Category - Book

Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics

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 mammoth 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.

Pearl Harbor: The Story of the Secret War

George Morgenstern’s Pearl Harbor: The Story of the Secret War has to be one of the bravest books ever written. It’s a wonder it came out at all, but it did, in 1947, just as the war ended and FDR had died. It argues that the bombing was not unexpected, but provoked—and even wanted—by the administration as a “backdoor to the war” that FDR really desired as a means to rescue his presidency. This was not an unknown fact a few years earlier but the war victory led to a situation where it as considered unpatriotic and downright nasty to look back and say what was widely known only a few years earlier.Such is the way war scrambles people’s brains. Nonetheless, the book appeared and created an incredible frenzy of denunciation and hysteria; it has been the template for war revisionism ever...

Inequality and Progress

From the author: I believe that a service may be rendered by going back of various theories to certain fundamental facts of human nature and human development, and thus learning what may and what may not be taken for granted. Before social and political theories are constructed, primal truths concerning the constitution, inheritance, and differentiation of men should be recognized. It is often said that the historic sense should be cultivated by the leaders and reformers of society; that they should first understand the development of the nations through the centuries of history. It might also be said that the ethnologic and anthropologic sense should be cultivated. As knowledge of history, going back for a perspective, gives broader views which moderate expectation of sudden changes, so...

Roosevelt’s Road to Russia

From the author:
Randolph Bourne, one of the critical commentators of the Woodrow Wilson period, once wrote that war is like a wild elephant: it carries the rider where it desires, not where he may desire. Perhaps the historian predilected to spare Franklin D. Roosevelt an unfavorable judgment at the bar of history will find in this simile his best expedient for divesting Roosevelt of responsibility for the tragic epilogue which followed World War II. By conjuring up the vision of the savage beast uncontrollable by the man, one can reduce to irrelevancy the qualities of the man. In the psychological climate thus engendered, a bald assumption that the man’s intentions were virtuous, his motives pure, and his competence abundant becomes easy to propagate. History bows to a legend.

Frédéric Bastiat: A Man Alone

Bastiat struggled his entire life to teach economic truths to every living person. His legacy is monumental and speaks to us today as clearly as it did France in the 19th century. He would certainly be thrilled by this biography of his life by George Roche. It is written in the style of Bastiat, using evocative language and picturesque settings to describe the man who was Bastiat. He was at once a scientist and moralist who burned with a passionate desire to teach everyone about the blessings of economic liberty. Even on his deathbed he was writing his great treatise on his view of society and economy. There have been many attempts to write biographies of this man but this one stands above the rest for its sheer readability and for the way the book inspires the reader. It shows that...

Education in America

From the author: Increasing numbers of Americans express concern over the deterioration of modem society, accurately pinpointing various failings-social, political, and economic. Most of us are far better at discovering shortcomings than describing solutions. As the result, conversations on the American decline usually conclude with the following argument: Since society can be no better than the level of understanding displayed by its individual members, and since the individual’s understanding is based largely upon his educational experience, we can only arrest the national decline by “more education.” I do not fault the argument as far as it goes, but the specific definition of “more education” seems open to question. Much of what passes for...

The Ethics of US Monetary Policy in Response to the Financial Crisis of 2007-2009

In the ninety-six years since its founding, the U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) has never been so daring, aggressive, or ground-breaking in its policymaking as it has in response to the current financial crisis brought upon by the collapse of the U.S. housing market. The Fed has slashed the interest rates under its control to practically zero, provided funds more freely and lavishly than ever before to a greater range of financial institutions and players, in addition to expanding swap lines with other central banks in order to inject liquidity into U.S. dollar markets world-wide. Most extraordinarily, it came to the rescue of various companies whose bankruptcy was deemed to pose a threat to the entire financial system.

Praxeology and Understanding: An Analysis of the Controversy in Austrian Economics

George Selgin argues that what Mises called praxeology is ultimately rooted in a conception of economic logic that is undeniable and not subject to the claims of those who would extend the idea of “subjectivism” beyond its appropriate bounds. Contrary to the claims of hyper-subjectivists, some things can be known to be apodictically certain. This monograph was originally written in 1988, in the thick of a Methodenstreit within the Austrian School. The background here concerns the methodological claims of the so-called “radical subjectivists” who took the notion so far as to deny the very validity of universal economic laws. By asserting that the universe is “kaleidic” and that the future is “radically unknowable,”: some thinkers, Selgin...

Less Than Zero: The Case for a Falling Price Level in a Growing Economy

Not long ago, many economists were convinced that monetary policy should aim at achieving “full employment.” Those who looked upon monetary expansion as a way to eradicate almost all unemployment failed to appreciate that persistent unemployment is a nonmonetary or “natural” economic condition which no amount of monetary medicine can cure. Today most of us know better: both theory and experience have taught us that trying to hold unemployment below its “natural rate” through monetary expansion is like trying to relieve a hangover by having another drink: in both cases, the prescribed cure eventually makes the patient worse off. Heeding this “natural rate” perspective, several governments — including those of Great Britain, the US, Canada...

Immanent Politics, Participatory Democracy, and the Pursuit of Eudaimonia

Liberalism, and the market forces it has traditionally championed, helped to undermine and overthrow the old order of the status society which characterized human social existence from the dawn of history up until around the eighteenth century. The old order still continues to exist in some places in the world and is not entirely vanquished even in the West. Still, the liberal revolution that occurred around the time of the eighteenth century promised to usher in a new order, replacing the status society with the contractual society. This revolution achieved significant success that persists to this day.

Economics for Real People

The second edition of the fun and fascinating guide to the main ideas of the Austrian School of economics, written in sparkling prose especially for the non-economist. Gene Callahan shows that good economics isn’t about government planning or statistical models. It’s about human beings and the choices they make in the real world. This may be the most important book of its kind since Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson. Though written for the beginner, it has been justly praised by scholars too, including Israel Kirzner, Walter Block, and Peter Boettke. Gene Callahan is a software-technology professional in Connecticut, an adjunct scholar of the Mises Institute, and a commentator on economics issues in venues such as Marketplace and The Free Market. This is his first book...

