparte decreed that the standards and flags of the French army be dressed in mourning crepe. The flags of the British Channel Fleet were lowered to half-mast to honor the fallen hero. Talleyrand, the French minister of foreign affairs, ... [called] for a statue of Washington to be erected in Paris.Matthew Spalding and Patrick J. Garrity, A Sacred Union of Citizens (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1996), p. 189.

Poets likewise sang his praises.Washington achieved mythic status in his own lifetime, receiving poetic encomia from English poets as different as William Blake and Byron, who contrasted Washington favorably with the despotic Napoleon. ... His contemporaries were impressed by the fact that the general who led a successful revolution did not establish a personal dictatorship.Michael Lind, ed., Hamilton’s Republic (New York: The Free Press, 1997), p. 99.Were the effects of the influence that accompanied this prestige good or bad for liberty? This chapter shall endeavor to show that in two instances, these effects were bad; in one case, though, Washington’s fame led to fortunate consequences for individual freedom. Washington, though not a principal author of the Constitution, supported calling a convention to revise the Articles of Confederation. At the convention itself, he strongly backed Madison’s plans for centralized control.On assuming power, Washington soon faced a division of opinion in his cabinet. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton was not satisfied with the centralization already achieved by the Constitution. He called for a national bank and a governmentally directed program of industrial development. Thomas Jefferson raised a decisive objection to Hamilton’s proposal: Did it not entirely exceed the bounds of power granted the central government by the new Constitution? The constitutional issue did not faze Hamilton, who produced an analysis that granted the central government broad power to do whatever Hamilton thought best. In this conflict, Washington once again weighed in on the side of the centralizers.In his Farewell Address, though, Washington at least partially redeemed himself, from a classical-liberal standpoint. He cautioned against America’s involvement in European power politics, with which the United States had no concern. His warning against permanent alliances guided much of American foreign policy in the nineteenth century; and, in the twentieth, opponents of the bellicose policies of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt appealed to it. Washington’s prestige for once had beneficial results.We have spoken of whether Washington’s influence was “good” or “bad” for liberty. By what standard are these judgments made? This author writes from a classical-liberal perspective, in which the growth of government is viewed as an unmitigated disaster and expansionist foreign policy is resolutely opposed. Thus, “states’ rights” receive support as against increases in federal authority, and wars, except in cases of exercising self-determination or repelling direct invasion, are opposed.A classical-liberal analysis of just wars has been well set forth by Murray Rothbard in “America’s Two Just Wars: 1775 and 1861” in The Costs of War, John V. Denson, ed., 2nd ed. (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers, 1999), pp. 119–33.One might object to the propos[...]

John Prince Smith and the German Free-Trade Movement

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0600

John Prince Smith was the creator of the German free trade movement and its leader from the 1840s until his death in 1874.Julius Becker, Das Deutsche Manchesterturn (Karlsruhe: G. Braun, 1907), p. 26. Wilhelm Roscher refers to Prince Smith as "the leader of the whole [free trade] tendency"; Roscher, Geschichte der National-Oekonomik in Deutschland (Munich: R. Oldenbourg, 1874), p. 1015. W. O. Henderson terms him the rival of Friedrich List: see his "Prince Smith and Free Trade in Germany," The Economic History Review, Second Series, II, no. 3, (1950): 295–302. The standard biography is by Otto Wolff, John Prince-Smith: Eine Lebensskizze, in John Prince Smith, Gesammelte Schriften III, Karl Braun, ed. (Berlin: Herbig, 1880), pp. 209–398. See also Donald G. Rohr, The Origins of Social Liberalism in Germany (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1963), pp. 85–91. He was born in London in 1809, and, after leaving Eton prematurely, on account of the death of his father, began working at the age of thirteen for a London commercial firm, later turning to journalism. His journalistic activity brought him to Germany, where in 1831 he took a position as a teacher of English and French at the Gymnasium in Elbing, in East Prussia. It was in these years that he acquired fluency in the German language, to the point where he was later able to earn a living as a writer on economics and politics.It appears likely that Prince Smith's acquaintance with economic literature, while still a young man in England, was not extensive and that he taught himself the elements of the discipline after he had settled in Germany.Wolff, John Prince Smith: Eine Lebensskizze, p. 215. He claimed that Bentham's utilitarianism exerted a strong influence on his thinking.Ibid. As we shall see, however, his commitment to laissez faire was considerably more "doctrinaire" (or consistent) than Bentham's. Prince Smith's interest in economic questions may also have been stimulated through personal acquaintance with some of the leaders of the anti-corn law agitation which was occurring in England at the time and which he followed closely.While still a teacher at the Elbing Gymnasium, Prince Smith contributed articles to the local paper, including one, in 1835, on the question of how wages are determined. In this piece he presented an "optimistic" view, that is, suggesting a steady, long-range improvement in living standards for working people in a free market economy. That he was already in some wider sense a liberal by the mid-1830s is shown by his attitude towards the "Göttingen Seven," the professors at the University of Göttingen who in 1837 protested the revocation of the Hanoverian constitution and were accordingly dismissed.Ibid., pp. 226–27. Göttingen University had been a main center for the spread of the free trade ideas of Adam Smith throughout Germany in the last decades of the eighteenth century; see, Wilhelm Treue, "Adam Smith in Deutschland: Zum Problem des 'Politischen Professors' zwischen 1776 und 1810," in Johannes U. Ruth Muhle, ed., Deutscheland und Europa: Historische Studien zur Völker-und Staatenord-nung des Abendlandes (Dusseldorf: Droste, 1951), p. 102. Prince Smith attempted to stir up a protest in Elbing, eliciting a stinging reprimand from the office of the Prussian minister of the interior. Further difficulties with the educational administration (stemming in part from his lack of any talent for teaching twelve and thirteen year olds) led to his leaving his post in 1840. He turned to free-lance journalism full-time.His first production was a series of articles entitled, "Apology for Industrial Freedom," in which he dealt, among other subjects, with the source of p[...]

The Progressive Era

Thu, 09 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0600

Progressivism brought the triumph of institutionalized racism, the disfranchising of blacks in the South, the cutting off of immigration, the building up of trade unions by the federal government into a tripartite of big government, big business, big union alliance, the glorifying of military virtues and conscription, and a drive for American expansion abroad. In short, the Progressive era ushered the modern American politico-economic system into being.

From the Preface by Murray N. Rothbard

Why Understanding the Progressive Era Still Matters

Tue, 10 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0500

Editor's Note: Murray Rothbard's new masterwork, The Progressive Era, is now available for purchase. Judge Napolitano's preface below speaks to why the Progressive Era is so key to our understanding of modern America. This is the first of many selections from the book we will be offering at in the future. When I was in my junior and senior years at Princeton studying history in the early 1970s, I became fascinated with the Progressive Era. It attracted me at a time when America rejected as profoundly as it did under Lincoln and the Radical Republicans and even under FDR, the libertarian first principles of the American Revolution.To pursue this interest, I volunteered to take a course in the Graduate School, a procedure permitted for a few undergraduates at the time. The course was an advanced look at Progressive intellectual thought taught by Woodrow Wilson’s biographer and hagiographer, Professor Arthur S. Link. The readings were all pro-Progressive as were all the other students in the class. We studied Professor Link’s works and the claptrap by his colleague William E. Leuchtenberg.In my search for a rational understanding of the Era — and for ammunition to use in the classroom where I was regularly beaten up — I asked Professor Link if any academic had made the argument effectively that the Progressives were power-hungry charlatans in the guise of noble businessmen, selfless politicians, and honest academics.He told me of a young fellow named Rothbard, of whose work he had only heard, but had not read. This advice sent me to Man, Economy, and State, which I devoured; and my ideological odyssey was off to the races.Like many of Rothbard’s student admirers, I also devoured For a New Liberty, all four volumes of Conceived in Liberty, and The Mystery of Banking. As any student of human freedom in general or of the Austrian school specifically, knows, these must-reads are all a joy to read. And we also know that in those works and others, Rothbard established himself as the great interpreter of Ludwig von Mises.While he was writing those books and lecturing nationally and producing many ground-breaking articles and essays on human freedom, he began to write discrete chapters of a book he would not live to publish on the Progressive Era.One of his great young interpreters, Florida Southern College professor and Mises Fellow Patrick Newman, has picked up where our hero left off. Professor Newman is a brilliant interpreter of Rothbard. His assemblage of these heretofore unpublished chapters, and the vast notes he has added to them have produced a masterpiece that might actually have made Murray Rothbard blush.Readers of The Progressive Era will carry away an overwhelming impression that history is “a comprehensive resurrection of the past.” Rothbard was never satisfied with the presentation of a general thesis or the sketch of a historical period, which is why readers will find detailed accounts of an enormous number of people. Only a historian of Rothbard’s immense intellectual energy and knowledge could have written what would become The Progressive Era.Rothbard did not amass details merely to give readers a sense of the Progressive Era, from the 1880s to the 1920s. Rather, he uses these details to support a revolutionary new interpretation. Many people view the Progressives as reformers who fought against corruption and modernized our laws and institutions. Rothbard proves to the hilt that this common opinion is false.The Progressives aimed to displace a 19th-century America that respected individual rights based on natural law. They claimed that natural law and a free economy were outmoded and unscientific ideas; and argued that through applying science to politics, they could re[...]

Busting Myths About the State and the Libertarian Alternative

Mon, 14 Aug 2017 00:00:00 -0500

In non-technical terms, the libertarian is simply someone who is against the use of force against peaceful people in civil society. You would think that this would be a universally accepted idea but, as will be discussed in greater depth in this paper, to believe in government as we know it is to be at odds with this idea.

The Law Of Power

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0600

From the author's introduction:

The people of the world stand under the principle of power. The whole social entity is governed by power, this being the highest value peoples aspire to and by which they counted, weighed, and judged. But, contrary to what is usually assumed, it is not external power which determines everything, but fundamentally internal power is the core of the power phenomenon. As this core gradually matures over time, it bursts open the shell of external power under whose protection it grows to maturity.

The Mises Reader Unabridged

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0600

The Mises Reader can be found here.From the Introduction by Shawn Ritenour ...During my time in college, while I was still working through Human Action, I sought out other more accessible books by Mises. This was years before the advent of the internet and I had to turn to that ancient institution called the library and I discovered that our college library had a collection of shorter essays by Mises published by Libertarian Press in a collection entitled Planning for Freedom and Sixteen Other Essays. This book proved to be a more accessible introduction to Mises’s thought. I began reading it during my free time and did not stop until I had come to the end. Planning for Freedom turned out to be the first book by Mises that I read completely. As I read, I began to put together an economic and political philosophy that revolved around private property. It was the writings of Mises that provided me the intellectual foundation to evaluate and integrate what I was being taught in school. Looking back on those years, I have grown to appreciate the wisdom expressed in the sentiment by Mark Thornton that one of the best ways to become introduced to the work of Ludwig von Mises is through some of his shorter, more popular works. While sacrificing nothing in the way of sound economic theory, they are more accessible and in any event are not as intimidating as Mises’s 881-page magnum opus.In The Mises Reader, I have sought to bring you the best of both worlds. An attempt has been made to acquaint the reader with the broad spectrum of Mises’s ideas and analyses in a way that is more accessible and less daunting. The selections include, therefore, several shorter, more popular works side-by-side with excerpts from longer, more scholarly and technically difficult works. It is my hope that this book will provide a user-friendly gateway into the brilliance of Mises, because we desperately need his wisdom as much now as in any other time in our history.The work of Ludwig von Mises is an important guide for thoughtful citizens because he strongly, yet matter-of-factly sets forth economics as the pursuit of truth. Not the truth of the passing fancy, nor the so-called “small t-truth” that is always in danger of being refuted by the latest bit of empirical data; but economic truth that will stand for all ages. Misesian economic theory is a triumphant response to the epistemological relativism of today because it is economics developed in light of reality.Upon reading the works of Mises, one is immediately set forth on the right road, because Mises begins where economics must begin — human action. All of his economic theorems and corollaries are deduced from the non-controversial axiom that people engage in purposeful behavior. This immediately sets his theories on intellectual bedrock. ...Ludwig von Mises truly was an intellectual giant among men and, as Murray Rothbard saw, his thought and causal-realist framework is the best alternative to the economic paradigm of our age. In the contemporary fog of the modern academy, Mises serves as a lighthouse, warning unsuspecting students of the perils of bad economics and statist economic policies, while illuminating students to the principles of the free society.The book in your hands is intended to give a taste of the many facets of Mises’s thought in a way that accessibly communicates most of his key contributions to the social sciences. It therefore includes excerpts from his larger and more technically demanding works side-by-side with shorter, more introductory articles and lectures. The finished product is sort of an intelligent person’s guide to the work of [...]

