Bryan Caplan and David Henderson

Book Club

A Category Archive (52 entries)

Clarabelle Cow, Capitalist

Book Club
Alberto Mingardi
Art Carden has already blogged on Jason Brennan's insightful "Why not Capitalism?", a most needed response to G.A. Cohen's "Why not Socialism?" Like Art, I enjoyed the book. It is a very good example of how political philosophy can be... MORE

Remembering Ken Minogue

Book Club
Alberto Mingardi
On June 28 one year ago, Kenneth Minogue, Emeritus Professor of Political Science of Political Science at the London School of Economics, passed away on a plane flying between the island of San Cristobal, in the Galapagos arcipelago, and... MORE

Happy birthday, Adam Smith

Book Club
Alberto Mingardi
Some 291 years ago today, Adam Smith was born. Richard Ebeling has an insightful article that beautifully introduces to the contemporary reader the "father of economics". Scott Sumner pointed out that, according to Thomas PIketty, Smith "had more political prejudices... MORE

Eating out. The wisdom of Tyler Cowen

Book Club
Alberto Mingardi
The way in which we think and the way we write is greatly influenced by the authors we read. This applies especially to those we read daily: journalists, and now bloggers. When their style is distinctive and vivid, we often... MORE

The Great Society at 50

Book Club
Alberto Mingardi
Fifty years ago, Lyndon Johnson gave his famous "Great Society" address at the University of Michigan. In an interesting essay on "The Great Society at 50", AEI's Nicholas Eberstadt presents a very balanced and nuanced account of the "Great Society",... MORE

We aren't very Victorian, are we?

Book Club
Alberto Mingardi
I was reading recently John Vincent's "The Formation of the British Liberal Party 1857-68", a classic on the subject and a most interesting book. I was struck by the following passage: Very striking rewards, then, did not act at all... MORE

Ramblings on Piketty

Book Club
Alberto Mingardi
I've finally received my copy of Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty's magnum opus that has already risen to the status of a cult book for the political left. It is a good rule never to comment on a... MORE

An excellent book review

Book Club
Alberto Mingardi
Writing a good book review is not an easy job. I've been writing book reviews regularly, for some years now. I am also a big consumer of book reviews. I suspect it is so because I am very grateful to... MORE

George Soros, speculator and proud

Book Club
Alberto Mingardi
George Soros has a new book, "The Tragedy of the European Union. Disintegration or Revival?" that consists of a series of interviews with Gregor Peter Schmitz, Europe Correspondent for the German magazine Der Spiegel. The book is sometimes very interesting... MORE

Peter Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life. Gray's son went to Sudbury Valley School, where education was kind of a free-for-all in which self-organizing... MORE

What I've Been Reading Lately

Book Club
Art Carden
Among the hats I wear, I'm a Senior Research Fellow for the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics and a Fellow with Samford University's Center for Science and Religion. This means I get to read a lot of books at... MORE

Let's Meet at the Southerns, or, Want to Read My Manuscript?

Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings
Art Carden
I'm working on a book with the venerable Deirdre N. McCloskey on the economic history of the last few centuries, and I've arranged a session at the Southern Economic Association conference in Tampa in which I'll receive comments from Steven... MORE

Lilliputian Competition Authority

Book Club
Bart Wilson
This fall my student reading and dinner group is concurrently reading Personal Knowledge and Gulliver's Travels (beautifully annotated by Asimov). I have been fascinated with Gulliver's Travels since high school but it has been several years since I last read... MORE

Stephanie Herman, a "homeschooling mom of two boys who has taught high school economics in a homeschool coop," was kind enough to send me a review copy of her book Cost Benefit Jr., which provides "an economics curriculum for young... MORE

By now, I assume that everyone has read Michael Huemer's The Problem of Political Authority cover-to-cover.  Well, almost everyone.  Mike has generously agreed to field EconLog readers' questions.  Please post them in the comments, and he'll respond in a separate... MORE

In case you missed any segment in The Autobiography of Malcolm X Book Club, here's the full package:Lead-inPart #1: Malcolm's Childhood and Entry-Level Jobs (Chapters 1-5)Part #2: Malcolm's Life of Crime (Chapters 6-10)Part #3: Malcolm and the Nation of Islam... MORE