Mises on Money

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...

Honest Money

Lots of people are harassed routinely by ministers and other believers who imagine that the Bible favors inflationary schemes, bans the paying and receiving of interest, and requires a government monopoly on money to fund glorious government projects to help people. This book by Gary North answers those views with chapter, verse, and an impressive account of the historical context for the Bible’s teachings on money, banking, commerce, and trade. Who knew that the Bible had so much to say about the issues of money and banking? The issue is a serious one because of the important history here and also because the Bible is such a foundational part of public understanding of every issue of public life and morality. You can search the libraries for weeks and not find a guide as good as Gary...

Gertrude Coogan’s Bluff: Greenback Populism as Conservative Economics

Gertrude Coogan is not a household name. She never was. But, because of recent political and economic events, her ideas are getting a hearing in conservative circles. This monograph is North’s attempt — in the phrase of B-Westerns in the late 1930s — to “head-off at the pass” the ideas of the 1880s Greenback Labor Party.

The Wild Wheel

No one, but no one, tells the story of the Ford Motor Company like Garet Garrett. He loved machines and technology, and the markets that create and distribute them. He loved the car and its transforming effect on society. And he lived through it all and knows what he is talking about. Here he sees Henry Ford for the genius that he was, as an entrepreneur who saw the possibilities and seized on them. He tells of how Ford faced and overcame incredible obstacles on his way to becoming one of the great capitalists of all time. Garrett doesn’t stop there. He chronicles Ford’s battles with the government and, in particular, the unions that ended up robbing the company and turning it to their own selfish ends. This was in the 1950s when he was writing, but he could see the future of...

The Driver

Here is a treasure in the history of the pro-capitalist novel. Garet Garrett, author of The People’s Pottage, tells the story of an upstart Wall Street speculator financier, Henry Galt, a shadowy figure who stays out of the limelight as much as possible until he unleashes a plan that had been years in the marking: he uses his extraordinary entrepreneurial talent to acquire control of a failing railroad. Through outstanding management sense, good pricing, excellent service, and overall business savvy, he out competes all the big names in the business, while making a fortune in the process. Garrett has a way of illustrating just what it takes to be a businessman of this sort, and how his mind alone becomes the source of a fantastic revenue stream. But his successes breed trouble. The...

The Cinder Buggy

Garet Garrett’s fiction deals with the social impact of economic transformations. In The Driver, he deals with railroads, while Satan’s Bushel examines agricultural. The Cinder Buggy, his second in the trilogy, is the longest of the three and his true epoch novel and unforgettable masterpiece. With a great story, and tremendous literary passion, it chronicles the transformation of America from the age of iron to the age of steel. It covers the period between 1820 and 1870 and its dramatic technology march. The plot concerns an ongoing war between two industrialists, one the hero who is beaten in the first generation and the other who is malevolent but initially wins a first round in the competitive drive. The struggle continues through the second generation, which leads to a...

The Bubble that Broke the World

What caused the stock-market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed? This book blows away the conventional interpretations, not only in its contents but that the book exists at all. The Bubble that Broke the World was written in 1931. Author Garet Garrett ascribes the crash to the pileup of debt, which in turn was made possible by the Federal Reserve’s printing machine. This created distortions in the production structure that cried out for correction. So what is the answer? Let the correction happen and learn from our mistakes. Such is the thesis of the great Garet Garrett. But take note: this book was a big seller in 1931. In other words, two years before FDR arrived with his destructive New Deal, ascribing the Depression to capitalism and speculation, Garrett had...

The Blue Wound

Who and What Really Started World War One
Who started World War One? That is the all-encompassing question that Garet Garrett asks in this classic book from 1921. The amazing thing about this book — apart from its insightfulness into what or who really started World War One, and Garrett’s knowledge of World history — are the astonishingly prescient predictions he makes about the impending rise of Japan and the resurgence of Germany — leading to even further conflicts.

The American Story

He was a defender of free enterprise who adored the magnificence of the American genius for progress. He was a champion of business who believed in profiting the old fashioned way. He was a libertarian who deplored the rise of big government. He was a constitutionalist who was aghast at how presidents and congresses shredded the document in times of economic crisis and war. He was the last of the great old-time liberals who opposed FDR’s welfare-warfare state. Above all else, he was a brilliant student of the American experience who could tell a story like no one else of his generation. Garet Garrett’s last book was his own retelling of American history, with a special focus on the technologies and people behind them that transformed life for average people, along with a...

The American Omen

Originally appeared serially as “The American Book of Wonder” in The Saturday Evening Post.
Writes Garrett:
Freedom as we know it is a condition of ego. Prosperity is a condition of things. Increase these satisfactions to any degree and there is still that knowledge of incompleteness which torments the spirit.

Satan’s Bushel

This dazzling work in economic fiction is the third of Garet Garrett’s novel trilogy, written and first published in 1924. Like the others, Satan’s Bushel is a splendid book, not just from the point of view of economics but also as a piece of literature. What is Satan’s Bushel? It is the last bushel that the farmer puts on the market that “breaks the price” — that is reduces it to the point that wheat farming is no longer profitable. The puzzle that afflicts the wheat farmers is that they sell their goods when the price is low and have no goods to sell when the price is high. Withholding goods from the market is one answer but why should any farmer do that? What is the answer to this problem? Working from this premise, then, as implausible as it may sound...

People’s Pottage

A time came when the only people who had ever been free began to ask: “What is freedom?” Who wrote its articles — the strong or the weak? Was it an absolute good? Could there be such a thing as unconditional freedom, short of anarchy? Given the answer to be “no,” then was freedom an eternal truth or a political formula? The three essays brought together in this book, entitled respectively, The Revolution Was, Ex America, and Rise of Empire, were first published as separate monographs by The Caxton Printers. They were written in that order, but at different times, as the eventful film unrolled itself. They are mainly descriptive. They purport to tell what it was happened and how it happened, from a point of view in which there is no sickly pretense of neutralism...

