A LITERATURE OF FREEDOM
NOVEMBER 01, 1978 by JOHN CHAMBERLAIN
Besides The Freeman and its articles, The Foundation for Economic Education publishes or otherwise stocks for resale a number of books of other publishers concerning the free market, private property, limited government concepts and the moral and spiritual principles underlying freedom. These titles and prices are listed in an annual catalogue order form distributed with the November issue of Notes from FEE. Additional copies of that catalogue are available on request.
Several readers have asked for more descriptive reviews of these books than the catalogue affords; hence, the following abstracts.
This list by no means includes all the authors or books worth studying in the field, but it will suggest the various areas and ideas on liberty to be further explored.
Essentials of Economics
This is a primer of economics for the intelligent layman by a great Spanish authority. It deals lucidly with the basic concepts of economics and puts economic thought into historical perspective. It is a positive presentation of the principles of economics.
It has been the great work of economics to discover the natural harmony that results when men are free to pursue their interests in their own way and prevented from using force and fraud. By contrast, socialists find discord, disharmony, and exploitation when men are free. Bastiat reaffirms and reasserts harmony in this his most extensive exposition of economics.
This is Bastiat’s most delightful book. It is devoted almost entirely to exposing the fallacies of protectionism and associated policies. His method is the logical extension of their ideas to the point that their absurdities become apparent. Bastiat bemoaned the necessity of going deep, but his writings are so luminous that the reader can stand safely on the shore and survey the depths.
The law, it has been said, is nothing more than the will of tyrants. So it has been many times in history. But just laws depend upon a law which underlies the law passed by legislatures or declared by rulers. It is a law which provides the framework of liberty. Emancipation from the doleful theories of the compulsive state awaits discerning readers of this brief treatise.
Selected Essays on Political Economy
The discovery of economics by Bastiat conferred a great boon on the world. For through him a delightful way was provided for every literate person to discover economics. It was Bastiat’s insight that all schemes of government intervention are more than somewhat ridiculous. It was his gift to present them in such a framework that others could see them in the same light. His essays on political economy hold the state up to the bright glare of the light in such a way that none who have read it should ever again be fooled by the fraudulent claims of the benefits of the use of political power.
BOHM BAWERK, EUGEN VON
Capital and Interest
Anyone interested in being "present at the creation" of the modern structure of economics, even vicariously, will find it exciting to read Böhm Bawerk’s studies. He may have been moved to some extent by his desire to refute the socialists, but it was even more important to him to get economics on a solid foundation. His lucid explanations may make it appear that the task was easy, but in this massive work, he was struggling manfully to nail the edifice of economics to a foundation that would hold it in place.
The Exploitation Theory of Socialism Communism
The Labor Theory of Value was the foundation of Karl Marx’s theory of exploitation, as well as that of many other socialists. Böhm Bawerk here subjects the theory to careful analysis and exposes its fallacies. The impact of this demonstration is to cut the foundation from under Marxism.
Value and Price
Marx claimed that the price goods bring is determined by the labor that goes into making them available. The Austrians developed a counter theory to that of Marx. Value was their crucial concept in this theory. In this extract from a larger work, Böhm Bawerk makes the seminal formulation of what he called "the subjective theory of value." By way of this theory, the buyer in the market place assumes his important role in determining price.
BROWN, SUSAN LOVE and others. The Incredible Bread Machine
Most history textbooks are filled with bias against private enterprise, and in favor of government intervention. A group of young people assembled materials that counter that bias. In clear and provocative language they have described the doleful impact of government intervention in the economy. They have, by so doing, uttered an articulate cry for freedom. The young may have their eyes opened by reading it; older readers may find hope in the appearance of such thoughtful young writers.
CARSON, CLARENCE B.
The American Tradition
Is the libertarian position incompatible with conservatism? Somewhere, perhaps, but in the United States, NO! This becomes clear in this careful and illuminating work on the American tradition. In the United States, a great tradition took shape that was protective of and in harmony with liberty. This book describes, too, how the tradition has been distorted and is being undermined.
The Fateful Turn from Individualism to Collectivism
Most histories ascribe the massive government intervention of the 20th century to changing circumstances. In this path breaking work, Clarence Carson shows that it was changing ideas which really underlay the movement. The case for individual liberty is set in a philosophical framework freed from materialism and determinism.