The Mises Reader

Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Shawn Ritenour and Tom Woods discuss The Mises Reader here.The Mises Reader Unabridged edition can be found here.From the Introduction by Shawn Ritenour ...During my time in college, while I was still working through Human Action, I sought out other more accessible books by Mises. This was years before the advent of the internet and I had to turn to that ancient institution called the library and I discovered that our college library had a collection of shorter essays by Mises published by Libertarian Press in a collection entitled Planning for Freedom and Sixteen Other Essays. This book proved to be a more accessible introduction to Mises’s thought. I began reading it during my free time and did not stop until I had come to the end. Planning for Freedom turned out to be the first book by Mises that I read completely. As I read, I began to put together an economic and political philosophy that revolved around private property. It was the writings of Mises that provided me the intellectual foundation to evaluate and integrate what I was being taught in school. Looking back on those years, I have grown to appreciate the wisdom expressed in the sentiment by Mark Thornton that one of the best ways to become introduced to the work of Ludwig von Mises is through some of his shorter, more popular works. While sacrificing nothing in the way of sound economic theory, they are more accessible and in any event are not as intimidating as Mises’s 881-page magnum opus.In The Mises Reader, I have sought to bring you the best of both worlds. An attempt has been made to acquaint the reader with the broad spectrum of Mises’s ideas and analyses in a way that is more accessible and less daunting. The selections include, therefore, several shorter, more popular works side-by-side with excerpts from longer, more scholarly and technically difficult works. It is my hope that this book will provide a user-friendly gateway into the brilliance of Mises, because we desperately need his wisdom as much now as in any other time in our history.The work of Ludwig von Mises is an important guide for thoughtful citizens because he strongly, yet matter-of-factly sets forth economics as the pursuit of truth. Not the truth of the passing fancy, nor the so-called “small t-truth” that is always in danger of being refuted by the latest bit of empirical data; but economic truth that will stand for all ages. Misesian economic theory is a triumphant response to the epistemological relativism of today because it is economics developed in light of reality.Upon reading the works of Mises, one is immediately set forth on the right road, because Mises begins where economics must begin — human action. All of his economic theorems and corollaries are deduced from the non-controversial axiom that people engage in purposeful behavior. This immediately sets his theories on intellectual bedrock. ...Ludwig von Mises truly was an intellectual giant among men and, as Murray Rothbard saw, his thought and causal-realist framework is the best alternative to the economic paradigm of our age. In the contemporary fog of the modern academy, Mises serves as a lighthouse, warning unsuspecting students of the perils of bad economics and statist economic policies, while illuminating students to the principles of the free society.The Mises Reader is intended to give a taste of the many facets of Mises’s thought in a way that accessibly communicates most of his key contributions to the social sciences. It therefore includes excerpts from his larger and more technically demanding works side-by-side with shorter, more introductory article[...]

Water Capitalism: The Case for Privatizing Oceans, Rivers, Lakes, and Aquifers

Mon, 14 Nov 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Water covers some 75 percent of the earth’s surface, while land covers 25 percent, approximately. Yet the former accounts for less than 1 percent of world GDP, the latter 99 percent plus. Part of the reason for this imbalance is that there are more people located on land than water. But a more important explanation is that while land is privately owned, water is unowned (with the exception of a few small lakes and ponds), or governmentally owned (rivers, large lakes). This gives rise to the tragedy of the commons: when something is unowned, people have less of an incentive to care for it, preserve it, and protect it, than when they own it. As a result we have oil spills, depletion of fish stocks, threatened extinction of some species (e.g., whales), shark attacks, polluted and dried-up rivers, misallocated water, unsafe boating, piracy, and other indices of economic disarray which, if they had occurred on the land, would have been more easily identified as the result of the tragedy of the commons and/or government ownership and mismanagement. The purpose of this book is to make the case for privatization of all bodies of water, without exception. In the tragic example of the Soviet Union, the 97 percent of the land owned by the state accounted for 75 percent of the crops. On the 3 percent of the land privately owned, 25 percent of the crops were grown. The obvious mandate requires that we privatize the land, and prosper. The present volume applies this lesson, in detail, to bodies of water.

Never a Dull Moment

Tue, 02 Aug 2016 00:00:00 -0500

[From the Introduction by Justin Raimondo.]Murray Rothbard was a true polymath. He wasn’t just the number one theoretician of the modern libertarian movement — author of the monumental Man, Economy, and State; Conceived in Liberty, a four-volume history of the American Revolution; the two-volume An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought; and essays too numerous to list — he was also its most tireless publicist, at least in its early days.He didn’t live in an ivory tower: far from it. As he wrote in a 178-page memo entitled “Strategy For Libertarian Social Change”:If the advancement of liberty requires a movement as well as a body of ideas, it is our contention that the overriding goal of a libertarian movement must be the victory of liberty in the real world, the bringing of the ideal into actuality. [Emphasis in original]“Strategy for Libertarian Social Change,” unpublished manuscript, 1978.For Rothbard, libertarianism wasn’t an intellectual parlor game, nor was it a personal affectation: for him, it was a banner that was meant to be carried into battle. Ever the happy warrior, he sought to bring the radical libertarian perspective to bear on the events of the day, and it was a task he delighted in. While he tended to write his more serious books and articles in the dead of night, staying up at all hours pounding away on his old-fashioned (even for the time) typewriter, his “mornings” (noonish) were devoted to relatively lighter fare — the polemical journalism which, over the years, found various outlets. In the 1940s he wrote a personal newsletter, The Vigil, which was typewritten and mailed to his closest friends and associates. Later on, he was appointed “Washington Correspondent” for Christian Economics magazine, a publication put out by a group known as Spiritual Mobilization, headed up by the Rev. James Fifield, and devoted to economic laissez-faire.This lasted a few years but eventually he was let go: the right-wing Protestant pastors who were the main audience of Christian Economics were appalled by his anti-interventionist polemics when it came to the foreign policy issue. As the cold war got colder there was less tolerance for the “isolationism” of the Old Right, which by that time was largely forgotten by the conservative rank-and-file. Those rightist ministers thought he was a Communist! So there was a parting of the ways.His sojourn as an occasional writer for William F. Buckley, Jr.’s National Review was even briefer, as Rothbard’s patience with the warmongering that emanated like a radioactive cloud from that publication soon wore thin. The Buckleyites’ crazed desire for a nuclear showdown with Moscow was a bit too much for the old “isolationist” to take, and his refusal to show enthusiasm for World War III soon led to his excommunication from a church to which he had never properly belonged.But no matter: the hegemony of cold war ideology was about to receive a serious challenge, as the 1960s dawned. An independent libertarian movement — organizationally separate as well as ideologically differentiated from National Review-style conservatism — was about to make its debut, in large part due to Rothbard’s efforts. He and Leonard Liggio had started Left & Right, a magazine directed at the burgeoning New Left movement, which was beginning to make waves, starting on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. However, the magazine was a quarterly, not a good format for someone wh[...]

Suicide Pact:The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty

Mon, 18 Jul 2016 00:00:00 -0500

In Suicide Pact, Judge Andrew P. Napolitano details a long, sordid history of governmental—and especially presidential—encroachments on liberty, enacted in the name of protecting America but which serve instead to undermine national security and erode the nation’s founding freedoms.

Appealing to all politically aware Americans but especially to highly engaged conservatives and libertarians (including his 576,000 Facebook fans and 240,000 Twitter followers), Napolitano’s sobering-yet-patriotic perspective unmasks rampant political doubletalk and Washington power plays by taking a clear, legally grounded look at how we got here.

Blending fascinating history with fresh reporting and analysis on contemporary issues such as drone warfare and executions, NSA surveillance, and secret federal courts, Suicide Pact casts a vision beyond hollow rhetoric to common-sense solutions for returning sanity to our shores.

The Rothbard Reader

Wed, 02 Mar 2016 00:00:00 -0600

From the Introduction by Joseph T. Salerno and Matthew McCaffrey.

Few economists manage to produce a body of work that boasts a serious following twenty years after their deaths. Murray N. Rothbard is a rare exception. More than two decades since his passing, his influence lives on, both in the work of a new generation of social scientists, and among a growing number of the general public.

One reason for Rothbard’s continuing popularity is his ability to reach across disciplines, and to connect them: unlike many contemporary economists, who specialize in increasingly narrow fields within the science, Rothbard’s research agenda was expansive and interdisciplinary, covering most of the social sciences and humanities.

Some readers of this book will already be familiar with Rothbard’s major works, such as his path-breaking treatise on economics, Man, Economy, and State. Yet Rothbard also produced hundreds of shorter works for both academic and popular audiences. Unfortunately, many lack the time to explore his writings; what’s more, his oeuvre is so enormous it is often difficult to know where to begin.

This book aims to solve these problems by providing a window into Rothbard’s achievements in the social sciences, humanities, and beyond. It includes introductory, intermediate, and advanced material, to ensure the book can be enjoyed by readers of all levels of understanding and familiarity with Rothbard’s work. Therefore although it is intended primarily for newcomers, veteran readers will also find much to discover or re-discover in these pages.

A Genuine Gold Dollar vs. the Federal Reserve

Wed, 20 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

A Genuine Gold DollarIn recent years an increasing number of economists have understandably become disillusioned by the inflationary record of fiat currencies. They have therefore concluded that leaving the government and its central bank power to fine tune the money supply, but abjuring them to use that power wisely in accordance with various rules, is simply leaving the fox in charge of the proverbial henhouse. They have come to the conclusion that only radical measures can remedy the problem, in essence the problem of the inherent tendency of government to inflate a money supply that it monopolizes and creates. That remedy is no less than the strict separation of money and its supply from the state.The best known proposal to separate money from the state is that of F.A. Hayek and his followers. Hayek’s “denationalization of money” would eliminate legal tender laws, and allow every individual and organization to issue its own currency, as paper tickets with its own names and marks attached. The central government would retain its monopoly over the dollar, or franc, but other institutions would be allowed to compete in the money creation business by offering their own brand name currencies.Thus, Hayek would be able to print Hayeks, the present author to issue Rothbards, and so on. Mixed in with Hayek’s suggested legal change is an entrepreneurial scheme by which a Hayek-inspired bank would issue “ducats,” which would be issued in such a way as to keep prices in terms of ducats constant. Hayek is confident that his ducat would easily outcompete the inflated dollar, pound, mark, or whatever.Hayek’s plan would have merit if the thing — the commodity — we call “money” were similar to all other goods and services. One way, for example, to get rid of the inefficient, backward, and sometimes despotic US Postal Service is simply to abolish it; but other free-market advocates propose the less radical plan of keeping the post office intact but allowing any and all organizations to compete with it. These economists are confident that private firms would soon be able to outcompete the post office. In the past decade, economists have become more sympathetic to deregulation and free competition, so that superficially denationalizing or allowing free competition in currencies would seem viable in analogy with postal services or fire-fighting or private schools.There is a crucial difference, however, between money and all other goods and services. All other goods, whether they be postal services or candy bars or personal computers, are desired for their own sake, for the utility and value that they yield to consumers.Consumers are therefore able to weigh these utilities against one another on their own personal scales of value. Money, however, is desired not for its own sake, but precisely because it already functions as money, so that everyone is confident that the money commodity will be readily accepted by any and all in exchange. People eagerly accept paper tickets marked “dollars” not for their aesthetic value, but because they are sure that they will be able to sell those tickets for the goods and services they desire. They can only be sure in that way when the particular name, “dollar,” is already in use as money.Hayek is surely correct that a free-market economy and a devotion to the right of private property requires that everyone be permitted to issue whatever proposed currency names and tickets they [...]

