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Tag Archives: Books: Reviews and Suggested Readings

Landsburg’s Book on Milton Friedman

I enjoyed reading Steven Landsburg’s The Essential Milton Friedman, which was recently published by the Fraser Institute. It’s a short quick exposition of Friedman’s work and views by a master expositor. My biggest surprise was the section of his last chapter in which Steve quotes at length Leo Rosten’s description of Milton. I hadn’t known until I read Milton and Rose Friedman’s autobiography, Two Lucky People, that they became lifelong friends with Rosten after...

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Garett Jones on Open Borders: A Belated Reply

Last November, Garett Jones wrote two responses to my Open Borders.  The first was “Measuring the Sacrifice of Open Borders,” a short paper on the distributional effects of free migration.  I replied here. Soon afterward, however, Garett also wrote me this open letter.  Since I didn’t want to hastily respond to serious criticism, I waited until I had time to carefully respond.  Now I’m ready.  Here’s my point-by-point response.  This format works especially well...

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Econlib Virtual Reading Group: McCloskey’s Why Liberalism Works

If you’ve been meaning to read Deirdre McCloskey’s latest, Why Liberalism Works, we hope you’ll consider joining us to discuss it together. Econlib is hosting its first-ever Virtual Reading Group. The VRG will consist of three sessions, each running from 4-5pm EST on consecutive Tuesdays, starting on January 14. Participants should acquire their own books. But for those who successfully complete all three sessions, Econlib will send you an amazon e-gift card...

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Withdrawing Compliance

In The Underside of History: A View of Women Through Time, Elise Boulding writes, “In fact, one of the notable historical features of oppression is that the downtrodden comply in their oppression. The discovery by the oppressed that they have power is the discovery that they can gain a kind of dominance through the withdrawal of compliance. This is the power of the women’s liberation movement, and of all liberation movements” (p. 48). With these words, Boulding...

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The Paradox of Liberalism and Monopolies of Coercion: Levin on Himmelfarb

Yuval Levin has a truly remarkable article, celebrating the accomplishment of Gertrude Himmelfarb, who died on December 31 at age 97. In his essay, significantly entitled “The Historian as a Moralist” (contrary to common understanding, this is meant to be a compliment: read it and you’ll understand why), Levin provides a thorough assessment of Himmelfarb’s astounding scholarship. In particular, Levin stresses how Himmelfarb saw the history of ideas as involving the...

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Fabio Rojas’s Weak Argument for Subsidizing Illegal Aliens

Somehow I missed Indiana University sociology professor Fabio Rojas’s April article titled “Conservative Arguments in Support of Undocumented College Students,” published by the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. It appeared on April 19. I won’t comment on whether his arguments are conservative; I don’t care. The problem is that they’re not good arguments. He starts out strong, defending the idea that people should be able to move here, a view I largely...

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Holiday Reading, One Last Time

We hope you’ve enjoyed the sharing of holiday season reading from our many contributors. Maybe you’ve made that nightstand pile a little higher… I know I have! Here’s our last installment for now… So keep on reading, and we hope you’ll join us in an #EconlibReads discussion-live or online- sometime in this new year. What am I Reading This Holiday Season? (Steven Horwitz, Ball State University) I’m often reading multiple books at once. And like the problem I have with...

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The Five (okay, ten) Basic Books in Austrian Economics

The task of picking five basic books in Austrian economics is not a difficult one, at least for the first four. After that, matters get more tricky. So I’m going to cheat a bit as readers will discover below. First, the Big Four: Carl Menger, Principles of Economics, 1871. This is where it all began, as Carl Menger’s Principles was the founding text of what became known as the Austrian School. It remains both readable to the non-specialist and a continuing source of...

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Some of My Top Books

I can’t come up with lists like “these are the books I’m reading this Christmas holiday” because I read at most two books at a time slowly and methodically. For my bedtime reading, which gets me through about 10 pages before I get sleepy and turn out the light, I’m reading Fallen Founder: The Life of Aaron Burr and learning what a jerk Alexander Hamilton was. I don’t want to name the other book I’m reading because I don’t think I’ll end up recommending it: it’s a...

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The Crankiest Woman in England: Elizabeth Freke and her Money

Elizabeth Freke is widely acknowledged to have been the crankiest woman in England in the 17th century. The editor of her diary, Raymond Anselment, justly describes her life as one of “medicine, money, and misery.” I think economists would find her fascinating. Freke’s misery begins when she marries a dissolute cousin without her father’s knowledge or support. She would be the first to agree with that assessment, heading up her journal with a note indicating that it...

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