The Flight from Reality
We live in a world of cause and effect. Predictable consequences follow from actions because there is an order in the universe that makes it so. Reformist intellectuals have emerged in our era who ignore this order, and this enables them to visualize a new order of their own creation. The result is spreading disorder, with tyranny in the wings. Theirs is the flight from reality.
The Rebirth of Liberty
Liberty has been all too often stillborn in the revolutions of our era. The promises of freedom were but deceitful allure from would be tyrants. One revolution was different, however; it was the American Revolution. How the promise was turned into reality is the subject of this contemporary study of the great men and events of that revolt by Americans from English rule.
Throttling the Railroads
The railroads drew the American people into an economic union. Even before they had succeeded in doing that, however, governments began preying upon them, regulating, disrupting, and inhibiting their activities. This book tells the story of that regulation and its debilitating impact on a once great industry.
The Enterprising Americans
Those who are used to seeing American business pilloried for its warts will be pleasantly surprised—and relieved—by this study. True, businessmen have faults, even as do the rest of us. But they deserve to have their achievements memorialized without ideological bias. John Chamberlain has performed this service admirably and in accord with the canons of good scholarship.
The Roots of Capitalism
The connection between economic thought and practice is a vital one. In similar manner, the precondition of private property to the effective use of capital is essential. Chamberlain has woven these and other threads together to tell the modern story of freedom and production.
CURTISS, W. M.
The Tariff Idea
No notion has been more persistently held in our era than the one that obstacles ought to be placed in the way of goods entering a country. Even today auto stickers proclaim "Every foreign car imported cost 10 jobs for Americans". W. M. Curtiss has exposed this fallacy in this brief, easy to read and hard to put down booklet. The case for freedom is clearly and forcefully made.
In Defense of Property
What is the role of private property? Is it theft, as Proudhon proclaimed? Is it simply a means by which the individual pursues his selfish interests? Professor Dietze presents a quite different view in this erudite study. Property is the linchpin of civilization. It is essential to the determination and maintenance of what is proper. When the protections of it are removed, the civilization disintegrates.
The Federalist: A Classic on Federalism and Free Government
It is generally conceded that The Federalist was the greatest American contribution to political thought. It follows that a clear understanding of these papers and the thought of the men who wrote them is vital both to thinking about politics and to an understanding of the United States Constitution. Professor Dietze has provided invaluable aids to doing this in his seminal work on The Federalist.
Capitalism & Freedom
There is an unavoidable nexus between government and economics. The art of governing is entangled with economy. It is at the junction of the two that Milton Friedman brings his searching analytical mind to bear in this book. He realizes that the hope for freedom lies in reducing the role of government and extending the freedom of the individual. He makes not only some statements of general principles but also some interesting concrete proposals.
The People’s Pottage
Something happened to the character, kind, and quality of American government in the 1930s. That the New Deal was the engine of the change none can doubt. Garet Garrett tells what happened and how it happened, clearly, vigorously, and with a horrified fervor. Above all, it happened in the kind of necessary order and under such a cloud cover of confusing language that it had to constitute a coup d’etat.
GREAVES, BETTINA B.
Free Market Economics,
2 volumes: A Basic Reader and A Syllabus
Economics has been described as the dismal science. Some students may even think of it as a dreary study with its endless charts, graphs, and statistics. But free market economics is not that way. It is a hopeful science. These selected readings and accompanying study guide make it as delightful as man thinking, discerning, and setting forth in the most attractive way his best ideas.
GREAVES, PERCY L, JR. Mises Made Easier
Professor Ludwig von Mises wrote within the framework of the great intellectual debates of the past century. Also, in his greatest work, Human Action, he wrote with fine precision, choosing just the word that expressed his exact meaning. For these reasons, a glossary of the most important concepts, and most difficult, is a great aid to those who would understand his writings. Percy Greaves has provided such a glossary written in familiar language.
Understanding the Dollar Crisis
The dollar is declining in value. There have been several official devaluations, and there is a continual day today decline in its value. Why is the dollar falling in value? What is the cause of it? How can the situation be changed? In a series of lucid lectures, Percy Greaves answered these questions in Argentina, and they are now available in book form.