The Present Age: Progress and Anarchy in Modern America

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Robert Nisbet argues here that conservatism has become as corrupt as liberalism in its celebration of militarism and war and its unrelenting call for the state to monitor and regulate private life. Far from sustaining the culture, this approach to policy has debased the culture and fed an economic corruption of special-interest clamoring for privilege.

His attack on the Reagan administration goes further than most anything you read on the left side of the political perspective. He shows that conservative devotion to his presidency is nothing but a species of the dictatorship complex working itself out in democratic form. He applies the same critique to the left's love of FDR.

The State of the Union

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Alber Jay Nock is an aristocrat who sees the state as the enemy of all that is beautiful and true, an effortless anarchist who lives and breathes ancient wisdom, an opinionated essayist who draws the reader in through anecdotes and stories rather than deduction, and a visionary who sees the world through a libertarian lens. He applies his perspective in opposition to welfare, government-managed economies, consolidation, and, above all else, war.

This collection pulls together some of his best work on literature, war, state expansion, law, education, prohibition, and cultural issues such as smoking and snoring.


Basic Principles of Economic Value

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Here Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk--Mises's teacher and a huge figure in the history of thought--explains and argues for the subjective theory of value, the theory of marginal utility, and their relationship to price.

This book was originally published in German in 1886 as an elaboration on Menger--driving home points concerning value as against every non-Austrian point of view. He completely demolishes not only the labor theory but also the value theory that rests on claims of aggregate economic value or social worth. In so doing, he clarifies points that Menger himself hadn't entirely spelled out.

He also outlines for the first time in this article the modern marginal productivity theory of factor pricing.

The author covers the nature and origin of value, the measurement of value, the value of complementary goods, the scientific significance of subjective value, and the theory of objective exchange value.


How Capitalism Saved America

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Thomas DiLorenzo has a marvelous analytical talent and a knack for drawing the reader's attention to the material that matters. His new book employs this talent in defense of the whole history of free enterprise in America. How long have we waited for a book like this? A very long time.

It is called How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, From the Pilgrims to the Present. It seems like just the right book to give a market skeptic. "You have doubts about capitalism? Read this." After years of interacting with students in an urban business-school environment, DiLorenzo knows precisely what are the main points of contention.

The chapters are short but precise and careful in choosing the right episodes to highlight and arguments to present to make his case. His main points come mostly from the Austrian tradition: the classic texts by Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, Reisman, but also the public choice school, and also the best economic historians of our time. He begins with a definition and sweeping defense of capitalism, along with an eye-opening illustration of why such a defense in necessary, citing an egregious history of intellectual defenses of communism. Who remembers that John Dewey called Soviet communism "intrinsically religious" with the "moving spirit and force of primitive Christianity"?

The text never slows, as he marches through the history of the pilgrims, the American Revolution, the 19th century debate over internal improvements, the advancement of workers amidst capitalist advance, the myths of the Robber Barrons, the great depression, the New Deal, the energy crisis, and the modern debate on the environment, social regulation, and the war on vice. This whole book is a kind of guerilla manual for beating back the most common economic myths one is likely to encounter on campus or in public debate. Master this book and you have overcome most of the bad economic thinking of our time.



The Church and the Market

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

In fact, Thomas Woods's book on Catholic social teaching surpasses any other book ever published in this genre. Rather than merely recount what has been said, he subjects the corpus to a relentless examination, highlighting contradictions and missteps, while praising the good. Even for those not particularly interested in Catholic teaching, this book is an outstanding elucidation of economic science in light of moral concerns. He covers wages and labor, money and inflation, trade and the division of labor, entrepreneurship and development, and the meaning of a range of concepts such as price and value.

Of particular interest is Professor Woods's primary target: not so much the social-gospel left but the Catholic right, which argues against free enterprise and laissez-faire with surprising intensity. By taking on these critics of the market, as versus easier leftist targets, he has set for himself the most difficult task of providing a corrective concerning economics to those who are most attached to Catholic teaching on faith and morals and yet are dogmatically attached to various forms of government intervention designed to shore up morals and faith.

He shows that market economics is not contradicted by binding Catholic teaching but rather supported by it.


Energy: The Master Resource

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Robert Bradley, a leading free market energy economist, has in collaboration with Richard Fulmer put together an outstanding book that covers the huge subject of energy, beginning with answers to the most fundamental questions (What is energy? Where does energy come from?) and proceeding to current policy applications (Are we running out of oil? Is the globe warming?). It is ideal for students and classroom use. But it is also the best book for anyone who wants to think and talk intelligently about this huge topic.

Alarmists about energy have published book after book predicting an energy crisis. We shall soon run out of oil, they claim, and this will plunge the world’s economy in crisis. As if this were not enough, man-made global warming threatens to bring about catastrophic changes.

Bradley decisively refutes these doomsayers. Oil and other fossil fuels, he shows, are abundant. Increased exploration and new techniques for extraction have produced an ample supply of oil. We face no crisis, and there is no good reason to look to solar and wind power as replacements for oil. These have long ago been rejected as inefficient by the market.

Global warming proponents also take an unduly pessimistic view. If the globe is in fact warming, the changes that ensue are likely to be on the whole beneficial.

Our real problems with energy stem not from the free market, but from ill-advised government programs, such as price control and restrictions on resource extraction.


The Free Market and Its Enemies

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

This is a "new" book by Ludwig von Mises, the first of a series of lecture transcripts drawn from careful notes taken by Bettina Bien Greaves in the summer of 1951. It features Mises in a role in which we do not usually find him, not as a writer but as a speaker of enormous erudition and power.

There are nine lectures in this book: Economics and its Opponents; Pseudo-Science and Historical Understanding; Acting Man and Economics; Marxism, Socialism, and Pseudo-Science; Capitalism and Human Progress; Money and Inflation; The Gold Standard: Its Importance and Restoration; Money, Credit, and the Business Cycle; and The Business Cycle and Beyond.

We find Mises commenting on matters one usually doesn't find in his others books, such as the impact that Plato had on the classical world, the place of Rousseau in history, the role of liberalism on the Continent as versus England, the impact of Poincare and Einstein, as well as passing comments on everything from banking debates of the 19th century as well as the role of ideology in modern life.


Resurgence of the Warfare State: The Crisis Since 9/11

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

At least since World War I, Austrians have pointed to the relationship between warmongering and the decline of economic liberty. In our times, Robert Higgs is the most articulate and learned upholder of the position that free markets require peace to the same extent that peace depends on free economies.

He shows how the 9-11 attacks have led the government to exploit people's fears to build an empire at home and abroad, at the expense of freedom itself.

Resurgence of the Warfare State: The Crisis since 9/11 brings together Robert Higgs's real time analysis of the U.S. response in the three-and-a-half years that followed the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Higgs paints a bleak picture, showing how America's political leaders in the name of crisis management have discarded many of the checks and balances created to thwart potential abuses of government power, spent additional billions of dollars on programs unrelated to national security, trampled civil liberties and due process at home, and pursued reckless military adventures that have needlessly killed thousands of innocents abroad.

This collection of articles covers airport security, the costs of war, the decline of civil liberties, the lies of empire, the militarization of government, fiscal explosion, the nature of the military bureaucracy, and more.


The Ethics of Redistribution

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

After many years of being out of print, this classic treatise from the brilliant political philosopher De Jouvenel (1952) provides an answer to a critical question: what is morally wrong with the idea of political management of incomes? Nearly every state in the world attempts to curb excess riches and boost the well being of the poor, and does so through a variety of programs that involve taxation and regulatory regimentation.

Yes, it generates disincentives to work but the author here deals with a more fundamental moral issue: to what extent and in what ways does redistribution compromise individual freedom and build the power of the state? It is in the transfer of power from people to government that the real problem with income management rests. De Jouvenel makes a devastating case against the most accepted of modern forms of economic intervention.

Commerce, Culture, and Liberty: Readings on Capitalism before Adam Smith

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

This volume has collected the best of the best of early economic thought, and thereby has rooted economics in the broadest range of history dating back centuries before the Industrial Revolution.

Represented here are: William Walwyn, Pieter de la Court, Josiah Cilde, Pierre Nicole, Nicholas Barbon, Dudley North, Andrew Fletcher, John Trenchard, Bernard Mandeville, Daniel Defoe, Voltaire, Montesquieu, Anne-Robert-Jacques Turgot, Jean-François Saint-Lambert, Ferdinando Galiani, Étienne Bonnot de Condillac, among many other thinkers both famed and unfamiliar.


Against Leviathan

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

What is fundamentally wrong with government today? In Against Leviathan, economist and historian, Robert Higgs, offers an unflinching critical analysis of government power in all its aspects: welfare, warfare, regulation, spying, and its imposition on personal liberties.

Against Leviathan combines an economist's analytical scrutiny, an historian's respect for the facts, and a refusal to accept the standard excuses and cruelties of government officialdom. Topics include Social Security, the paternalism of the FDA, the "War on Drugs", the nature of political leadership, civil liberties, the conduct of the national surveillance state, and governmental responses to a continuing stream of "crises," including domestic economic busts and foreign wars both hot and cold.

Against Leviathan is a thorough and penetrating critique, and a significant contribution in this current time of crisis and unchecked expansion of government power, and a worthy successor to the author's seminal treatise Crisis and Leviathan.


Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

What caused the war? Why did the Union defeat the Confederacy? What were the consequences of the War? The premise of the book is that historians have a comparative advantage in describing such events, but economists have the tools to help explain these events. This book does so, and marvelously.

The authors use Austrian and Public Choice analysis to address these principal questions and our conclusions generally run counter to the interpretations of historians. In contrast to historians who emphasize the land war and military strategy, the authors show that the most important battle took place at sea. One side, the blockade runners, did not wear uniforms or fire weapons at their opponents. The other side, the blockading fleet, was composed of sailors who had weapons and guns but they rarely fired their cannons in hopes of damaging their opponents. Their pay was based on the value of captured ships. Historians often have argued that the Confederacy lost because it was overly reluctant to use government power and economic controls, but we show the exact opposite. Big Confederate government brought the Confederacy to its knees.

Some now teach that slavery was the sole cause of the Civil War –- an explanation that historians have developed in the twentieth century. However, this analysis does not explain why the war started in 1861 (rather than 1851 or 1841) and it fails to explain why slavery was abolished elsewhere without such horrendous carnage.

The authors emphasize economics and politics as major factors leading to war. The Republicans who came to power in 1860 supported a mercantilist economic agenda of protectionism, inflation, public works, and big government. High tariffs would have been a boon to manufacturing and mining in the north, but would have been paid largely by those in the export-oriented agriculture economy.


The Real Lincoln

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

In this book, Thomas DiLorenzo calls for a complete rethinking of a central icon of American historiography. He looks at the actions and legacy of Abe Lincoln from an economics point of view to show that Lincoln's main interest was not in opposing slavery but in advancing mercantilism, inflationism, and government spending: the "American system" of Henry Clay.

