Sunday, December 15, 2013
Must Read Books: Economics
"It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a 'dismal science.' But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance."
Do you know who said that? My hero, Murray Newton Rothbard, said that. What's he really saying? This: "Hey. I get it; maybe you decided to not learn about economics because, after all, it's boring. But, Jesus, H. Christ, who the fuck do you think you are trying to explain to everybody how an economy should run if you never took the time to properly learn it?" Well, I'm here to tell you economics is not boring, and you should learn it because it effects your life. All you need is the correct literature, and I know three must read books on the subject.
First on the list is Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. This is the book to start with in you economic journey. It's a simple read, it's not long, and it's "the quickest was to learn how to think like an economist." I'm talking about an excellent economist. The book starts off with the lesson: Frederick Bastiat's broken window fallacy, and then puts that lesson into real world situations like rent control, minimum wage, the military, and savings.
Next on the list is the man himself, Murray Rothbard and his Man, Economy and State. Grounded in the Austrian School of Economics, Rothbard builds upon his teacher Ludwig von Mises and shows us that economics is nothing more than humans acting, seeking means to achieve ends. Because he's from the Austrian school, there's no complicated math; just stone cold logic. Like Hazlitt, it's simple to read. How simple? Rothbard uses the creation of a ham sandwich to explain complicated principles!
Finally, there's Mises' Human Action. This is the book that made it clear economics wasn't about complicated mathematical formulas, but "human wants and desires." Praxeology, the study of human action, is introduced in this treatise, and from there, Mises takes you on a trip of logic inducing economic concepts. This book was published before Man, Economy, and State; however, Rothbard is an easier read, and reading him before Mises will make reading Human Action easier. Like Rothbard, Mises is one of my heroes. In fact, because of this cat I always remembered my ex-girlfriend's birthday because she was born on the same day as Mises.
There's the list. The list won't make economics boring or complicated. And you won't be ignorant. And, seeing it's Christmas, (yea, I say Christmas; sue me), they make great gifts. Now, you, your family, and your friends won't be ignorant.