Malcom's Purge, Second Thoughts, and Murder (Chapters 16-19, plus Haley's Epilogue)SummaryBy the early 60s, Black Muslim leader Elijah Muhammad's health is failing, and internal resentment against Malcolm's success is starting to build.  He refuses publicity to calm the jealousy -... MORE

Malcolm and the Nation of Islam (Chapters 11-15)SummaryAt the urging of his siblings, imprisoned Malcolm writes a letter to Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam.  Elijah Muhammad responds, and before long Malcolm is not just a true believer,... MORE

Next Malcolm X Book Club 9/14

Book Club
Bryan Caplan
Part 2 of the Autobiography of Malcolm X book club will premiere on Friday, 9/14.... MORE

The book club starts today, with future segments every two weeks.  Breakdown:Part #1: Malcolm's Childhood and Entry-Level Jobs (Chapters 1-5)Part #2: Malcolm's Life of Crime (Chapters 6-10)Part #3: Malcolm and the Nation of Islam (Chapters 11-15)Part #4: Malcolm's Purge, Second... MORE

I plan to do my first Autobiography of Malcolm X Book Club post on Friday, August 24.  Hope you're reading along!... MORE

Autobiography of Malcolm X Book Club?

Book Club
Bryan Caplan
I first read The Autobiography of Malcolm X in high school, and just re-read it for the fourth time.  It may sound like an eccentric choice, but I'm thinking of starting a new EconLog book club on this work.  AMX... MORE

Magna Carta Club, Part 2

Book Club
Bryan Caplan
Due to limited demand, I'm going to finish up the Magna Carta Club with one last post on Clauses 11-63.  Highlights:Clause 11.  Further demagogic limits on Jewish money-lenders' rights to collect on debts.Clause 12. Limits the tax known as "scutage";... MORE

I wrote:Who reasonably expects to gain? On Buchanan's view, the answer should be, "everyone" or "almost everyone."John Thacker responds: But surely it doesn't make sense to expect this to be true of every individual clause, even fully subscribing to Buchanan's... MORE

Magna Carta Club, Part 1

Book Club
Bryan Caplan
The chief goal of the Magna Carta club is to race Buchanan's "veil of ignorance" view of constitutions against my "lock-in political advantage" view.  I don't deny that Buchanan's view has some real-world relevance, but I doubt it's significant.  Don't... MORE

Magna Carta Club Update

Book Club
Bryan Caplan
I've learned that there are actually several different versions of the Magna Carta.  I originally linked to the 1225 version with 37 clauses, but I think it would be more interesting to stick to the original 1215 version with 63... MORE

Magna Carta Club

Book Club
Bryan Caplan
In my Public Choice lecture on Constitutions, I challenged Buchanan's real (not merely hypothetical) "veil of ignorance" view. My claim:There may be some constitutional rules where a veil of ignorance applies...  But most constitutional rules are about permanently locking in... MORE

SuperFreakonomics, II

Book Club
David Henderson
As I work my way through SuperFreakonomics, I'm starting to take back my claim that it's better than Freakonomics. It seems to have the same strength and the same weakness. The strength is its focus on incentives and facts to... MORE

Super Freakonomics

Book Club
David Henderson
I'm only 27 pages into Levitt's and Dubner's new book, but already I'm liking Super Freakonomics better than Freakonomics. My problem with the first book was that it tended to emphasize small aspects of some issues and missed the big... MORE

Audit the Fed, or End It?

Book Club
David Henderson
The Congressman I admire most, Ron Paul, is advocating that the Federal Reserve Bank be audited. Is this a good idea? I think there's one obvious plus and there are two less-obvious minuses. The obvious plus is that an organization... MORE

On health economics:Florence Rath died only eight days later, complaining not so much of a broken thigh and a fractured pelvis as of the refusal of the doctors to obey her."They know they can't cure me, so why don't they... MORE

My co-author Scott Beaulier blogs a meaty question for me:...The policy implication often taken from MRV is an elitist one: the world needs constraints from the mob through franchise restrictions, etc.  While Rothbardhad his elitist moments (and there's plenty in the Austrian... MORE

We've finished the chapter-by-chapter of Murray Rothbard's For a New Liberty.  Now I'd like to wrap things up by answering most or all of your questions about the book.  Please limit yourself to questions, not statements, phrase them succinctly, and... MORE