HALL, VERNA M.
The Christian History of the Constitution of the United States
The Constitution of the United States was founded upon the conception of a Higher Law. The Higher Law concept is itself founded in the belief in the laws of God. Verna Hall has collected and arranged in a single volume the evidences of the Christian foundation of our Constitution.
HAMILTON, ALEXANDER and others
Serious students of government, and particularly American government, may well begin with these papers written by
John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison. It is the most brilliant justification and explanation of the Constitution that has been made. The principles of effective government and liberty are set forth in this great work!
HARPER, F. A.
Why Wages Rise
Do real wages depend upon the growth of labor unions? The pumping of money into the economy? Higher minimum wage laws? Increased unemployment benefit payments? In this study of the trend of real wages in the United States since 1860, Dr. Harper traces their rise to the saving and investment of productive capital in open competition in a free market.
HAYEK, FRIEDRICH A.
Capitalism and the Historians
(edited by Hayek)
Did working conditions worsen with the coming of the industrial revolution? Did pre-industrial man lead a simple, unhurried, and gracious life? Have our historians presented an accurate picture of the economic past? Or were they all too often presenting distortions to promote political programs? The authors included in this anthology present some startling charges and support their allegations with a convincing array of evidence.
The Constitution of Liberty
Every party claims to favor freedom in our day. Yet this cannot be so, as Hayek points out, because some of their policies and practices result in the loss of liberty. The time has arrived to get a fresh hold on the meaning and implications of liberty. By his superb exposition, Hayek has drawn the domain of liberty so that those who will read him may survey it whole. More, he applies his theories to policies he would recommend.
The Road to Serfdom
What are the effects of economic planning by government? Is there a real choice between liberty and security? What happens to the rule of law under socialism? What happens to morality under socialism? Hayek answered these and other related questions about socialism during World War II. What has happened since has further confirmed Hayek in his belief in the superiority of freedom and the correctness of his analysis.
The Conquest of Poverty
What is poverty? How may it be reduced? What are or would be the effects of most proposed efforts? Of minimum wages? Of a guaranteed wage? Of a Negative Income Tax? Of forced employment? Of land redistribution? Mr. Hazlitt has taken up these and numerous other proposals and shows how ineffective they are, or would be. This is a sure handed analysis of what is wrong with the programs that are supposed to help the poor.
The Critics of Keynesian Economics (edited by Hazlitt)
Much of the world is in the throes of an inflationary binge the like of which has never before been experienced on this scale. John Maynard Keynes provided a theoretical justification of this inflation in his General Theory, published in 1936. It is eye-opening then to read what many leading economists have had to say about the Keynesian theory.
Economics in One Lesson
Does the destruction of buildings and equipment make for prosperity? Can government provide more employment? Do farmers need cheaper credit? Do jobs need to be spread around? Do protective tariffs benefit everybody? What is the impact of a government decreed minimum wage? Henry Hazlitt asks these and dozens of other questions and provides the answers—clearly, simply, directly, and persuasively.
The Failure of the "New Economics"
Was John Maynard Keynes’ General Theory internally consistent? Was his "Propensity to spend" theory even factually based? Were his formulas really supported by any proofs? Why were the obscure theories of Keynes so popular? Henry Hazlitt has exposed the whole pretentious mess for what it is—a call for political action supported by a facade of economic obfuscations.
The Foundations of Morality
Utilitarian ethics has a modern, and gracious, spokesman in Henry Hazlitt. The spirit of conciliation runs through this his magnum opus. Those who disagree in some measure with what is persuasively argued here will nonetheless benefit from reading such an able exposition of it.
The Inflation Crisis, and How to Resolve It
In this 1978 updating and expansion of What You Should Know About Inflation, Hazlitt lays bare the facts about the New Inflation and analyzes problems the media scarcely skim, if they notice them at all. He shows how to protect yourself from the worst ravages of inflation, and
shows how simple it would be to turn the tide—if we can develop the political will to do it.