Ouroboros or the Mechanical Extension of Mankind

“One story of us is continuous. It is the story of our struggle to recapture the Garden of Eden, meaning by that a state of existence free from the doom of toil.”
Garrett explores the consequences of advancing technology and industrial capacity in this short but intriguing work. The author follows human progress through the centuries and the impacts of technological development on humanity’s way of life.

Harangue

The Trees Said to the Bramble Come Reign Over Us Garet Garrett wrote one last, and truly spectacular, novel called Harangue (The Trees Said to the Bramble Come Reign Over Us). The words are from the Bible (Judges 9:15, and the metaphor here refers to the strange penchant of the rich to fund socialism that kills the rich and consumes wealth. Garrett illustrates the strange tendency in a story of politics, economic folly, conspiracy, ideology, and violence. Published in 1926, it deals directly with the real-life attempt to create a Workers Paradise in the United States, in North Dakota from 1918 to 1921. The plot pits two socialist movements against each other in a battle for control. The I.W.W. was the American movement of Reds – socialist-‘anarchists’ who believed the violent...

A Time is Born

During an interlude of twenty-one years between two global wars Heaven swung low and then high again. When it was very low, seeming almost to touch the hill tops, the human race prepared to celebrate the death of poverty. In the whole world material well being advanced to an unexplored plane. If the contrasts that continued to exist were thought to be anywhere greater than before, that was an illusion owing to the fact that so much news of prosperity made people more conscious of disparities. Certainly in all civilized regions poor living was already better than good living had ever been for the fathers; and for those who had gained the heights there was mankind’s first view of the Land of Immeasurable Plenty. So far as they could see there was no longer any limit to the...

Tariff History of the United States

The Mises Institute has completely re-typeset F.W. Taussig’s definitive work on the tariffs of the 19th century in the United States, a history that in some sense is the most important ever written because it was so decisive in leading to the sectional conflict culminating in the Civil War. This book has never been surpassed as pure economic history. This might be the first new presentation of the book to appear in 100 years. It is not economic history as that phrase has come to be understood in recent years. It is more than a litany of facts and data manipulated with econometrics. This is super-charged, very interesting history of real people, institutions, and policies and their effects. Taussig shows how the tariff policies had an enormous influence on the direction of U.S. industrial...

The Political Economy of Monopoly

Business, Labor and Government Policies
Intended as a textbook, this is Fritz Machlup’s sophisticated — yet readily comprehensible — introduction to the subject at hand.

The Stock Market, Credit, and Capital Formation

Economist Fritz Machlup was an early Misesian who wrote this book as an early study in the workings of the business cycle. In particular, he investigates and explains the relationship between expanding credit, monetary policy, and rising stock prices. The German edition was written in 1929 and published in 1930, and proved prophetic in every way. The English edition came out in 1940, with some revisions. It remains the most thorough analysis of stock-market bubbles from the point of view of the Austrian School. It demonstrates that the business cycle can and does affect stock markets and in unusual ways.

International Trade and the National Income Multiplier

The Aims of this Book are threefold. One of the objectives is to reconsider those parts of the theories of international trade and capital movements which can be profitably analyzed with the technique of the money-income multiplier. Furthermore, an attempt is made to develop the multiplier technique in certain respects, applicable not merely to the theory of foreign trade but also to that of the trade cycle and to monetary problems in general. Lastly, the book has the pedagogic objective to present the multiplier pattern in so patient an exposition that it loses all the horrors which it still seems to hold for many, and becomes an easy tool which the student understands to handle with facility and care.

The Consumption of Capital in Austria

This article is based upon an address delivered at a meeting of the Boston Chapter of the American Statistical Association on 3 December 1934.
Machlup presents Austria as a case study in capital consumption and economic decline.

Social Economics

Friedrich von Wieser’s Social Economics holds a place in the literature of the Austrian School such as John Stuart Mill’s Political Economy holds in the literature of classical theory. It sums up, systematizes, and extends the doctrines developed by the founder of the school, the author, and his fellow workers.

A Tiger by the Tail

The Keynesian Legacy of Inflation F.A. Hayek said that his biggest regret in a lifetime of writing was that he never wrote a book-length refutation of Keynesian economics. He seriously doubted that Keynesian style planning would ever captivate governments, so he focused on different things. Economist Sudha Shenoy decided to rectify the problem. As a Hayek scholar, she noted that Hayek had in fact addressed Keynesian policy in scattered places throughout 40 years of writing. She decided to select the most poignant passages. She linked them all together with marvelous commentary and analysis. And voila! Here is the book on Keynesian economics that Hayek never wrote. It first came out in 1972, to wide acclaim. The Hayek parts are fantastic, of course. The surprise is the expert editing job...

The Mythology of Capital

Professor Knight’s crusade against the concept of the period of investment revives a controversy which attracted much attention thirty and forty years ago but was not satisfactorily settled at that time. In his attack he uses very similar arguments to those which Professor J.B. Clark employed then against Böhm-Bawerk. However, I am not concerned here with a defense of the details of the views of the latter. In my opinion the oversimplified form in which he (and Jevons before him) tried to incorporate the time element into the theory of capital prevented him from cutting himself finally loose from the misleading concept of capital as a definite “fund,” and is largely responsible for much of the confusion which exists on the subject; and I have full sympathy with those who...

Reflections on the Pure Theory of Money of Mr. J.M. Keynes

Introduction by Joseph T. Salerno: Friedrich A. Hayek was only thirty-two years old when he published this two-part article in Economica, at the time, the world’s leading English-language economics journal. The article is a review essay of John Maynard Keynes’s two-volume book, A Treatise on Money, published the previous year. Keynes, a generation senior to Hayek, was at the time the leading economist of the British Cambridge School and had already achieved world renown as a public intellectual. Keynes worked hard and long on his treatise, having written the first page six years before it was published. Keynes clearly intended the work to be his magnum opus, a dazzling leap forward in the theory of money based on “a novel means of approach to the fundamental problems of...