Through extensive historical investigation, DiLorenzo shows that the high tariff pushed by Northern industries, at the expense of Southern agriculture, was the main cause of the sectional conflict. Further, Lincoln's goal in preventing Southern secession was the consolidation of federal power and the collection of revenue, not the elimination of slavery.

Introduction by Walter Williams.


Faith and Liberty: The Economic Thought of the Late Scholastics

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

In this second edition of his seminal study, Alejandro Chafuen covers the economic writings of the Late Scholastics working in the tradition of St.Thomas Aquinas, those whom J. Schumpeter called the first economists. Writing long before Adam Smith, they wrote on private property, trade, monetary theory and policy, value, price, entrepreneurship, the state, and much more, anticipating the insights of the Austrian School. In many ways, these Continental theorists were more advanced than the British Classical School. The second edition (the first edition was called Christians for Freedom) is much expanded and improved to become not only an important book on the history of thought but a crucial study in the development of the Austrian School. There is no more comprehensive account available.


Selected Writings of LVM, vol 2: Between the Two World Wars

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

The life and work of Ludwig von Mises is marked by the appearances of large treatises, on topics from money to methodology. But along the way, he also wrote many shorter articles and essays. The essays collected in this volume are from the interwar period, when Mises was working for the Vienna Chamber of Commerce. They concern monetary policy, fiscal policy, the boom and bust cycle, trade, economic calculation, socialism, and the history of ideas.

Some of the essays have never before appeared in print, and only surfaced with the discovery of Mises's personal papers, which had landed in Moscow after World War II. This volume is beautifully produced and printed, with outstanding editorial work by Richard Ebeling. A special bonus is a Soviet-sponsored attack on Mises, appearing in a Soviet journal, and published here for the first time.


Crisis and Leviathan

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

This seminal treatise in the history of ideas demonstrates what has come to be known as the Higgs thesis: that government grows in periods of crisis, for example, war and depression. He demonstrates this with a detailed look at twentieth century economic history.

Higgs's thesis is so compelling that it has become the dominant paradigm for understanding the so-called ratchet effect: government grows during crisis and then retrenches afterwards, but not to the same level as before.

This book is absolutely essential for anyone who seeks to understand the dynamics of government growth and the loss of liberty.



Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

George Reisman was a student of Mises's, a translator of his work, and, as he demonstrates in this outstanding treatise, a leading theorist in the Misesian tradition. This exposition deals with the method and theory of economics, and particularly excels in its application to matters of policy. Its sections on price controls, money, banking, and environmentalism apply Misesian theory to new times and new literature. The author deals patiently but devastatingly with the arguments of the interventionists. The end result is an integrated understanding of the theory and ethics of the capitalist economy.


Democracy: The God That Failed

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

This sweeping book is a systematic treatment of the historic transformation of the West from limited monarchy to unlimited democracy. Revisionist in nature, it reaches the conclusion that monarchy, with all its failings, is a lesser evil than mass democracy, but outlines deficiencies in both as systems of guarding liberty. By focusing on this transformation from private to public government, the author is able to interpret many historical phenomena, such as rising levels of crime, degeneration of standards of conduct and morality, the decline in security and freedom, and the growth of the mega-state.

In addition, Hoppe deconstructs the classical liberal belief in the possibility of limited government and calls for an alignment of anti-statist conservatism and libertarianism as natural allies with common goals. He defends the proper role of the production of defense as undertaken by insurance companies on a free market, and describes the emergence of private law among competing insurers.

The author goes on to assess the prospects for achieving a natural order of liberty. Informed by his analysis of the radical deficiencies of social democracy, and armed with the social theory of legitimation, he forsees secession as the likely future of the US and Europe, resulting in a multitude of region and city-states. Democracy-The God that Failed is a brilliant and unflinching work that will be of intense interest to scholars and students of history, political economy, and political philosophy.


Henry Hazlitt: A Giant of Liberty

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

This bibliography contains more than 6,000 entries, with books annotated by Murray N. Rothbard, in a near-complete listing of articles by this Austrian journalist. It identifies for the first time unsigned editorials in the New York Times (1934-1946) which were actually written by Hazlitt, and reveals that he had a larger impact on our nation's intellectual life than anyone has yet realized.


The Politics of Unemployment

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

The modern age of economic intervention began under the pretense of helping workers. Professor Sennholz demolishes the entire edifice that gave rise to this movement.

We were told that workers must be organized into unions. They must have job protection. Their safety must be guaranteed by legislation. There must be a minimum wage. People under the age of 15 must never engage in remunerative work, for that would be exploitation. And workers need retirement income. If unemployment rises, nothing short of full scale central planning is required!

So on it goes, except for one inconvenient fact: the age of intervention accomplished precisely the opposite of its stated goals for workers. The unemployment of the 20th century was government created. And today, workers are taxed, regulated, and regimented to their own detriment.

Here is the uncompromising case against the entire interventionist regime erected on behalf of workers. No one does a better job in showing how the state has harmed the very group that it claimed to be backing.

Sennholz refutes dozens of theoretical fallacies and exposes the bad policies that flow from them. His focus on current trends like "mandated benefits" explains how they have so drastically increased labor costs. He also deals with the feminist arguments against the free market, and makes a strong case for the benefits of the underground economy. A principled and readable work that unfies theoretical rigor and a passion for liberty.


Notes and Recollections: With the Historical Setting of the Austrian School of Economics

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Written between 1940 and 1941, shortly after he arrived in the United States, Notes and Recollections is in effect Mises’s pre-1940 intellectual autobiography. This work reveals how Mises developed his theories, wrote his books, lectured, and taught; it describes his life in Vienna and the people with whom he worked. He also discusses his activities as an adviser to Austrian government officials and his frustrations in attempting to keep inflation and communist and Nazi ideas from destroying the Austrian economy.

The Historical Setting of the Austrian School of Economics is an essay originally published in English in 1969 that reveals Mises’s intellectual development in the context of the origins of the Austrian School. It serves as a good introduction to the theory and history of the Austrian School.

As Mises explains in these two works, his viewpoint that modern economics is based on subjective value and marginal-utility theory separated him from classical economists such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill.

This is Mises's intellectual biography, written after he arrived in the U.S. It was written at the lowest point of his career, at a time when he had left his homeland and was snubbed by American academia for being too anti-socialist. But his steely determination to press on is evident on every page of this affecting, personal, and powerful book.


TANSTAAFL: A Libertarian Perspective on Environmental Policy

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

In its most basic application, the TANSTAAFL principle is a simple statement of reality: everything of value has a cost. The TANSTAAFL principle can also be interpreted as a mandate for a policy of full-cost pricing. In a world where resources are scarce, everything has a cost. Scarce resources are used most efficiently when the price paid by the final user reflects all costs, including waste disposal, harm from pollution, and depletion of non-renewable resources.

Author Edwin G. Dolan is a leading environmental economist and academic. This 40th anniversary edition includes the full original text along with a new introduction and extensive commentaries on each chapter by the author. The commentaries explore aspects of environmental issues that have changed over time, for example, the arrival on centre stage of climate change, something that merited only a few words in the 1971 edition. They also discuss things that have not changed: for example, the tendency of government to play the role of villain at least as often as that of hero when it comes to protecting environmental values. As the author repeatedly emphasizes, it is as important today as in the past to apply the TANSTAAFL principle: the polluter must pay.


War, Empire, and the Military

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

With War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Police, Laurence Vance, a relentless critic of the state and its wars, has updated his already extensive writings on war and empire to include new material in this volume not included in earlier collections of essays.

These essays, although organized under seven headings, have one underlying theme: opposition to the warfare state that robs us of our liberty, our money, and in some cases our life. Conservatives who decry the welfare state while supporting the warfare state are terribly inconsistent. The two are inseparable. Libertarians who are opposed to war on principle, but support the state’s bogus “war on terrorism,” even as they remain silent about the U.S. global empire, are likewise contradictory.


Defending the Undefendable 2

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Walter Block has assembled thirty chapters defending behavior that is probably offensive to most Americans, such as dwarf tossing and stereotyping, and many that are downright illegal, such as dueling and smuggling. Plus, he's provided us with humorous cartoons at the end of many chapters. The bottom line message in Freedom in All Realms: Defending the Undefendable is that the true test of our commitment to personal liberty doesn't come when we permit others to engage in those peaceable, voluntary acts with which we agree. It comes when we permit others to engage in peaceable, voluntary acts we find offensive. (Walter E. Williams)


Free Prices Now! Fixing the Economy by Abolishing the Fed

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Free Prices Now! begins by asking why the human race is still so poor. How can it be that billions still lack even enough to eat? It then provides the answer. A prosperous society is a cooperative society. Cooperation in turn depends on trust. And trust requires honesty.

The most reliable barometer of economic honesty is to be found in prices. Honest prices, neither manipulated nor controlled, provide both investors and consumers with reliable economic signals. They are the foundation for a successful economy.

A corrupt economic system does not want honest prices, honest information, or honest results. The truth may be unprofitable for powerful government leaders, private interests allied with them, or economic “experts” whose careers have been devoted to price manipulations and controls.

The US Federal Reserve and other central banks have created a system of “liar loans” and false prices. Other parts of government have contributed as well. In effect, the regulators on whom we depend have become dis-regulators.

Can it really be this simple, that economic prosperity and job growth depend on allowing economic prices to tell the truth, free from the self-dealing and self-interested theories of powerful special interests?


Although Lewis takes us inside the complexities of the national economy and the Federal Reserve, his lively and transparently clear writing style makes it easy for anyone to follow him.


Crony Capitalism in America

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

When private interests need a political favor, they know whom to call. When politicians need money, they also know whom to call. The people involved try to keep most of it concealed behind closed doors.

This is the system that prevailed in Russia after the fall of Communism. But increasingly it is America's system as well.

Many people regard Wall Street as the epicenter of American capitalism. In reality it is the epicenter of American crony capitalism. Where Wall Street stops and Washington begins is impossible to say. This situation was not caused, as many suppose, by the Crash of 2008. Rather the Crash was caused by the longstanding Wall Street–Washington partnership. But the problem extends far beyond Wall Street to every corner of America.

If we are going to do anything about our present economic problems, and also give the poor a chance at a better life, we will need to eliminate crony capitalism and restore an honest economy.

Although full of hair-raising stories, this book is also about solutions. It tells us in clear and simple terms what is wrong and what needs to be done about it.

The School Revolution: A New Answer for Our Broken Education System

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Twelve-term Texas Congressman, Presidential candidate, and #1 New York Times bestselling author Ron Paul returns with a highly provocative treatise about how we need to fundamentally change the way we think about America's broken education system in order to fix it.

Whether or not you have children, you know that education is vital to the prosperity and future of our society. Yet our current system simply doesn't work. Parents feel increasingly powerless, and nearly half of Americans give our schools a grade of "C". Now, in his new book, Ron Paul attacks the problem head-on and provides a focused solution that centers on strong support for home schooling and the application of free market principles to the American education system. Examining the history of education in this country, Dr. Paul identifies where we've gone wrong, what we can do about it, and how we can change the way we think about education in order to provide a brighter future for Americans.


The Freedom Answer Book: How the Government Is Taking Away Your Constitutional Freedom

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

The government is taking away basic freedoms granted under the Constitution. This helpful guide gives a clear vision of what your rights are and how you can protect them.

In order to truly understand the freedoms we have as people of the United States, we must fully comprehend our Constitution and the reasons why our Founding Fathers devised it. If we don’t, we’ll never fully grasp the danger that lurks today of losing those freedoms to an ever-growing government and its lack of accountability. As a nationally recognized expert on the U.S. Constitution, Judge Andrew P. Napolitano states in simple Q&A format the meanings behind our Constitution and exposes areas that are in jeopardy of unequivocal compromise. He addresses hard-hitting questions such as, What are the limits to government power in a free society? Are your rights guaranteed? What forces have collaborated to destroy personal freedom? and many more. Seeing, studying, and examining these issues will illuminate the unconstitutional realities of the government’s role today.