What You Should Know About Inflation
What is Inflation? What causes it? What are the effects of inflation? Is a deflation desirable? Can government control inflation? How can government be made responsible in its fiscal policies? Henry Hazlitt answers these momentous questions and answers them simply, directly, and with no unnecessary qualifications or complications.
HUTT, WILLIAM H. (edited by
Svetozar Pejovich and David Klingaman)
Individual Freedom: Selected Works of William H. Hutt
Among the most tangled issues of this era are: state power and individual rights; how to restrain the state to free the individual; what to do about private groups (such as labor unions) who exercise coercive power; and whether a free market works or not. William H. Hutt sheds light on these with his precise thinking and careful scholarship.
JUNG, C. G.
The Undiscovered Self
A great psychiatrist speaks here out of a lifetime of experience to what is needed in the world today. There is one thing, he says, that can successfully stop collectivization. There is something stronger than the mass. It is the individual,—the unique, different, and exceptional individual. When the discovered self replaces the undiscovered self, such an individual emerges.
KIRZNER, ISRAEL M.
Competition and Entrepreneurship The market is surely the key concept in economics. The tendency toward equilibrium is one of the concepts that is an offshoot of market theory. However, a good deal of mischief has resulted from a failure to grasp the entrepreneurial role and its contribution to competition. Professor Kirzner brings careful analysis to broaden our understanding of what happens in the market.
The Economic Point of View
What is economics? Does it consist of a department of human affairs? Or does it deal with an aspect of human action? Can there be a science of economics? How must it begin and what must be excluded from it? These are the basic questions which Kirzner examines in his fundamental study of the emergence of economics.
Walter Knott: Keeper of the Flame According to a famous historical treatise, the frontier ended in 1890. The frontier was understood to be a symbol of opportunity in America. If Walter Knott encountered this notion, he certainly did not believe it. The story of his life is a refutation of any such notion. His life is a testimonial, too, to the importance of freedom.
How to Start Your Own School
A school which follows the guidelines of the freedom philosophy is an exciting undertaking. It treats parents and students as customers, education as a commodity, the headmaster as a business man, and the teacher as a producer. Wichita Collegiate School has followed these guidelines, Robert Love maintains. The results are well worth examining.
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
Those who are enamored of the supposed wisdom and sagacity of the people might profit from reading this book. Any who suppose that the number who believe or participate in something tells us anything of its validity will find a healthy corrective. Doing what everyone does loses its attraction in the perspective of this marvelous history of mass delusions, whether the delusion was John Law’s inflationary scheme, or witchcraft, or infatuation with thieves, or what not.
The Key to Peace
Those who think that the American way can somehow be evoked by a vague and general term such as "Democracy" should be especially interested in this booklet. With great economy, Clarence Manion covers the key ideas in the Declaration of Independence and describes the basic institutions and practices. It reawakens pride in America and respect for the heritage.
MILL, JOHN STUART
Is individual liberty of value only to the individual? Can liberty be endangered by majority rule? What is the purpose of life? What is the connection between this and liberty? Where should the power of society end and the liberty of the individual begin? These are the questions which Mill asks and to which he provides illuminating answers in these essays.
MISES, LUDWIG VON
The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality
Why do so many intellectuals hate capitalism? Why is it possible to get the approval of so many people for measures to restrain and penalize businessmen? A gifted scholar brings his vast learning and intuition to bear on the subject. He even explains the popularity of the detective story from this angle. American readers will find this study particularly illuminating.
Bureaucracy is neither good nor bad in itself. It is an appropriate technique for the conducting of administrative agencies such as the police department. However, when bureaucracy enters the field of economic activities, the result is disregard for the interests of consumers and disastrous rigidity and stagnation of the economy.
A Critique of Interventionism
The economic principles that Mises expounded in these six essays during the 1920s have endured the test of time. The names and places have changed, but the same tired statist notions prevail. Mises’ incisive criticisms are as pertinent for Americans today as they were for the Germans of the Weimar Republic.
Although Mises wrote many books, this one is his magnum opus, the distillation of all his thought and learning. Although it is a broadly philosophical work and deals incisively with many branches of knowledge, all this is brought to bear on its object, economics. It is an indispensable work for those who would master the study of man acting economically.