The Pure Theory of Capital

The greatest failing of non-Austrian theories of macroeconomics, it’s been said, is that they lack a robust theory of capital. F.A. Hayek sought to fill out the theory of the business cycle with an impenetrable one, and the result was this remarkable 1941 treatise. It took him many years to write. It is surely his most detailed work in economic theory. Appearing at the height of the Keynesian revolution, this treatise was sadly overlooked. Today it can be appreciated anew. It offers a detailed account of the equilibrium relationships between inputs and outputs in an economy, Hayek’s stated objective was to make capital theory—which had previously been devoted almost entirely to the explanation of interest rates—“useful for the analysis of the monetary phenomena of the real world.”...

Profits, Interest, and Investment

And Other Essays on the Theory of Industrial Fluctuations
The essays collected in this volume are a selection from the various attempts made to develop the outline of a theory of industrial fluctuations contained in two of Hayek’s books on Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle and Prices and Production.

Prices and Production and Other Works

Hayek was not only a leading champion of liberty in the 20th century. As this massive book reveals, he was also a great economist whose elaboration on monetary theory and the business cycle made him the leading foe of Keynesian theory and policy in the English-speaking world. Here his most important works are collected, re-typeset, indexed for the first time, and beautifully bound in a 536-page hardbound book for the ages. The theory here is the subject of a massively popular video rap song — one that was oddly accurate! However, to truly understand the nuts and bolts, there is no substitute for Hayek’s own works. Together they constitute a complete presentation of Hayekian money and business-cycle theory. Even more, they work together as an excellent elucidation of Austrian...

Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle

Published originally in 1929, Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle is the first essay Friedrich A. Hayek wrote. It serves as a primer into Hayek’s monetary and capital theories. In it, he takes the time to dismember opposing monetary theories of the trade cycle, discarding faulty analysis and maintaining sound foundations, as to lead to his own monetary theory of the trade cycle.
Hayek’s trade cycle theory is largely based on the headway made in capital theory by Wicksell and Böhm-Bawerk, and Ludwig von Mises’s spectacular insights on monetary theory (The Theory of Money and Credit), and was later further developed in Prices & Production, published in 1931.

Monetary Nationalism and International Stability

In five lectures delivered in 1937, Kayek “extended Mises’ monetary theory to provide a groundbreaking analysis of the international operation of the pure gold standard… the first comprehensive case against so-called freely fluctuating exchange rates.”

Intellectuals and Socialism

In all democratic countries, in the United States even more than elsewhere, a strong belief prevails that the influence of the intellectuals on politics is negligible. This is no doubt true of the power of intellectuals to make their peculiar opinions of the moment influence decisions, of the extent to which they can sway the popular vote on questions on which they differ from the current views of the masses. Yet over somewhat longer periods they have probably never exercised so great an influence as they do today in those countries. This power they wield by shaping public opinion. In the light of recent history it is somewhat curious that this decisive power of the professional secondhand dealers in ideas should not yet be more generally recognized. The political development of the...

Individualism and Economic Order

If you are looking to acquaint yourself with F.A. Hayek’s perspective on economic theory — beyond his business cycle and monetary studies of the inter-war years — this is the best source. The collection appeared in 1947, before he moved on toward broader cultural and social investigations. It contains his most profound work on the liberal economic order, and his most penetrating reflections on economic phenomena.

Denationalisation of Money: The Argument Refined

An Analysis of the Theory and Practice of Concurrent Currencies What if the government let anyone use a currency of his or her choosing? What if the government permitted entrepreneurs to innovate in the monetary sector, such as by creating digital currencies or minting commodity money? This is precisely what F.A. Hayek argues. By special arrangement with the Institute for Economic Affairs, the Mises Institute is pleased to offer a new printing of F.A. Hayek’s most radical case for the complete privatization of money: The Denationalisation of Money. He wrote this near the end of his career, after thinking through all the economic arguments for monetary reform and examining the political viability of various proposals. He shows the essential unviability of government money, and calls...

Collectivist Economic Planning

In 1920, Ludwig von Mises dropped a bombshell on the European economic world with his article called “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth.” It argued that socialism was impossible as an economic system. It set off two decades of debate, so by the time the essays appeared in English, in this very book here, in 1935, the debate was still raging. This volume edited by F.A. Hayek dug the knife into socialism’s heart unlike any book to ever appear. It contains essays by Mises along with a foreword and afterword by Hayek. It also contains more commentary by N.G. Pierson, George Halm, and Enrico Barone. It is exceptionally well edited and beautifully argued, and has not been in print for many years. The contents are nothing short of prophetic. The so-called...

Choice in Currency

A path-breaking essay by Hayek, newly in print in cooperation with the Institute of Economic Affairs, this piece first appeared in 1976, during an inflationary bout in the U.S.. Hayek saw that it was crucial to bring the forces of competition to bear in currency markets, not just between countries but within them as well. All people should be free to use any currency of their own choosing, even if that means rejecting the favored domestic one. This provides a check against inflation, permitting citizens to keep assets denominated in any unit. Governments, then, would have greater incentive avoid inflating because a depreciating unit would lead people to flee to other currencies. At least this would work as some check, and it would be a great improvement over the existing system in which...

A Free-Market Monetary System and The Pretense of Knowledge

Here are two of Hayek’s greatest essays in one volume. The book begins with Hayek’s most excellent essay on money. It is also his most radical. He plainly says that central banks cannot be reformed. There can never be sound money so long as they are in charge. He calls for their complete abolition, no compromises accepted. He wants the market in charge of money from top to bottom. His words predicting crisis followed by wild swings in valuation are up to the minute. He also relates the quality of money with the recurrence of crisis, showing an excellent application of Austrian theory. Hayek was deeply influenced by Mises, and this shows here in the area of money. The second essay is “The Pretense of Knowledge,” his shocking Nobel speech that explained why the very...