Commie Cowboys: The Bourgeoisie and the Nation-State in the Western Genre

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

The Western genre has long been associated with right-wing and libertarian politics, and is said to promote individualism and free-market economics. In a new look at the Western, however, Ryan McMaken shows that the Western is in fact often anti-capitalist, and in many ways, the genre attacks the dominant ideology of nineteenth-century America: classical liberalism.

The classical Westerns of the mid-twentieth century often feature wealthy capitalist villains who oppress the cowardly and defenseless shopkeepers and farmers of the frontier. The gunfighter, a representative of the law and order provided by the nation-state, intervenes to provide safety and justice. In addition to attacks on capitalism, the Western attacks other prized values of the bourgeois middle classes including Christianity, education and urbanization.

McMaken examines these themes as used in the films of John Ford, Anthony Mann, and Howard Hawks. These pioneers of the classical Westerns are then contrasted with later innovators such as Sergio Leone, Sam Peckinpah, and Clint Eastwood. Also included are discussions of the role of the Little House On The Prairie series, Victorian literature, and the nature of crime on the historical frontier. With a foreword by Paul A. Cantor.


War, Christianity, and the State

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

These seventy-six essays, organized under the headings of Christianity and War, Christianity and the Military, Christianity and the Warfare State, and Christianity and Torture, have one underlying theme: the relation of Christianity to war, the military, and the warfare state. If there is any group of people that should be opposed to war, torture, militarism, and the warfare state with its suppression of civil liberties, imperial presidency, government propaganda, and interventionist foreign policy it is Christians, and especially conservative, evangelical, and fundamentalist Christians who claim to strictly follow the dictates of Scripture and worship the Prince of Peace.

Although many of these essays reference contemporary events, the principles discussed in all of them are timeless: war, militarism, the warfare state, and especially the proper Christian attitude toward these things.


Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Political philosophy is dominated by a myth, the myth of the necessity of the state. The state is considered necessary for the provision of many things, but primarily for peace and security. Gerard Casey argues that social order can be spontaneously generated, that such spontaneous order is the norm in human society and that deviations from the ordered norms can be dealt with without recourse to the coercive power of the state.

Casey presents a novel perspective on political philosophy, arguing against the conventional political philosophy pieties and defending a specific political position, which he identifies as 'libertarian anarchy'. The book includes a history of the concept of anarchy, an examination of the possibility of anarchic societies and an articulation of the nature of law and order within such societies. Casey presents his specific form of anarchy, undergirded by a theory of human action that prioritises liberty, as a philosophically and politically viable alternative to the standard positions in political theory.


War and Democracy

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

War and Democracy presents a selection of essays and reviews by Paul Gottfried written from 1975 to the present. They cover a variety of topics, both historical and contemporary, ranging from Oswald Spengler and the Frankfurt School to the destruction of classical liberalism, the dumbing down of higher education and the increasing dominance of administration in democratic governments. Most crucially, Gottfried sees Western governments as engaged in a messianic fantasy of bringing democracy to the world, an imperialist endeavor that has only brought disaster to all nations concerned, while liberties at home are being gradually curtailed.

A recurring theme is the transformation of the modern West, and how the meanings behind the ideas and concepts which helped to build our civilization have been altered to create a new type of society that bears a connection with that of our forefathers in name only. He points out that the history we are taught and the "Right" that we know today have become signifiers for a very different reality that is in many ways opposed to what they stood for previously. Gottfried remains tenacious in his defense of the original meaning and purpose behind the conservative movement, which favors organic social growth as opposed to imposition through force and an expanding bureaucracy. "The notion that all countries must be brought - willingly or kicking and screaming - into the democratic fold is an invitation to belligerence. The notion that only democracies such as ours can be peaceful is what Edmund Burke called an 'armed doctrine.' ... It is simply ridiculous to treat the pursuit of peace based on world democratic conversion as a peaceful enterprise. This is a barely disguised adaptation of the Communist goal of bringing about world harmony through worldwide socialist revolution."

It Didn't Have to Be This Way

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Why is the boom-and-bust cycle so persistent? Why did economists fail to predict the recent economic meltdown--or to pull us out of the crisis more quickly? And how can we prevent future calamities?

Mainstream economics has no adequate answers for these pressing questions. In the powerful and eye-opening new book It Didn't Have to Be This Way, Harry Veryser shows how the Austrian School of economic provides the proper alternative to the failed interventionist approach: liberty, private property, and the unhampered market.


The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Alcohol abuse and heavy tobacco use are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. It seems rather ludicrous to advocate the outlawing of drugs and not the outlawing of alcohol and tobacco. (p. 11) Vance writes from a viewpoint that will surprise many readers. He himself does not condone the use of dangerous drugs. To the contrary, he is a Christian and a Bible scholar of considerable note and he regards their use as sinful. "As an adherent to the ethical principles of the New Testament, I regard drug abuse to be a vice, a sin, and an evil that Christians should avoid even as they avoid supporting the government's war on drugs" (p. 79).

If Vance takes this view of drug use, why is he so adamant that people have the right to consume these drugs? His answer will be of interest to all students of moral theology. He holds that Christians can with perfect consistency uphold the distinction between vices and crimes, with only the latter an appropriate area for forcible suppression.


The Great Deformation

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

David Stockman was the architect of the Reagan Revolution meant to restore sound money principles to the U.S. government. It failed, derailed by politics, special interests, welfare, and warfare. In The Great Deformation, Stockman describes how the working of free markets and democracy has long been under threat in America and provides a nonpartisan, surprising catalog of the corrupters and defenders. His analysis overturns the assumptions of Keynesians and monetarists alike, showing how both “liberal” and “neo-conservative” interference in markets has proved damaging and often dangerous. Over time, crony capitalism has made fools of us all, transforming Republican treasury secretaries into big government interventionists, and populist Democrat presidents into industry wrecking internationalists. Today’s national debt stands at nearly $16 trillion. Divided equally among taxpayers, each of us is $52,000 in debt. This book explains how we got here—and why this warped crony capitalism has betrayed so many of our hopes and dreams.


The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy—How to Save Yourself and Your Country

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

In The Real Crash, New York Times bestselling author Peter D. Schiff argues that America is enjoying a government-inflated bubble, one that reality will explode . . . with disastrous consequences for the economy and for each of us. Schiff demonstrates how the infusion of billions of dollars of stimulus money has only dug a deeper hole: the United States government simply spends too much and does not collect enough money to pay its debts, and in the end, Americans from all walks of life will face a crushing consequence.

We’re in hock to China, we can’t afford the homes we own, and the entire premise of our currency---backed by the full faith and credit of the United States---is false. Our system is broken, Schiff says, and there are only two paths forward. The one we’re on now leads to a currency and sovereign debt crisis that will utterly destroy our economy and impoverish the vast majority of our citizens.

However, if we change course, the road ahead will be a bit rockier at first, but the final destination will be far more appealing. If we want to avoid complete collapse, we must drastically reduce government spending---eliminate entire agencies, end costly foreign military escapades and focus only on national defense---and stop student loan or mortgage interest deductions, as well as drug wars and bank-and-business bailouts. We must also do what no politician or pundit has proposed: America should declare bankruptcy, restructure its debts, and reform our system from the ground up.

Persuasively argued and provocative, The Real Crash explains how we got into this mess, how we might get out of it, and what happens if we don’t. And, with wisdom born from having predicted the Crash of 2008, Peter Schiff explains how to protect yourself, your family, your money, and your country against what he predicts.


Organizing Entrepreneurial Judgment

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Now entrepreneurship classes are all the rage. While in real life government strangles businesses large and small everyday, the academic community has finally woken up to what creates wealth—entrepreneurial activity. This is a positive sign. And again it is an advancement for Austrian economics, as it has been the Austrian school that has focused on the role of the entrepreneur in the market process, while other schools of thought haven’t recognized the role of entrepreneurs at all.

Foss and Klein recognize entrepreneurship as judgmental decision making under uncertainty. They show how judgement is the driving force of the market economy and that to understand the performance of a firm, its managers, and organization, the acumen of entrepreneurs and managers must be analyzed and dissected.

Delusions of Power

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Taking a close look at the dense fabric that our government weaves between war, state power, and economics, this collection of essays reveals the growing authority—and corruption—of the American state. Covering topics from the Lyndon Johnson presidency to the provocatively titled article “Military-Economic Fascism” on the military-industrial-congressional complex, it argues that the U.S. government consistently exploits national crises and then invents timely rhetoric that limits the rights and liberties of all citizens for the benefit of the few, be they political leaders or various industrialists in the areas of defense and security. As its title suggests, this book presents a clear narrative of trends and events—from the United States’ entry into World War II to the origins of income tax—causing individuals to question whether those in power are truly blind to the effects and causes of their policies.

Higgs tersely describes the state as 'the most destructive institution human beings have ever devised.' The charge is supported by a massive array of data and a narrative of the process by which the U.S. government has preempted an ever-increasing portion of its citizens' resources and rolled back their liberty.


Civilian and the Military

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Do you have doubts about American wars abroad? Do you worry about their cost, the drain in American resources, the resentments they foster abroad, the death and destruction they bring on all sides? Do you have a sense that these are not truly consistent with the American spirit of commerce and friendship?

People who think this way are made to feel unpatriotic or even traitorous. It turns out, however, that this point of view has a long and glorious history in the United States. It is called the anti-militarist tradition. It grew out of the founding period when a small group of principled people fought back a giant military empire to win their independence.

The history begins in the founding period and continues until after the Second World War, showing how the rise of the warfare state always meant a diminution of liberty at home. He celebrates those who resisted at every step and demonstrates how their prediction all came true though their warnings went unheeded.

Perhaps the most valuable part of this book is its demonstration that the Second War World was not some kind of unusual exception in the history of American warfare; it was the fulfillment of the ambitions of an increasingly imperialist policy. He redeems the anti-war coalition from claims that it was unpatriotic and shows that they were right to warn and warn again against foreign entanglements and their consequences.

Ekirch was a great historian and this book provides an incredible wealth of knowledge and documentation to show that the anti-militarist tradition in the United States was and is robust, freedom-loving, and correct time and again.

Differing Worldviews in Higher Education

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Two noted professors on opposite sides of the cultural wars come together and engage in "cooperative argumentation." One, a "Jewish, atheist libertarian" and the other a "mixed blood American Indian" bring to the table two radically different worldviews to bear on the role of colleges and universities in studying social and ecological justice. The result is an entertaining and enlightening journey that reveals surprising connections and previously misunderstood rationales that may be at the root of a world too polarized to function sanely.


Liberty Defined

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Dr. Paul writes that to believe in liberty is not to believe in any particular social and economic outcome. It is to trust in the spontaneous order that emerges when the state does not intervene in human volition and human cooperation. It permits people to work out their problems for themselves, build lives for themselves, take risks and accept responsibility for the results, and make their own decisions. It is the seed of America.

This is a comprehensive guide to Dr. Paul's position on fifty of the most important issues of our times, from Abortion to Zionism. Accessible, easy to digest, and fearless in its discussion of controversial topics, Liberty Defined sheds new light on a word that is losing its shape. 


Back to the Land

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

This is the true story of Arthurdale, West Virginia, a town created as a "pet project" of the Roosevelts. Designed to be (in the words of Eleanor Roosevelt) "a human experiment station", she was to create a "New American" citizen who would embrace a collectivist form of life. This book tells the story of what happened to the people resettled in Arthurdale and how the policies implemented there shaped America as we know it. Arthurdale was the foundation upon which modern America was built.