Notes and Recollections
Written in 1940, this is the story of the European economist who valiantly defended European civilization against the "Socialists of the Chair" until that civilization had vanished in the darkness of World War II. This was the prelude to his second life of writing and teaching in the United States from 1940 until his death in 1973.
Omnipotent Government: The Rise of the Total State and Total War. Whence the penchant for total war in the twentieth century? How is this related to economic theory and practice? What was the demonic urge behind the rise of the Nazis to power? In essence, what did Nazis and Communists have in common? In this work, Mises brought his masterful powers to bear on the phenomenon of the total state.
On the Manipulation of Money and Credit
Translated by Bettina Bien Greaves and edited by Percy L. Greaves, Jr., are these earlier writings of Mises concerning political attempts to stabilize the purchasing power of money and eliminate the undesirable consequences of the "trade cycle." Also included is a bibliography of the works of Mises on money, credit and banking.
The destruction of liberty in America as elsewhere has been accomplished both by private violence and by the near irresistible force of the modern state. This "easy, bloodless and nonviolent" transition to socialism is the subject of Planned Chaos. Professor Mises tells why the popularity of this policy is not a safe test of its soundness, why it fails in its avowed purposes, and what it does to nations which pursue it.
Planning for Freedom
Mises was one of the major theoreticians in the enduring principles of economics. These theories he was quick to apply to various of the controversies of his time such as "excess" profits, inflation, central planning, unemployment, and so forth. Mises took sides courageously and argued dispassionately and well.
Is economic calculation possible under socialism? What does socialism do to society? How do capitalist countries prop up and enable socialist countries to survive? What is the crucial difference between interventionism and socialism? In this work, Mises used his great analytical powers to dissect the various aspects of socialism, to subject the ideas to the test of reality, and to expose their fallacies.
Theory and History
Whence came Marxism? What is the intellectual framework of socialism? How did European thought come to reduce so much of reality to history? This is a wide-ranging philosophical work on the great issues of our age. Follow a great mind as it wrestles through delusions to truth.
The Theory of Money and Credit What people know, or think they know, about money and credit isn’t necessarily so. For example, can government decree what is to be money in a society? Mises demonstrates decisively that this is not what governments do. In his careful scrutiny of every aspect of money and credit he brings new insight and precision to the handling of the subject.
MISES, MARGIT VON
My Years with Ludwig von Mises Ludwig von Mises was very much the formal man in public. To know his writings and hear his lectures was not to know him personally. This gives especial value to these glimpses behind the scenes by the one who knew the greatest economist of the twentieth century best, his wife, Margit von Mises.
The Admiral’s Log
Ben Moreell towered above most twentieth century Americans. Not because of his height—though he was above the average—not because of his accomplishments, though they were outstanding—prominent engineer, Admiral in the Navy, leading industrialist, writer, speaker, and statesman—but because of his courage, his integrity, and the high principles for which he stood. The best way to get to know him is through his speeches, some of the most important of which are included in these selections.
NOCK, ALBERT JAY
Cogitations from Albert Jay Nock (Robert M. Thornton, editor)
There is a specific medication to purge the system of the disease of statism. Its name is Albert Jay Nock. True, the medicine is addictive if taken in large doses but the addict is only much freer of the thrall of statist cant. This booklet serves only to introduce Nock, but everything has to begin somewhere.
An Introduction to Christian Economics
Is there a "Christian" economics? Indeed, is there an economics that does not have its foundations in Christianity? Do economic laws have ultimate sanctions? Dr. North has tackled these questions head-on and come up with revealing answers. Indeed, the answers are a part of Christian Revelation rightly interpreted, he insists. Christians will want to know what is said here; others need to know.
OPITZ, EDMUND A.
Religion and Capitalism: Allies, Not Enemies
Does Christian Socialism make sense? What are the ultimate foundations of freedom? What is the ultimate source of values and ends? Where does economics fit within the framework of philosophy? Is theism simply a convenient premise? An outstanding clergyman brings careful analysis and concern to bear on these enduring questions which are particularly important now.
READ, LEONARD E.
Accent on the Right
There are ways of looking at things that make it nearly impossible to decide anything. Leonard Read invites us to ask some questions that can be answered, to focus our attention in such a way that we can draw conclusions. He shows us how to work our way out of the darkness by following glimmers of light. That is the meaning of accent on the right.