The Law

Bastiat’s​ timeless essay applies whenever and wherever the state assumes unto itself different rules and different laws from that by which it expects other people to live.
The question that Bastiat deals with: how to tell when a law is unjust or when the law maker has become a source of law breaking? When the law becomes a means of plunder it has lost its character of genuine law. When the law enforcer is permitted to do with others’ lives and property what would be illegal if the citizens did them, the law becomes perverted.

The Bastiat Collection

Claude Frédéric Bastiat was an economist and publicist of breathtaking intellectual energy and massive historical influence. He was born in Bayonne, France on June 29th, 1801. After the middle-class Revolution of 1830, Bastiat became politically active and was elected Justice of the Peace in 1831 and to the Council General (county-level assembly) in 1832. He was elected to the national legislative assembly after the French Revolution of 1848. Bastiat was inspired by and routinely corresponded with Richard Cobden and the English Anti-Corn Law League and worked with free-trade associations in France. Bastiat wrote sporadically starting in the 1830s, but in 1844 he launched his amazing publishing career when an article on the effects of protectionism on the French and English people was...

The State: Its History and Development Viewed Sociologically

This is the 1908 book that started it all in the 20th century, the book that kicked off a century of anti-state, pro-property writing. This was the prototype for Nock’s writing, for Chodorov’s work, and even the theoretical edifice that later became Rothbardianism. Indeed, Franz Oppenheimer wrote what remains one of the most bracing and stimulating volumes in the history of political philosophy. The author sought to overthrow centuries of fallacious thinking on the subject of the state’s origin, nature, and purpose, put its it place a view of the state that constitutes a foundational attack on the structure of modern society. He utterly demolishes the social-contract view of the state as it had been advanced by most thinkers since the Enlightenment. He seeks to replace...

The Logic of Law

‘Law’, in the sense in which I shall use the word here, denotes an order of persons.1Within this general concept, we can distinguish between natural orders and artificial orders. Natural order, that is natural law, is the order of natural persons. Artificial order, often referred to as positive law, is an order of artificial persons. In the terminology of Rousseau, natural persons are physical persons (‘personnes physiques’), while artificial persons are legal persons (‘personnes morales’).2 Artificial persons are positions, roles or functions in a system of rules, which defines a particular game, organization or society. The rules of the game or society tell us what those artificial persons are, and what they can and cannot do. Examples are White and Black in a game of chess as well as...

Dead End Street Blues

Back in the nineteen-seventies, inflation and unemployment were rapidly increasing together in the Western world, although according to the then ruling Keynesian priesthood they would never do so. By the end of the decade, the proudly proclaimed ability of the Keynesians to fine-tune the economy was shown to be a sham. Their performance records varied from country to country but the overall picture was bleak. Their technocratic macroeconomic management had delivered high levels of public spending, taxation, public debt, inflation, unemployment and bureaucracy and little else.1 As the size of government expanded, the productive sectors of the economy contracted. It became clear to almost everybody that the Keynesian orthodoxy was if not a road to serfdom then certainly a dead end street.

Argumentation Ethics and the Philosophy of Freedom

In justificatory argumentation two or more persons seek to justify or to excuse a belief or action, to determine whether it is a belief one ought to accept (or to reject) or an action one ought to undertake (or to forgo), or whether the circumstances of the case present sufficient reasons (e.g., necessity, duress, compulsion, coercion, manipulation) for excusing a person for believing or doing something that is contrary to right. Philosophers, scientists, and lawyers regularly and publicly engage in such argumentations. In fact, most people do the same at least occasionally, albeit in private, at home, at work, in clubs and barrooms.

Exchange, Prices, and Production in Hyper-Inflation: Germany 1920-1923

This large-scale study of the German hyper-inflation is definitive in the English language. Written by a professor at Princeton University, and published in 1930, Frank Graham’s treatment was so accurate and incisive that Ludwig von Mises himself recommended it time and again. It’s contribution is to explain the plight and fate of business under one of the 20th century’s most egregious inflations. The book begins with clarity about cause and effect. “Germany, in common with other warring countries, departed from the gold standard at the outbreak of hostilities in 1914. On November 20, 1923, the German paper mark, after having fallen to an infinitesimal fraction of its former value, was made redeemable in the newly introduced rentenmark at a trillion to one.”...

The Rise and Fall of Society

Frank Chodorov adored the work of Albert Jay Nock, particularly Nock’s writings on the State. And so Chodorov set out to do something implausible: to rework the Nock book in his own style. Rothbard wrote of this book: “Frank’s final flowering was his last ideological testament, the brilliantly written The Rise and Fall of Society, published in 1959, at the age of 72.” One reason it was overlooked is that it appeared after the takeover of the American right by statists and warmongers. The Old Right, of which Chodorov was a last survivor, had died out, so there was no one to promote this work. It is amazing that it was published at all. But thank goodness it was! For a book so overlooked, the reader will be surprised to find that it might be Chodorov’s best...

Out of Step

Frank Chodorov was a journalist of the Old Right with an extraordinary writing ability. He was also a top-notch intellectual figure who has been tragically neglected. This collection might be his best. Among the smashing essays here are: “Isolationism,” which is his defense of the great American tradition (if you have hesitated to call yourself one, you might change your mind), his classic “Don’t Buy Government Bonds,” his tribute to Westerns, his powerful essays against those who say that the New Testament endorses communism (sounds crazy but…), his blast at the New Deal, his tribute to the peddler, and so much more. His writing is leagues above most of what passes for political writing today. Bring back Frank Chodorov!