Many books have examined the larger picture. But somehow, looking at the details of this smaller picture paints an even more devastating picture for the status of the New Deal. Arthurdale shows the massive financial disaster that government created and how it ended in destroyed lives and ruined economic prospects for an entire region. You wonder what went wrong in West Virginia? Here is the untold story.


Back on the Road to Serfdom

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

The threat of statism has reemerged in force. The federal government has seized on the economic crisis to radically expand its power—through bailouts, “stimulus” packages, a trillion-dollar health care plan, “jobs bills,” massive expansions of the money supply, and much more. But such interventionism did not suddenly materialize with the recent collapse. The dangerous trends of government growth, debt increases, encroachments on individual liberty, and attacks on the free market began years earlier and continued no matter which political party was in power.

This shift toward statism “will not end happily,” declares bestselling author Thomas E. Woods. In Back on the Road to Serfdom, Woods brings together ten top scholars to examine why the size and scope of government has exploded, and to reveal the devastating consequences of succumbing to the statist temptation.


Notes on Democracy

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

This book should come with a warning label. It is surely one of the most bracing books on politics in the history of the English language. There is more truth in these pages than most Americans are willing to face. What Mencken delivers here is probably the most scathing attack on the idea of mass rule that has ever been written.

Mencken is known as the chief heretic of the American civic religion, and this book shows why. Your eyes will pop out at not only his dazzling prose but, and most especially, at the thoughts that he dares put in print, almost as a revolutionary act.


Liberty, State, and Union

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Bassani shows that Jefferson was a special kind of libertarian. He did not believe in government, but for one or two areas. Nor did he believe in the "union" much less the nation state. He was a radical individualist who had no use for the political collective. This is where we find the very core of his thought.

Author of the Declaration of Independence, diplomat in France, leader of the opposition to the Federalists in the 1790s, president of the United States from 1801 to 1809, critical conscience of the country until his death on July 4, 1826, Thomas Jefferson is the most widely studied, fascinating and genuinely representative American intellectual.

Bassani surveys Jefferson’s views in the twofold articulation—the rights of man and states rights—that represents the core of all his political ideas. While recent scholarship on the subject tends to portray a union devotee, nonindividualistic, antiproperty rights Jefferson, with possible communitarian, if not even protosocialist undertones, this work does Jefferson justice.



Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Rollback takes on both liberal and conservative conventions and their habits of mind. The objective of the work is dramatically ambitious. Woods writes with relentless precision, like an intellectual surgeon, to convince the reader that the government is not what it says (the source of security, prosperity, peace, justice, health) it is but is rather the opposite and thereby we can and should do without it precisely in the name of promoting security, prosperity, peace justice, and health.

He strives to completely lift the veil that covers the state, and he does so not through rhetorical bombast or libertarian theorizing but through careful, fact-filled argumentation on the issues that most people think about.

Competition and Entrepreneurship

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

Written the year of Mises's death, this is the book that brought new prominence to the Austrian theory of the entrepreneur. Kirzner views him as the discoverer of opportunities in the competitive process, and contrasts this view with the general equilibrium view-which defines away the entrepreneur-and the Schumpeterian view that discovery is always disequilibrating. For its lucidity and focus, this remains an Austrian classic.


Resurrecting Marx

Mon, 11 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0600

The collapse of socialism didn't deter the Marxists, who moved on to invent new rationales for their system. But David Gordon has caught up with them, and used the knife of the Austrian School to cut their theories to pieces. A masterful demonstration of philosophical technique. The book in particular addresses the arguments of the analytical Marxists: G.A. Cohen, Jon Elster, and John Roemer.


Science, Technology, and Government

Thu, 09 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0500

Preface by David GordonWhen Murray Rothbard wrote “Science, Technology, and Government” in 1959, supporters of the free market needed to confront a challenge that remains relevant today. In 1957, the Soviet Union launched its “Sputnik” satellite, thereby defeating the United States in the race between the two countries to be first into space. Did this victory show, or at least suggest, the superiority of Soviet centrally-planned science to the American market economy? Critics of the free enterprise system like John Kenneth Galbraith (one of Rothbard’s least favorite economists) claimed that scientific research and development required government planning and control. The free market, these critics claimed, could not carry out the vast efforts research now required. Could private enterprise have built the atomic bomb? The Soviets have long since departed, but the fallacies in the arguments for centrally-controlled science live on today. Government spending on science and technology has increased far beyond its level in 1959.In this brilliant monograph, Rothbard deftly turns the tables on the supporters of big government. In doing so, he displays his unique combination of mastery of theoretical principles and commanding knowledge of the empirical evidence and scholarly literature on every subject he addresses. He shows that science best advances under the free market: the claims to the contrary of the centralizers are spurious.He begins with a fundamental question: how do we decide how much money to spend on research. The more we spend, the less we have to spend on other things. The decision is best left to the free market:This fact of reality, then, must be faced: if there are to be more scientists, or more scientific research, then there must be less people and less resources available for producing all the other goods and services of the economy. The crucial question, then, is: how much? How many people and how much capital are to be funneled into each of the various occupations, including science and technology? One of the great, if often unsung, merits of the free enterprise economy is that it alone can insure a smooth, rational distribution and allocation of [...]

The Next Generation of Austrian Economics: Essays in Honor of Joseph T. Salerno

Sat, 14 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0500

The Next Generation of Austrian Economics: Essays in Honor Joseph T. Salerno is a celebratory volume honoring the work of a respected and beloved teacher. It signifies a flourishing career of significant achievement, and also the gratitude and well-wishes of his students.

Dr. Salerno, longtime Professor of Economics at Pace University and Academic Vice President of the Mises Institute, is honored in these pages by the very students whose lives and careers he influenced. His important work in monetary theory and policy, not to mention his great exposition of Austrian school sociology, are addressed here by contributors such as Dr. Philip Bagus, Dr. David Howden, Dr. Per Bylund, Dr. Mateusz Machaj, Dr. Matthew McCaffrey, Dr. Peter Klein, and others.

Salerno stands at the head of what may be termed the “5th generation” of Austrian economists, having been both a friend and close associate of the late Murray Rothbard (not to mention a young attendee at the famed 1974 South Royalton conference). But as this volume illustrates, Joe is also a great friend, mentor, and godfather to an emergent new generation of formidable Austrian economists.

A Short History of Man: Progress and Decline

Thu, 05 Mar 2015 00:00:00 -0600

A Short History of Man: Progress and Decline is nothing less than a concise revisionist history of man, skillfully presented by Dr. Hoppe. He addresses the rise of family structures, the development of private property, social evolution prior to the Industrial Revolution, and the rise of the state — all without regard for cherished myths. Dr. Hoppe will make you rethink your assumptions regarding man's development in this engaging book.

From Aristocracy to Monarchy to Democracy

Fri, 21 Nov 2014 00:00:00 -0600

In this tour de force essay, Hans-Hermann Hoppe turns the standard account of historical governmental progress on its head. While the state is an evil in all its forms, monarchy is, in many ways, far less pernicious than democracy. Hoppe shows the evolution of government away from aristocracy, through monarchy, and toward the corruption and irresponsibility of democracy- a long march toward today's leviathan state. There is hope for liberty, but reversing the tide will not be easy. Radical decentralization and secession, Hoppe posits, are the last best way forward. This eye-opening monograph is ideal for sharing with friends. It will revolutionize the way you view society and the state.

Toward a Libertarian Society

Fri, 06 Jun 2014 00:00:00 -0500

Walter Block has for decades been one of the most effective and indefatigable defenders of libertarianism. One feature in his writing stands out, from his classic Defending the Undefendable to the present. He consistently applies the principles of libertarianism to every situation in a bold and original way. Readers of Toward a Libertarian Society, a collection of his articles from, will find this feature abundantly on display.

Block believes that libertarianism has three components: foreign policy, economic policy, and policies on personal liberties. He devotes a separate part of the book to each of these components.

In foreign affairs, Block is a resolute non-interventionist. He is an anarchist who rejects the state altogether; but, so long as a state exists, it should confine its foreign policy to defense against invasion. Doing so is in line with the tradition of Washington and John Quincy Adams. In our own day, Ron Paul has been the foremost champion of non-intervention; and Paul has few, if any, more ardent advocates than Walter Block.

In economic policy, Block defends the free market against all types of interference. One issue especially concerns him: the activities of labor unions. Against union advocates, Block emphasizes that wages depend on workers’ marginal productivity. Block is equally decisive in macroeconomics. He calls for the total abolition of the Fed.

Block, never one to avoid controversy, argues that much in the contemporary feminist movement is antithetical to libertarianism. Readers will learn his views about abortion, stem-cell research, and punishment theory. He is a firm advocate of the possibility and desirability of political secession.

Reading Toward a Libertarian Society is the equivalent of a college course in libertarianism, taught by a master teacher.

A Libertarian Critique of Intellectual Property

Tue, 07 Jan 2014 00:00:00 -0600

What is the status of intellectual property? Are patents and copyrights legitimate in a free society?

Butler Shaffer is a distinguished libertarian legal theorist who has for many years taught at Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles. In this monograph, he addresses an important question that has aroused much interest among libertarians: What is the status of intellectual property? Are patents and copyrights legitimate?

Shaffer responds with an appeal to fundamental libertarian principles. Only arrangements that people freely negotiate with one another are acceptable: laws imposed by a coercive state are not. Judged by this standard, intellectual property fails. People may make contracts that limit the sale or transmission of ideas or books, but these bind only those who make them. Intellectual property laws, by contrast, apply to everyone, whether people accept them or not. These laws could not have arisen through voluntary agreements.

Defenders of intellectual property maintain that inventors and writers need protection for their work. Without patents and copyrights, inventions and creative work would be impeded. Shaffer responds that most of the great creators and inventors of the past worked without patent s and copyrights. Leonardo da Vinci and Shakespeare, for example, did rather well without this sort of state privilege.

A Libertarian Critique of Intellectual Property is a major contribution to libertarian legal theory and an indispensable guide to a vital topic.

Fascism versus Capitalism

Tue, 26 Nov 2013 00:00:00 -0600

Fascism vs. Capitalism: The Central Ideological Conflict of Our Times“Fascism” has become a term of general derision and rebuke. It is tossed casually in the direction of anything a critic happens to dislike.But fascism is a real political and economic concept, not a stick with which to beat opponents arbitrarily. The abuse of this important word undermines its true value as a term referring to a very real phenomenon, and one whose spirit lives on even now.Fascism is a specific ideology based on the idea that the state is the ideal organization for realizing a society’s and an individual’s potential economically, socially, and even spiritually.The state, for the fascist, is the instrument by which the people’s common destiny is realized, and in which the potential for greatness is to be found. Individual rights, and the individual himself, are strictly subordinate to the state’s great and glorious goals for the nation. In foreign affairs, the fascist attitude is reflected in a belligerent chauvinism, a contempt for other peoples, and a society-wide reverence for soldiers and the martial virtues.Lew Rockwell examines the starkly contrasting systems of capitalism and fascism, noting pro-fascist trends in recent decades as well as the larger historical trends in the United States and internationally.In Section One, Rockwell focuses on the nature of fascism and its influence in Western society, with a focus on American political and economic institutions.In Section Two, Rockwell examines capitalism as the enemy of, and antidote to fascism.Combining economics, history, and political philosophy, this book doesn’t just provide a diagnosis of what ails American and Western society, but also sheds light on how we might repair the damage that has been done, and with the help of the intellectual work of great minds like Murray Rothbard and Ron Paul, we might as a society shed the fascism of our times and look to freedom instead.[...]

Where Lies This Fault?

Fri, 21 Jun 2013 00:00:00 -0500

In this 1967 essay, Leonard Read lays out what might best be termed a sociological study of libertarian activism.