Anything That’s Peaceful
If Leonard Read simply announced that he favored anything that was peaceful, what man of good will could disagree with him? But he does not leave it there. He goes on to name and demonstrate that a great many things we are doing do not make for peace. He shows that the peacemakers are greatly outnumbered by the aggressors. The core of his philosophy is set forth in this book.
Awake for Freedom’s Sake
Leonard Read’s mission has been to stand in awe at the wonders about him—wonders both natural and manmade—and to open our eyes to their marvelous character. He has preferred the journey to the destination, curiosity to the knowledge, the imagination to the static condition, and freedom to security. It amazes him that so many should serve him in the market, unbeknownst to them, and he pauses to acknowledge what they do. Those who read this lyrical book may wish to join him in a chorus.
Castles in the Air
What is the secret to productivity? How may man’s lot be bettered? Capital accumulation is not the answer. Tools are not the answer. These are valuable adjuncts in the effort to improve our material wellbeing. But there is a way to improve our moral, spiritual, and material wellbeing. First, there must be castles in the air. But for these to lead to anything, certain conditions must be present. Leonard Read sets them forth in this book.
Comes the Dawn
To humbly recognize and daily count our blessings is a vital first step toward that faith in freedom which will allow it to burst forth and overcome the darkness of socialism. Only then may we hope to bequeath to our children the foundations of liberty we inherited.
The Coming Aristocracy
Society must be shaped and influenced by aristocrats. Not hereditary aristocrats. Not aristocrats who lord it over other people. But aristocrats who are superior to others, who will be examples of what they teach, who will be followed because they so obviously know better. Leonard Read has some thoughts on how such aristocrats may emerge.
Deeper Than You Think
How do you measure growth? What is the effect of machines on our lives? What is the origin of the numerous "Problems" we hear so much about today? The answers, Leonard Read says, lie deeper than you think. They can be found only by getting things into a proper perspective. He demonstrates how it can be done with a number of telling examples.
Elements of Libertarian Leadership
A leader of mass men is one thing; a leader of free men is another. First it is necessary to know the difference. Then it is necessary to go to work changing and improving the one person who is available for the effort. Leonard Read explains why and how this is to be done.
The Free Market and Its Enemy
Who are the enemies of the free market?
Is it the state? Is it the government? Is it ignorance? Is it thinkers? Leonard Read here sets forth an answer that is startling in its simplicity, yet covers the field of all the particular enemies. There is much else in this brief book, but the character of the enemies is the central point.
Government—An Ideal Concept
Some vital questions for those concerned with liberty. Is government necessary? Is government an evil? Is taxation a proper use of government power? What about conscription? What are the improper and illicit uses of political power? Leonard Read employs his basic premises and practical understanding to come forth with answers.
Having My Way
If there are macro problems in the world, Leonard Read thinks, they are probably reducible to micro problems. More specifically, the great problems are really problems with individual dimensions. They are of this order: How can I improve myself? What should my attitude be? How can I become the sort of person that other people would want to be with and consult? The answers to these and other such questions turn out to be wondrously in accord with the freedom philosophy.
Instead of Violence
Violence, Leonard Read suggests, is the way to destruction. It is the easy way—just as it is easier to destroy a structure than to build one—with the hard results. It is the way to inhibit creative activity and to foreclose opportunities. There is another way. Here is his rhapsody in tribute to that way.
Let Freedom Reign
Every man wants to be free himself, although he may not be so enthusiastic about the responsibilities entailed. But freedom for others—that is another matter. It is all too easy to imagine how this would threaten us. One of Leonard Read’s great insights is how potentially beneficial to all of us is the freedom of others to create. This book focuses upon that insight and unfolds it in a variety of ways. The piece de resistance is "The Miracle of a Meal." But each essay contains its own special tribute to freedom.
Liberty: Legacy of Truth
In contemplation of his 80th birthday, Leonard Read counsels that one’s ambition in every laudable endeavor should be nothing less than an ever improving excellence. Out of perpetual inquiry, the wooing of truth, comes the understanding and practice of the liberty on which our lives depend.
The Love of Liberty