One Is a Crowd

This is a treasure: One Is a Crowd. It collects Frank Chodorov’s most profound essays on the topic of individualism, many of which have otherwise been unjustly lost to history. The reader will be riveted by his biographical essay on the meaning of his own Jewishness to his life and beliefs. His piece on what educational institutions should do is unforgettable. When an essay from this book on the American Revolution hit Mises.org, it soared up as one of the most widely read pieces in the history of Mises.org. “The Americans, however, insisted that in the nature of things all rights inhere in the individual, by virtue of his existence, and that he instituted government for the sole purpose of preventing one citizen from violating the rights of another. Sovereign power, they...

Income Tax: The Root of All Evil

Frank Chodorov was an extraordinary thinker and writer, and hugely influential in the 1950s. He wrote what became an American classic arguing that the income tax, more than any other legislative change in American history, made it possible to violate individual rights, one of the founding principles.
He argues that income taxes are different from other forms because they deny the right of private property and presume government control over all things. The introduction is by former IRS commissioner J. Bracken Lee.

The Principles of Economics, With Applications to Practical Problems

Frank Fetter’s 1904 treatise, Principles of Economics, virtually impossible to find prior to this online edition, constructed a general theory of economics in the Austrian tradition that went unsurpassed until Ludwig von Mises’s treatise of 1940, Nationaloekonomie. Yet Fetter, an American Austrian long before the inter-war migration from Austria, has not received due recognition for his many contributions to the tradition. Using the axiomatic-deductive method, he traced economic laws to individual human action, and demonstrated that just as the price of each consumer good is determined solely by subjective value, the rate of interest is determined solely by time preference. The rental price of each producer good is imputed to it by entrepreneurial demand and is equal to its...

Modern Economic Problems

The present volume deals with various specific problems in economics.
Fetter was the first economist to develop a complete statement of the pure time preference theory of interest, and he revolutionized the theory of rent which had been developed by David Ricardo and the classical economists and was still accepted by economists 100 years later.

Economic Principles

Frank A. Fetter was a leading American follower of Carl Menger and the early Austrians. He was the first economist to develop a complete statement of the pure time preference theory of interest, and he revolutionized the theory of rent which had been developed by David Ricardo and the classical economists and was still accepted by economists 100 years later.
Both Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard were heavily influenced by Fetter’s writings. Economic Principles is the culmination of Fetter’s work and provides a complete and systematic exposition of economic theory based on the Austrian subjective-value approach. Murray Rothbard mentioned it as one of the great economics treatises written before the First World War.

Capital, Interest, and Rent: Essays in the Theory of Distribution

Frank Fetter of Princeton University was one of the great American Austrians, and perhaps the most lucid defender of the “pure time preference” theory of interest in the history of economic ideas.
Rothbard learned from him, and then collected his best work into a single volume that works as a reader on the Austrian theory of capital and interest. If we are tempted to think of the Austrian perspective as a tiny minority within the profession, this volume shows that the situation has always been more complex. Fetter was not an Austrian from beginning to end, but on this topic, no one wrote with more conviction and explanatory power.
The English is beautiful, and logic is rigorous. With this reprint, Fetter again has a voice.

How Diplomats Make War

Francis Neilson (1867–1961) was a member of the British Parliament, one of the last truly educated British aristocrats, a colleague and friend of Albert Jay Nock’s, and an amazing historian and stylist. He is also the author of this historic book, the first truly revisionist account of the origins of World War I to appear in English. It was published only six weeks after he resigned from Parliament. It blasted onto the scene in 1915, at a time when such talk would soon be against the law in the United States (yes, people went to jail for opposing the war). Neilson’s thesis was that Germany didn’t bear some unique guilt for the war; there was plenty of blame to go around, but ultimately its rests with the arms buildup and secret diplomacy of Britain. His reconstruction of...

Essentials of Economics

A Brief Survey of Principles and Policies Faustino Ballvé was a remarkable thinker and economist, educated in Spain and England and teaching and practicing law in Mexico City. He was there when Ludwig von Mises came to speak on a lecture tour. The talks that Ballvé heard sparked a new intellectual energy in him. He carried on a long correspondence with Mises himself, checking his education from graduate school against Mises’s views. They became good friends. The result of his studies and correspondence was this splendid book, which really ought to be considered a classic. It was published first in 1956, and had a massive impact in Latin America. It was translated and published in English in 1965, and went into many other foreign translations. The language is elegant and principles...

Why Wages Rise

From Harper’s Introduction:
Wages are of prime importance in any advanced economy such as ours. They affect us all far more than seems evidenced in our concern about them.
I shall deal with the wage problem in a manner that may seem oversimplified. Basic principles always have a way of seeming simple. Yet if they be principles, they can no more be oversimplified than can the law of gravity or the listing of chemical elements be oversimplified. What is needed in our complex society of millions of products sold by millions of business units to over a hundred million traders through billions of transactions each year is to get back to simple economic principles. These are working tools for solving problems that seem more complex than they really are.

The Writings of F. A. Harper, Volume 1: The Major Works

From the Introduction by Paul Poirot:
In these collected writings of F. A. Harper, concerned with liberty in the broadest sense, are to be found some of his conclusions. But the reader will also find throughout his works a series of carefully directed questions. For as Judge Learned Hand observed, “The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.” I believe that is the spirit in which Baldy would have us pursue his search-a never ending search for the truth about liberty.

Liberty: A Path to Its Recovery

F.A. Harper was a leader in the libertarian movement from the 1950s and onward. Here is his early manifesto (1949), in which he reveals a sophisticated understanding of free markets and freedom but had not yet, as he later did, come around completely to the Rothbardian view on the possibilities of society without the state. Nonetheless, this is an important and beautiful book that shows Harper for the intellectual powerhouse that he truly was.

We

“[Zamyatin’s] intuitive grasp of the irrational side of totalitarianism — human sacrifice, cruelty as an end in itself — makes [We] superior to Huxley’s [Brave New World].” —George Orwell An inspiration for George Orwell’s 1984 and a precursor to the work of Philip K. Dick, Ayn Rand (Anthem), and Stanislaw Lem, We is a classic of dystopian science fiction ripe for rediscovery. Written in 1921 by the Russian revolutionary Yevgeny Zamyatin, this story of the thirtieth century is set in the One State, a society where all live for the collective good and individual freedom does not exist. Although fiction, it is a story informed by the war communism of the Soviet Union, and was of course completely banned in Russia. But the collectivism is of a recognizable type, one that threatens every...