Read attempts to identify different types of personalities and individuals who are likely to be amenable or resistant to the message of free markets and liberty.

Read then goes on to examine the proper methods of describing liberty and free markets. The proper approach, he explains is to have a proper appreciation for the true complexity of freedom and marketplace. Read describes this appreciation as a sort of “awe” which prevents the pro-freedom activist from reducing ideas about liberty to simplistic and unimpressive descriptions of the truly incomprehensible breadth of human ingenuity and creativity in a state of freedom.

Throughout this analysis, Read includes an admonition which he would later develop more fully in his 1973 essay, Instead of Violence. It is essential for the proponent of freedom and free markets to constantly seek better understanding first for himself, and to not be smugly impressed with his own supposed enlightenment and depth of knowledge. Such illusions are greatly damaging, Read explains, for one who is so pleased with himself is unlikely to gain any additional knowledge, or convincingly communicate what little knowledge he actually possesses.

Outlook for Freedom

Fri, 21 Jun 2013 00:00:00 -0500

Written in 1951, this is one of Leonard Read’s earliest pamphlets on what he called “the philosophy of freedom.”As was often the case in Read’s essays on spreading the message of liberty, Read notes that the first step is evaluating one’s own thinking.Communism and socialism, Read contends, are not ideologies that exist somewhere out there among foreigners and shady agents of conspiracy. In America, the ideas of communism and socialism are alive and well among the supporters of public schooling, social security, the post office, and other tools of the state.In the end, whoever contends that the use of force is the proper method to attain “social performance” is spreading the ideas of socialism and communism.He who wishes to spread ideas of freedom and free markets, Read explains, must first rid himself of his own socialistic thinking, and only then may he turn to spreading the ideas to others.But even then, the task at hand is a qualitative battle, and not one of numbers or of “setting straight the ‘millions who have votes,’” or educating “the man on the street.” Instead, the defender of liberty must educate himself, lead by example, and merely present evidence to those who, like us, are human beings with free will and ideas of their own.Others are beyond the dictation of the freedom activist, and cannot be coerced into agreement.Read outlines numerous principles of spreading liberty from humility to patience to possessing a spirit of inquiry.Writing in a time when central planning and Keynesian-style socialism were virtually unchallenged by intellectuals, Read sets out in this essay a recipe for success in spreading libertarian ideas.Yet, Read’s methods are not for the impatient or the know-it-all. This essay is an antidote to the faulty ideas that inflect many freedom activists who believe that if only the next election can go the “right” way or if people just do[...]

Natural Elites, Intellectuals, and the State

Tue, 28 May 2013 00:00:00 -0500

This monograph engages the long-running controversy about the origin of the state. Hoppe adopts the theory that extends from a Rothbardian view of the role of elites in society and their monopolistic tendencies. He further maps out a strategy for how the non-state-connected natural elites can turn back the tide of state-connected elites. It is a seminal contribution to the literature with a hopeful roadmap for the future.

24 pg. booklet


Theory of Money and Fiduciary Media

Wed, 13 Mar 2013 00:00:00 -0500

As the Federal Reserve and other central banks run wild, it’s time to reconsider a great work by Ludwig von Mises that is as fresh and relevant today as when it appeared a century ago.The first of Mises’s major works, Theory of Money and Credit was published in 1912 when Mises was barely 30 years old. To commemorate the centennial of this important work, the Mises Institute presents Theory of Money and Fiduciary Media: Essays in Celebration of the Centennial, edited by Jörg Guido Hülsmann. The title of this collection of new essays reflects a more accurate translation of Mises’s original title, Theorie des Geldes und der Umlaufsmittel.This new collection of thirteen original essays comes from a 2012 symposium at the Austrian Scholars Conference in Auburn, Alabama, and provides wide-ranging views and analysis. It features the latest from established Misesian scholars such as Hülsmann and Joseph Salerno along with fresh perspectives from young Misesians such as Philipp Bagus, Malavika Nair, and Matthew McCaffrey.Attacked and ignored in the years after its initial publication, Mises’s work on money has only gained influence in recent decades. His theories are still attacked by inflationists today. But Mises’s contribution cannot be ignored, and as noted by Hülsmann in the introduction, Mises’s work“opened up new areas for the future development of economic theory, most notably in the fields of economic calculation, business accounting, expectations, business cycles, currency competition, monetary interventionism, and monetary reform.”Within Theory of Money and Fiduciary Media: Essays in Celebration of the Centennial, the reader will find new insights on these many topics plus intellectual history and philosophy, while providing the reader with many insights that will no doubt be invaluable in understanding the economic crises of our own time.Contributors: i[...]

Give Me Liberty

Thu, 07 Mar 2013 00:00:00 -0600

Rose Wilder Lane in her youth supported the Russian Revolution, but a trip to Russia quickly dispelled her illusions. She realized that the mass politics of socialism necessarily suppressed individual freedom. America was founded on a different principle: individuals should take responsibility for their own lives. On this principle, America became the wealthiest of all nations and the hope of the world. The New Deal of 1933 struck against American individualism, substituting for it the tired collectivist programs of Europe. In Give Me Liberty, originally published in 1936, Lane called for a return to American individualism and a repudiation of the New Deal.

Awake For Freedom's Sake

Fri, 11 Jan 2013 00:00:00 -0600

“Progression or advancement never graces anyone who succumbs to the notion that he has arrived—“has it made,” as we say. This mortal moment, if seen aright, is featured by growth in awareness, perception consciousness, day in and day out. To act otherwise is to write one’s own death sentence-life’s high purpose abandoned. It is well to remember that “tall oaks from little acorns grow,” and that emerging, evolving man spawns from “ye that dwell in dust.” Let each of us confess that this is our dwelling. To “awake and sing” is the appropriate ambition!”

Deeper Than You Think

Fri, 11 Jan 2013 00:00:00 -0600

Leonard Read implores that “Truth is not to be found in coercive arrangements.” This work spans a wide array of topics from Egoism and Altruism to comparisons of macro and micro economics, and demonstrates Leonard Read’s legendary dynamism in his writing of literature. “Good societies grow out of a flourishing spirit of inquiry.”

Pursue the Cause of Liberty: A Farewell to Congress

Thu, 03 Jan 2013 00:00:00 -0600

This is Ron Paul's "Farewell to Congress" delivered on November 14, 2012. Yet this is not reminiscence of good times spent in the halls of power. Rather, in this booklet, you will find a devastating denunciation of the evils perpetrated by the Federal government and the "psychopathic authoritarians" who seek to swell its power, as well as a clarion call for what he calls an "intellectual awakening" and a return to freedom. Dr. Paul sums up and presents with strong conviction the principles he has held fast to during his entire career. Neither is this a "retirement speech". Rather this is a "goodbye to all that", as he kicks Washington's dirt off his feet, and enters what is sure to be the most productive period of his life. Fittingly, Lew Rockwell writes the introduction:

Ron is the anti-politician. He tells unfashionable truths, educates rather than flatters the public, and stands up for principle even when the whole world is arrayed against him. It’s Ron’s truth-telling and his urge to educate the public that should inspire us as we carry on into the future.

Why American History Is Not What They Say

Wed, 24 Oct 2012 00:00:00 -0500

Jeff Riggenbach's book is a godsend for anyone who needs a crash course in revisionist history of the United States. What is revisionism? It is the retelling of history from a point of view that differs from the mainstream, which always treats the victor (the state) as glorious and the conquered (individual liberty) as deserving of its fate.Obviously the libertarian telling of American history is going to be different. The state and its creations are not the heroes. The producers of capital, the average people, the voluntary society: these are the forces that make up civilization.There is a massive literature of revisionist American history. It is so vast, in fact, that people whose field is economics, law, or philosophy can feel intimidated by it all, especially since this material is not taught in class. Must we accept the idea that the architects of the Constitution loved liberty, that Lincoln was a liberator, that the United States had to crush Spain in the late 19th century, that World War I was unavoidable, that the U.S. was always the good guy in the Cold War?No, not at all, say the revisionists. They tell a version of events that turns every convention on its head. But there is yet another problem here: most of the major revisionist historians are writing from the point of view of the political left, and their interpretation is skewed by that bias. What Riggenbach does is offer a thoroughgoing critique of leftwing revisionism in favor of a distinctly libertarian form of revisionism.This book is a roundup of the major figures and the most important books; it is also a clear-headed assessment of all the major controversies. What you get from this one book is what would otherwise take a student months or years of searching in the library to locate and learn. Ther[...]

Triumph of Gold

Tue, 09 Oct 2012 00:00:00 -0500

Charles Rist explores the history of gold as a monetary standard in the United States as well as conventional misconceptions during and after its implementation in US monetary policy. This book contains many of his speeches, articles, and some personal reflections of this world-renowned monetary economist. Rist does a magnificent job of highlighting and debunking various fallacies regarding opposition to gold as a monetary standard. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in gold's history as money in the United States.

Principles of Ethics: Anthology

Wed, 29 Aug 2012 00:00:00 -0500

This two-volume treatise by the classic liberal political theorist and philosopher Herbert Spencer has been considered by many to be his most influential work. The full compilation of its parts lasted almost a half century from the early 1840s to its publication in 1898.

In this treatise, Spencer attempts to provide a basis for ethics built on principles of evolutionary biology. A wide array of topics are covered and explored involving conduct and the induction of ethics as well as justice, rights, and beneficence. This work is a crucial philosophical contribution to these and other subjects related to ethical conduct.

Organized Crime: The Unvarnished Truth About Government

Fri, 20 Jul 2012 00:00:00 -0500

Politics and thieves, coercion and regulation, fascism and the Fed, centralization and liberty, workers and unions, trade and freedom, free-market achievements and government disasters in American history — this book covers it all!Organized Crime collection of essays in the tradition of Austrian political economy—a combination of applied economics and the study of governmental reality. Unlike “mainstream” economists who are content to spin mathematical model after mathematical model which explain little or nothing about the real world, DiLorenzo’s focus has always been just the opposite—to use economic understanding to gain a better understanding of how the political-economic world works. Austrian economics is indispensable to succeed at this task.The book is divided into six sections: “Coercion and Regulation” analyzes various aspects of government regulation of business; “Politics and Thieves” is of course about the inherent nature of government; “Centralization versus Liberty” discusses the never-ending quest by statists to monopolize and centralize political power so as to isolate themselves as much as possible from public influence; “Money and the State” describes the myriad evils of central banking, which was always thought of by its original proponents in America as an engine of corruption; “Workers and Unions” discusses various labor union myths and superstitions that too often cloud the public’s thinking about the reality of labor markets; and “Truth and Lies about Markets” is a taxonomy of some of the main market-failure myths that have long been used to illegitimately advance the cause of economic interventionism, as well as some newer ones.In[...]

The Wizards of Ozymandias

Fri, 25 May 2012 00:00:00 -0500

Butler Shaffer has, over the course of several years, written 51 wonderful essays observing the dissolution of Western culture and civilization. They have been assembled in the The Wizards of Ozymandias a captivating work full of entertaining epigrams and anecdotes, as well as enlightening commentary on current events, and historical episodes, that will keep you engaged and immersed from the first to last page. Shaffer's intellectual prowess and deep well of life experience enlightens and rouses introspection at every turn. It is immediately evident that the author has been writing on law, economics, and history for decades. This book will challenge you to more deeply contemplate the ideals of liberty. The title may be foreboding, but for all that, the book is an uplifting and gratifying read.In his great poem "Ozymandias" Percy Shelley pictures for us the eponymous tyrant whose arrogance of power could not save him from historical oblivion. Ozymandias is a reminder of the fragile nature of every system—be it biological, institutional, or cosmic in character. As we are learning from the advanced course in history in which we seem now to be enrolled, this precariousness also applies to civilizations. It is difficult for intelligent minds to doubt that this current system is in the process of joining Ozymandias in the dust-bin of history.Western culture has produced material and spiritual values that have done so much to humanize and civilize mankind. Unfortunately, it has also produced highly-structured institutions and practices that not only impede, but reverse these life-enhancing qualities. Is it possible for us to energize our intelligence i[...]

