by Mike Swatek, Liberty Candidates Committee Member
Austrian school economics illuminates how personal and economic liberty are intimately intertwined. Neither of these broad liberties can ultimately exist without the other. It’s wonderful to see the expanding awareness of the need to defend our personal liberties, through the Tea Party movement and growing media visibility, which has recently taken a giant leap forward with Freedom Watch on Fox Business every night at 7pm central and online.
Unfortunately, this awakening is less focused on the fundamentals of economic liberty, which is essential to preserve personal liberty. It should be as much of a personal civic duty to have a basic understanding of economics as it is to be familiar with the Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, Federalist Papers and Kentucky/Virginia Resolutions. Unfortunately, economics is widely perceived as overly complicated and/or discredited as a “dismal science”. However, this is only true of the economics promoted by the US government and Federal Reserve, quite possibly with the intention of keeping the masses confused and ignorant on this essential component of their overall liberty. Fortunately, there is an alternative school of thought that overcomes these hurdles, but today it’s only taught at a handful of US universities.
The only school of economic thought that has been consistently correct for the last century is the Austrian school, as Ron Paul has often shared. There are some excellent and enjoyable resources available to gain a working knowledge of the time-proven Austrian economic school of thought.
By far, the best first book is How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes, by Peter & Andrew Schiff. It’s a brilliant and entertaining short journey through the fundamentals of Austrian economics. Better yet, it’s written and illustrated in a way that is also engaging for younger readers. Don’t let the appearance fool you. This is an absolutely sound and wonderful first book on Austrian economics for everyone. Even with an existing knowledge of the topic, it’s still a very enjoyable book. We should all try to get as many people as possible to read this, so that wider awareness of how to preserve economic liberty will also help preserve personal liberty. Donate copies to local school/public libraries, and it makes a great personal gift.
Another book that covers much of the same material and more, with added detail, is The Case Against the Fed by Murray Rothbard. Don’t be fooled by the title. Rothbard starts with Austrian economic basics in the development of the case. If you would like to learn more after reading Schiffs’ book, this is an excellent second book. Or, if you’re a bit short on cash, you could start with this book which is available from the Ludwig von Mises Institute in free full text and free audio format (chapters listed in reverse order) with all the mp3 files more easily downloaded from an ftp directory HERE. Even if some of the early chapters are a review, the vast majority of people should learn a lot about their economic liberty from the entirety of the case. The proposal for how the USA could end the Fed and go back to a gold standard in the final chapters is also quite interesting.
The next recommended book is Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics by Henry Hazlitt. This is
still one of the most widely recommended and popular books on Austrian economics, first published in 1946. The lesson is indeed “one”, but the breadth and importance of its meaning needs quite a number of examples to fully understand, which is accomplished in chapters 2-23. This book provides a thorough understanding of the natural economics embodied in the Austrian school of thought. Amazingly, the lesson that Hazlitt shares was first published 1850 in the seminal publication “That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen” by Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850). Hazlitt’s more modern examples are essential for the fullest understanding of Bastiat’s work, which you may also enjoy reading along with his others* (see ps: below).
If you’re hooked on the topic by the above readings, you might also enjoy the following available free online at the Ludwig von Mises Institute:
Mises and Austrian Economics: A Personal View by Ron Paul (audio version)
Gold, Peace, and Prosperity by Ron Paul (audio version)
What Has Government Done to Our Money? by Murray N. Rothbard (audio version and its ftp directory) ;
The Theory of Money and Credit by Ludwig von Mises;
History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II by Murray N. Rothbard (audio version and its ftp directory)
plus many other free online Austrian school full text books and audio books
If you enjoy these free online opportunities to become educated about your interconnected economic and personal liberties, please Make a donation and become a Member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute
I sincerely hope this message helps some of you to take the plunge into learning much more about your essential economic liberties so that you can better defend them and, by doing so, more fully protect your personal liberties as well. If you find this message beneficial, please forward it to as many others as possible.
Yours in Liberty,
Important Economic/Financial News aggregator of much the government/mainstream media wants to hide/misrepresent – updated very frequently
*ps: If the works of Frédéric Bastiat (mentioned above) perk your taste for the roots of Austrian economics, you may enjoy the Ludwig von Mises Institute’s free publication of Richard Cantillon: Founder of Political Economy by Jonathan M. Finegold. This is an introduction to An Essay on Economic Theory by Richard Cantillon published sometime between 1730 and 1734, over 30-years before Adam Smith’s seriously flawed “Wealth of Nations”, which is widely and incorrectly believed to be the genesis of economics. There are a couple of interesting audios about Cantillon’s essay available: An Essay on Economic Theory: Interview With Mark Thornton by Jeffrey Tucker; and The Founding Father of Modern Economics: Richard Cantillon by Murray Rothbard (Chapter 12, Volume 1 – Before Adam Smith in his massive 2-volume Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought which is a fascinating read or listen Volume 1 [ftp] and Volume 2 [ftp])