The Viennese School of Economics: A History of its Ideas, Proponents, and Institutions

The Viennese School, working on the assumption of the individual as the essential economic agent, and subsequently centering its research on individual preferences and on the intersubjective balancing of these preferences in the context of markets, consistently pointed out that institutions such as money, states and markets had emerged without any planning, central purpose or force, but simply on the basis of human interactions, in a way that befitted both humans and human logic and was therefore natural, as it were. Of course, this basic insight got in the way of all those political and economic ideologies, which viewed such institutions as operational areas for establishing or developing authoritarian activities and which aimed specifically at influencing or even controlling the...

The Austrian School of Economics: A History of Its Ideas, Ambassadors, and Institutions

The Austrian School is in the news as never before. It is discussed on business pages, academic journals, and speeches by public figures. At long last, there is a brilliant and engaging guide to the history, ideas, and institutions of the Austrian School of economics. It is written by two Austrian intellectuals who have gone to the sources themselves to provide a completely new look at the tradition and what it means for the future. This is the first such authoritative book that has appeared on this topic. The Austrian School of Economics: A History of Its Ideas, Ambassadors, and Institutions, by Eugen Maria Schulak and Herbert Unterköfler appeared first in German. It has been a sensation: the first and most authoritative source on this hot topic. This new English translation by Arlene...

The Positive Theory of Capital

This is the second book in the series of Böhm-Bawerk translations by Scottish economist William Smart, originally published in 1891. It is, as the title suggests, the positive theory of capital. It begins with full front matter by Smart himself, and then we come to book one: The Nature and Conception of Capital. Six sections follow: Capital as an Instrument of Production, Value, Price, Present and Future, The Source of Interest, The Rate of Interest, and finally a rich and detailed index. It follows the author’s legendary method of systematically thinking and clear exposition to present what is called today the time-preference theory of interest, that is to say, that the passage of time and the preference for the present over the future are the necessary and sufficient conditions...

Recent Literature on Interest

This book by Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk is a supplement to his two great books, Capital and Interest and The Positive Theory of Capital. Here he takes on alternatives to the Austrian theory he had previously presented, and thereby clarifies the case. It is an excellent illustration of the economist’s stunning patience and capacity for thorough exposition. It begins with an introduction by the historian of thought William A. Scott, who praises these essays to the skies. Boehm-Bawerk then takes on a number of new competitors to the Austrian theory: The agio theory, use theories, the abstinence theory, the labor theory, the productivity theory, the exploitation theory, and the eclectics. It’s incredible, by the way, how each of these theories continues to be “discovered”...

Karl Marx and the Close of His System

The great economist takes on Karl Marx, and his fundamental failure to understand the workings of the capital market and its relationship to value. The criticism was devastating, so much so that a leading Marxist responded, and thus herein is Rudolf Hilferding’s response. It is very weak, as you will undoubtedly notice.
The book is introduced by the socialist Paul Sweezy, and he too tries to rescue the Marxists from the corner into which Böhm-Bawerk drives them. So this book makes for great drama, and it is a pleasure to see the Austrian come out on top despite every effort by the compiler of the book to prevent it.

Control or Economic Law

Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk was the student of Carl Menger and the teacher of Ludwig von Mises. Like Menger, he rejected the contention of the Historical School that there were no universally valid laws of economics. In this incisive essay, first published a few months after his passing, in December 1914, he criticizes the claim that the state has the ability to secure a prosperous economy in sovereign disregard of economic laws.

Pictures of the Socialistic Future

Written in 1893, it is a novel of life under socialism by Eugene Richter, a German liberal of the 19th century. Prophetic is not quite the word for this book. Richter saw with chilling clarity what would happen under socialistic control. The economy would be smashed. Families would be destroyed. The population would grow poorer by the day. The state would be unleashed to crush political dissent and lock everyone into a national prison. None of the ideals would be achieved. The novel’s narrative voice, however, is blinded by ideological loyalty to the cause. As he describes the calamity, he justifies it all in the name of progress, equality, and fairness to all. The reader, then, experiences the horrors of the events and then also the horrors of the intellectual twists and turns that...

The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude

States are more vulnerable than people think. They can collapse in an instant—when consent is withdrawn. This is the thesis of this thrilling book. Murray Rothbard writes a classic introduction to one of the great political essays in the history of ideas. In times when dictators the world over are falling from pressure from their own people, this book, written nearly 500 years ago, is truly the prophetic tract of our times. Étienne de La Boétie was born in Sarlat, in the Périgord region of southwest France, in 1530, to an aristocratic family, and became a dear friend of Michel de Montaigne. But he ought to be remembered for this astonishingly important essay, one of the greatest in the history of political thought. It will shake the way you think of the state. His thesis and argument...

The Menace of the Herd, or Procrustes at Large

This exceeding rare book is by one of the great men of the 20th century. Written soon after his immigration to the United States, he signed the book “Francis Stuart Campbell” because he was a refugee from Austria and didn’t want to endanger them. The contents: a relentless attack on the idea of mass government based on the egalitarian ethic, and its tendency toward the total state of Stalin and Hitler. And yet there is more here, more than can possibly be recounted in a paragraph. The author was a remarkable 19th-century-style liberal intellectual, startling in his erudition and wisdom. A bit disorganized, perhaps, and not as friendly to the market as it might be but a book overflowing with insight into the ancient, medieval, and modern worlds. To read him is to...