War Collectivism

Wed, 16 May 2012 00:00:00 -0500

More than any other single period, World War I was the critical watershed for the American business system. It was a "war collectivism," a totally planned economy run largely by big-business interest through the instrumentality of the central government, which served as the model, the precedent, and the inspiration for state corporate capitalism for the remainder of the century.

Review of Austrian Economics, Full Collection

Wed, 09 May 2012 00:00:00 -0500

Murray Rothbard had long dreamed of an Austrian academic journal. In 1986, his dream came true. The Mises Institute published it, and it changed everything. The Austrians could focus on internal development, highlight the contrast with the mainstream, and show their wares to the profession and the world at large.

Rothbard was an exacting editor, and results are spectacular and historic.

The Review of Austrian Economics was founded and edited by Murray N. Rothbard and functioned as the premier Austrian School scholarly journal between 1987 and 1997. From 1995 to 1997, it was edited by Walter Block, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, and Joseph T. Salerno. This collection of volumes 1 through 10 was published by the Mises Institute.

The individual issues have been nearly impossible to find, until now. Today you can download the entire set, learn from the pioneering articles that Murray and his co-editors saw as crucial, and see what gave the modern Austrian movement its scholarly momentum.

Wed, 29 Feb 2012 00:00:00 -0600

This is the teacher's manual to accompany the student textbook, Lessons for the Young Economist.

The manual follows the student text very closely (the student text is needed separately, either in physical form or PDF). For each section within a chapter, the manual may give the historical context, clarify the relationship between what the student is learning from the text compared to a typical college textbook, warn about possible confusions the student may encounter, or give links for further reading for the teacher’s own edification (not necessarily to be assigned to the student).

In addition, this manual provides thorough answers to the study Questions found at the back of each Lesson in the student text. The manual also lists optional supplemental materials, such as free online videos, audio lectures, and readings, along with instructions as to their level of difficulty and relevance. The manual also provides sample tests and even suggested activities (ideal for homeschooling parents) to illustrate the concepts in each chapter.

The manual can be used by any teacher, but it is ideal for the homeschooling parent who needs guidance in developing a curriculum for the junior high student involving economics.

Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School

Wed, 15 Feb 2012 00:00:00 -0600

Here is the book to learn classical liberalism from the ground up, written by the foremost historian in the Austrian tradition — Ralph Raico. Every student, scholar, and freedom fan must have a copy of Classical Liberalism and the Austrian School at hand, readying them for intellectual battle!It is indeed rare to study directly under two giants of the Austrian School. Raico wrote his dissertation under the direction of F.A. Hayek at the University of Chicago after being admitted as a high school student to Ludwig von Mises’s NYU seminar in New York. Raico and his friend and fellow Mises seminar attendee, Murray Rothbard, would turn into the modern champions of true liberalism.Raico takes on all comers, disposing of all opponents of the market from Keynesians to Marxists and everyone in between, with crackling prose and sizzling wit. The liberal history comes alive with Raico’s pen, and at the same time quenches the reader’s thirst for detail, infusing an excitement that urges the reader to further explore.Raico’s breadth of scholarship is on full display, combining insights and arguments from disparate points. He provides clarity to a history that is often slanted and distorted. Multiple reference lists contained in the book will serve as a classical liberal treasure trove for students and scholars for decades to come.In his foreword, Austrian School scholar Jörg Guido Hülsmann, credits Raico with educating modern Germans about fellow countryman and forgotten liberal champion, Eugen Richter. Furthermore, the book’s pref[...]

Economics in One Lesson

Thu, 29 Dec 2011 00:00:00 -0600

Henry Hazlitt wrote this book following his stint at the New York Times as an editorialist. His hope was to reduce the whole teaching of economics to a few principles and explain them in ways that people would never forget. It worked. He relied on some stories by Bastiat and his own impeccable capacity for logical thinking and crystal-clear prose.

He was writing under the influence of Mises himself, of course, but he brought his own special gifts to the project. As just one example, this is the book that made the idea of the "broken window fallacy" so famous. Concise and instructive, it is also deceptively prescient and far-reaching in its efforts to dissemble economic fallacies that are so prevalent they have almost become a new orthodoxy.

This is the book to send to reporters, politicians, pastors, political activists, teachers, or anyone else who needs to know. It is probably the most important economics book ever written in the sense that it offers the greatest hope to educating everyone about the meaning of the science.

Many writers have attempted to beat this book as an introduction, but have never succeeded. Hazlitt's book remains the best. It's still the quickest way to learn how to think like an economist. And this is why it has been used in the best classrooms for more than sixty years.

The Pure Time-Preference Theory of Interest

Fri, 16 Dec 2011 00:00:00 -0600

It’s about time. Really! An entire book fleshing out the pure time-preference theory of interest has finally been assembled. The present crop of Keynesians play with interest rates believing they can create prosperity without a sound theoretical basis for how the market determines rates. It is the Austrian insight that present goods have a higher value than future goods, while the followers of Lord Keynes foolishly try to abolish human action.

Giants of the Austrian world have been assembled for the task, along with a fresh new introduction by Jeffrey Herbener. Rothbard, Mises, Garrison, Kirzner and Fetter systematically provide the underpinnings of a theory that, as Israel Kirzner writes, “for almost a century a particular theory of interest has been again and again discussed, refuted, defended, ignored, forgotten, and rediscovered; somehow it has managed to survive.”

Find out why!

From Douglas French’s foreword:

The following essays parse through the uniquely Austrian insight of the pure time-preference theory of interest, but more importantly go to the core of why modern central bank monetary engineering leaves the economy further from recovery while at the same time providing a Petri dish for speculation and malinvestment.

Mises on Money

Mon, 12 Dec 2011 00:00:00 -0600

Before Austrian economics came on the scene, monetary theory was a hodge-podge of disjointed insights. Nobody knew how to integrate those insights into a system, much less how to integrate monetary theory with the rest of economics.Carl Menger, founder of the Austrian School of economics, started to unravel the mystery of money in the late 19th century. Ludwig von Mises finally cut the Gordian knot with his first magnum opus, The Theory of Money and Credit (1912), the most important single advance in monetary theory in the history of economic thought.In that treatise, Mises erected a theory of money of astounding originality that was complete and internally integrated: as well as externally integrated with modern, subjectivist economics in general. With this book, Mises completed the victory of the "marginal revolution" by extending its conquest to the monetary realm. In doing so, Mises finally made economics whole. In his later treatise, Human Action, Mises developed his theory further, making it even more rigorous.While Mises's monetary writings should be required reading for any educated citizen, it can be challenging to parse some of the technical language. That is where Gary North comes in. In Mises on Money, Dr. North lucidly explains all the essential tenets of Mises's monetary theory, with his inimitable incisiveness and style. He methodically walks the reader through such topics as the origin of money, Mises's "regression theorem," frac[...]

The Costs of War: America's Pyrrhic Victories

Mon, 21 Nov 2011 00:00:00 -0600

This book is one of the most significant ever written by Denson. It contains essays that have been turned into major movies and documentaries, and influenced politics in ways no one could have expected. The thesis in brief: the warfare state is as great or greater threat to liberty than the welfare state. Lovers of freedom need to focus their energies in favor of peace and against war.

Further, there can be no reconciling freedom and empire.

The 2nd edition is expanded to include an additional essay on World War I by Ralph Raico and another by David Gordon on war propaganda. Other contributors include Murray N. Rothbard and Robert Higgs.

"An original and scholarly appraisal of America's wars and their consequences, The Costs of War is easily one of the most important books to emerge from American conservatives in a generation...." —Thomas Woods, Modern Age

"John Denson's The Costs of War offers a devastating critique of Washington's interventionist tendencies. The book, a series of conference papers, shows how, for instance, the Civil War sparked the federal government's (still ongoing) centralization of power and how World War I reflected the triumph of collectivism." —Doug Bandow, World

"This book is the most convincing attack on the warmongering state to appear since the end of the Second World War." —Gerard Radnitsky, Neuezuericher Zeitung.

Business Tides: The Newsweek Era of Henry Hazlitt

Wed, 26 Oct 2011 00:00:00 -0500

A lone voice of economic sanity in the United States after World War II was Henry Hazlitt, who had moved in 1946 from the New York Times editorial page to Newsweek magazine, where he wrote until the late 1960s. He wrote a column every week on the most important economic topic being discussed in politics and the media. Each column was about 800 words, and each taught a lesson using logic and evidence. His column was always a wonderful annoyance to the political class and a ray of bright light for freedom lovers everywhere.None of these columns has appeared in print since. Business Tides brings them all back to light in a gorgeous and easy-to-read format, arranged from the first to the last. The topics are the same ones that are in the news today: deficits, spending, tariffs and trade, inflation and the gold standard, wage and price controls, regulations, presidential intervention, stimulus and laissez-faire, and government spending on research.Reading this book is like getting your own personal guided tour of the economic history of the postwar world. It enlightens on every page. It is a kind of "live blog" of the entire period of history. Hazlitt's tone is always sober, stable, and fluid, with a timeless quality that impresses the reader with its logic and erudition. It appears on issue after issue, in every article without exception.Of course you can turn to any page and enjoy his commentary. But it is especi[...]

Capital in Disequilibrium

Wed, 03 Aug 2011 00:00:00 -0500

A theoretical treatise is a rare event, a moment to celebrate. This is what Peter Lewin has provided in his Capital in Disequilibrium. Taking capital seriously is a distinguishing mark of the Austrian School. The Austrians see capital as decisive in the wealth-formation process, not just a big homogenous blob but an enormously complex structure that is heterogeneous in ways that really matter. This is how it must be in a world of relentless change where every economic decision is a speculation about an unknown future.Professor Lewin provides an excellent summary of the contributions of Böhm-Bawerk, Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, and Lachmann, and goes on to apply their theory to modern macroeconomic understanding. The topics covered range from microeconomic issues of interest rates to macroeconomic issues of the business cycle. At every step, Lewin takes account of the real decisions of capital owners in a real world.In the years since its first publication, the world in which we live has become even more dynamic. The pace of change has accelerated. The "digital age" works its magic every day in the form of new products, new organizations, new production techniques, new modes of communication, and who knows what else. This increased dynamism has enhanced the relevance of the capital-based framework developed in this book.It is not possible to understand economic processes in a developed econo[...]

Study Guide to

Sat, 23 Jul 2011 00:00:00 -0500

Consider the timing of this wonderful study guide to the best book ever written on money and credit. The book itself was written 100 years ago. The world economy is in the throes of another financial and debt crisis. Keynesianism has completely failed. Fiat money has too. Above it all stands Mises's masterwork, laying out the whole correct theory of money: it should be sound, solid, and market controlled.Here is the guide to the book that still has a voice after 100 years, and that voice is stronger than ever. Mises wrote it as a warning against central banking, predicting that this institution would produce more instability than ever before — plus inflation, debt, and deep danger to the pillars of prosperity.He was right in every case.In this new guide, Robert Murphy takes the reader through Mises's book one chapter at a time. He provides summaries, points for discussion, and study questions, and he assesses the book in light of modern history.Most of all, Mises's book teaches the theory of money, and with Professor Murphy's guide, you will understand where money comes from, what it does, how it is managed in a market, and what government does to destroy it. Most people agree that this was not only a great book but perhaps the greatest monetary treatise ever written.The original book can, however, be intimidating and even scary. This guide opens i[...]