Whew, we finally made it to chapter 15.  Next week I'll do a final round-up, including a general Q&A.SummaryThis chapter sketches Rothbard's strategy for libertarian victory.  He begins with a call for education:On one point there can scarcely be disagreement:... MORE

SummarySome libertarians argue that the implications of libertarianism for foreign policy are unclear.  In this chapter, Rothbard argues that libertarianism implies strict "isolationism":Pending the dissolution of States, libertarians desire to limit, to whittle down, the area of government power in... MORE

SummaryThis chapter, on "Conservation, Ecology, and Growth," is an early statement of free-market environmentalism.  It begins by ridiculing leftists' decades of contradictory complaints about capitalism: "Stagnation; deficient growth; overaffluence; overpoverty; the intellectual fashions changed like ladies' hemlines," and quoting one... MORE

SummaryA common reductio ad absurdum of libertarianism is that it implies anarchism.  Rothbard now eagerly bites this bullet.  Indeed, this chapter is the most detailed defense of anarcho-capitalism that he ever wrote.Rothbard begins by sketching how a free market would... MORE

SummaryIn this chapter, Rothbard advocates the abolition of publicly-owned streets and roads:Abolition of the public sector means, of course, that all pieces of land, all land areas, including streets and roads, would be owned privately, by individuals, corporations, cooperatives, or... MORE

SummaryIn this six-page chapter, Rothbard makes a sweeping economic case against "government in business."  He begins by noting the power of status quo bias:People tend to fall into habits and into unquestioned ruts, especially in the field of government. On... MORE

SummaryIn 1973, when the first edition of For a New Liberty was published, Keynesians were still sitting pretty.  Five years later, the Keynesians had so much egg on their faces that Rothbard was inspired to add this entirely new chapter... MORE

SummaryThis chapter, on "Welfare and the Welfare State," argues that the welfare state gives the poor perverse incentives.  A superficial reader might say, "However original this was in 1973 when it was first written, it's now old hat.  Clinton made... MORE

EconLog Book Club Resumes Next Week

Book Club
Bryan Caplan
Since it's spring break, I figure we'll take a week off from the EconLog book club.  Next week: Rothbard on the welfare state.... MORE

SummaryIn this chapter, Rothbard makes the case for the abolition of public schooling.  While he somewhat surprisingly views Friedman's voucher system as "a great improvement over the present system in permitting a wider range of parental choice and enabling the... MORE

For a New Liberty on iTunes

Book Club
Bryan Caplan
FYI: If you're having trouble keeping up with the For a New Liberty book club, the whole audio book seems to be available for free on iTunes.  Personally, though, I can't bear to hear anyone say Rothbard's words but the... MORE

SummaryIn this chapter on "Personal Liberty," Rothbard puts run-of-the-mill "civil libertarians" to shame.  He's more radical than most of the left on traditional civil liberties like freedom of speech, drugs, and wiretapping.  He stands up for the rights to libel... MORE

SummaryThis chapter begins with a premise shared by almost everyone - that "involuntary servitude" is impermissible:The libertarian, therefore, is totally opposed to slavery.  An academic question nowadays, one might object?  But is it really? For what is slavery but (a)... MORE

SummaryThis is the shortest chapter of the book, just six pages long.  Rothbard makes a laundry list of what he calls "the major problem areas of our society" and argues that government is central to every one of them.  The... MORE

SummaryRothbard now applies the normative standards developed in chapter 2 to explain what libertarians have against government (or as Rothbard, inspired by Germanic capitalization, calls it, "the State").  The argument is simple: If a private individual did what governments do,... MORE

SummaryIn this chapter ("Property and Exchange"), Rothbard introduces the "non-aggression axiom," also often known as the "non-initiation of force axiom."  The intuition is simple enough: No one has the right to start using physical violence or the threat thereof against... MORE

The For a New Liberty Book Club continues on Monday, when I'll post my thoughts on chapter 2.  I plan on doing a chapter every Monday until the book's done.  Anything less would be, as Rothbard loved to say, "Monstrous!"... MORE

Here's my plan: I'll lead off each discussion of Murray Rothbard's For a New Liberty with (a) a brief summary of the chapter of the week, and (b) some critical comments.  But this is your book club, so in the... MORE

Tyler's been having fun with his MR Book Club on Keynes' General Theory:I will go through the book, chapter by chapter, with an eye toward a deeper understanding of what Keynes wrote and why it is, as Greg says, so... MORE

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