Liberty or Equality: The Challenge of Our Time

Sometime in the 18th century, the word equality gained ground as a political ideal, but the idea was always vague. In this treatise, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn argues that it reduced to one simple and very dangerous idea: equality of political power as embodied in democracy. He marshals the strongest possible case that democratic equality is the very basis not of liberty, as is commonly believed, but the total state. He uses national socialism as his prime example. He further argues the old notion of government by law is upheld in old monarchies, restrained by a noble elite. Aristocracy, not democracy, gave us liberty. On his side in this argument, he includes the whole of the old liberal tradition, and offers overwhelming evidence for his case. In our times, war and totalitarianism do...

Leftism: From de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse

Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn gives us in Leftism a remarkable defense of classical liberal and libertarian thought, based on his enormous learning in the twenty languages he could read. Kuehnelt-Leddihn, an Austrian aristocrat, became in his long career after World War I a historian and world traveler. His lectures often brought him to the United States, and he spoke several times at the Mises Institute. He and Mises were friends, and he praised Hans-Hermann Hoppe as a “brilliant thinker.” Like Hans Hoppe, Kuehnelt-Leddihn saw a fundamental opposition between democracy and liberty. The Left seeks to eradicate all distinctions, and to do so it must suppress liberty. Democracy is not liberty’s friend, but rather its enemy, because it opposes efforts by individuals to set themselves above the...

Socialism and International Economic Order

This extraordinary book by Elisabeth Tamedly, as scholarly as it is passionate, argues that socialism, despite its internationalist aspirations, is not capable of accomplishing stable international peace and order. If we postulate a true democracy, society is to be built not on centralization, but on federalism and decentralized decision making much as Proudhon had outlined it a century ago. But it is impossible to realize this political order without its economic counterpart: a free market economy based on competition. It was first published in 1969 but has long been unavailable.

Money and Man

A Survey of Monetary Experience
Elgin Groseclose presents this history of people’s experiences with money through the centuries:
I would propose no greater service to the profession and to the country than that monetary economists begin a revision of their concepts of money, to draw a distinction between the attributes of money and its substance and to give recognition to the mysterious and awesome force of moral integrity in its management.

America’s Money Machine: The Story of the Federal Reserve

Elgin Groseclose, an eminent monetary economist in the 20th-century, rips the roof off the Federal Reserve in this wonderful history that takes us from the Fed’s founding to the 1960s. He shows that the gap between the promise and the reality is shockingly massive, so much so that the Federal Reserve must be considered one of the greatest failures in the history of public policy. Grosecloses’s treatise on the subject contains research unavailable anywhere else. He was meticulous, having spent many years culling through the archives of every institution and person involved with Fed decision making. In case after case, he chronicles the policy failure, and the relentless decline in money’s quality from the Fed’s inception and forward. Groseclose is a case of a major...

Gold and the Gold Standard: The Story of Gold Money, Past, Present, and Future

Edwin Walter Kemmerer is one of the unsung heroes of the 20th century. A professor of economics at Princeton, he was known as the “money doctor” between the wars, helping countries to establish and maintain strong currencies between 1923 and 1933. He was a firm advocate of the gold standard, writing in the classical and Misesian tradition. He favored hard money with convertibility domestic and international. This is his major treatise: Gold and the Gold Standard: The Story of Gold Money, Past, Present, and Future. He reviews the history of gold and its outstanding merit as a currency. Writing in 1944, he presented a plan that would have saved the entire world from hyperinflation and the booms and busts we’ve experienced for 50 years. It was really Kemmerer vs. Keynes in...

The Monetary Powers and Disabilities of the U.S. Constitution

The chief mechanism of inflation today is the ability of the Federal Reserve System to generate an endless stream of paper currency that: (i) is purportedly legal tender for all debts, public and private: and (ii) is not redeemable in gold, silver coin, or bullion. Amazingly, the supposed authority of Congress, under the Constitution, itself to issue irredeemable, legal-tender paper currency, or to delegate such a power to the Federal Reserve System, finds no basis in either the Constitution or even in any decision of the United States Supreme Court. Indeed, no challenge to these assumed powers has ever come to the Supreme Court for adjudication, let alone been adjudicated! This study, prepared for the United States Gold Commission by Edwin Vieira, Jr., investigates what monetary powers...

Money: Its Connection with Rising and Falling Prices

To endeavor to acquire some clear notion of what makes the value of money change has become the duty of all who think themselves capable of expressing useful opinions on economic affairs. The following pages embody an attempt to assist in this task. They do not profess to be exhaustive: investigation of the past and discussion of schemes for the future have both been sacrificed in order that space might be gained for treatment of the present.

The Political Economy of William Graham Sumner: A Study in the History of Free-Enterprise Ideas

From the author:
The following is a study in the history of free enterprise ideas. Specifically it presents the political economy of William Graham Sumner, highlighting the ideas and analysis that mark his contribution to economic thought, and make him an interesting figure in this field. In the study, we will concentrate on his early writings, notably the short papers, speeches and pamphlets which he wrote between 1873 and 1895, and not on the famous Science of Society which is a-jointly authored work that cannot, unfortunately, be identified solely as Sumner’s

A Critique of Neoclassical and Austrian Monopoly Theory

One of the most controversial areas in Austrian economics, and one where even long-established Austrian theorists differ sharply, is monopoly theory. Indeed, as we shall see below, the differences are not merely semantic, nor are they confined to detail or some minor theoretical implication. Rather, there are major and fundamental disagreements between some of the leading Austrians, and these disagreements are created by wholly different theories concerning the definition of monopoly, the origins of monopoly, and the supposed effects of monopoly on consumer sovereignty and efficient resource allocation.

Unity and Integration in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged

In Atlas Shrugged (1957), Ayn Rand presents her original, brilliant, and controversial philosophy of Objectivism in dramatized form. More than a great novel, it expounds a radically new philosophy with amazing clarity. Atlas Shrugged presents an integrated and all-embracing perspective of man and man’s relationship to the world and manifests the essentials of an entire philosophical system—metaphysics, epistemology, politics, and ethics. Atlas Shrugged embodies Objectivism in the actions of the story’s heroes.

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