The following is a list of books and essays ranging from essential to helpful to the defense of capitalism.
LUDWIG VON MISES
Von Mises is by far the most important defender of capitalism in the realm of economic theory. A thorough knowledge of his writings is essential. I list his four major treatises first, and then, for the most part, his more popular works. The best way to approach the treatises is not to begin on page one, but to start with whatever chapters or sections appear to be of special interest, and then, later on, read the remaining portions.
Human Action, 3d ed. rev. Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1966. (The works of von Mises and those of many other authors on this list are available from The Foundation for Economic Education, Irvington-on-Hudson, New York.)
Socialism. London: Jonathan Cape, 1969. Reprint. Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, The Liberty Fund, 1982.
The Theory of Money and Credit. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1953. Reprint. Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: Foundation for Economic Education, 1971. Reprint. Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, The Liberty Fund, 1981.
Theory and History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1956. Reprint. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1969.
Planning For Freedom, 4th ed. enl. Grove City, Pennsylvania: Libertarian Press, 1980.
Bureaucracy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1944. Reprint. Grove City, Pennsylvania: Libertarian Press, 1993.
Omnipotent Government. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1944. Reprint. Grove City, Pennsylvania: Libertarian Press, 1993.
The Free and Prosperous Commonwealth. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, 1962. (This book has also been reprinted under the title Liberalism: A Socio-Economic Exposition. Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: Foundation for Economic Education, 1995.)
The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1956. Reprint. Grove City, Pennsylvania: Libertarian Press, 1994.
The Historical Setting of the Austrian School of Economics. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1969. Reprint. Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1984.
Economic Freedom and Interventionism: An Anthology of Articles and Essays. Edited by Bettina Bien Greaves. Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: Foundation for Economic Education, 1990.
The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, 1962.
Epistemological Problems of Economics. Translated by George Reisman. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, 1960.
A Critique of Interventionism. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1977.
Nation, State, and Economy. New York: New York University Press, 1983.
Economic Policy. South Bend, Indiana: Regnery/Gateway, 1979.
On the Manipulation of Money and Credit. Dobbs Ferry, New York: Free Market Books, 1978.
Money, Method, and the Market Process: A Collection of Essays. Norwell, Massachusetts: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990. Despite the fact that the book’s editor and publisher allowed it to go to press with a distracting number of typographical errors, the essays it contains are all of great value and eminently worth reading. Notes and Recollections. Grove City, Pennsylvania: Libertarian Press, 1978.
A worthwhile book to have available while reading Human Action is Mises Made Easier, A Glossary. Compiled by Percy Greaves, Jr. Dobbs Ferry, New York: Free Market Books, 1974.
The writings of Ayn Rand provide numerous powerful arguments on behalf of capitalism. I list her works in the order that I believe is best suited for coming to a clear and cohesive understanding of them. (Most of these works, incidentally, are available in paperback editions by Signet.)
Atlas Shrugged. New York: Random House, 1957. Reprint. New York: Dutton, 1992.
For the New Intellectual. New York: Random House, 1961.
This book contains the philosophical speeches from all of Ayn Rand’s novels.
The Virtue of Selfishness. New York: New American Library, 1964.
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. New York: New American Library, 1965.
The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, rev. enl. Ed. New York: Penguin USA, Meridian, 1993.
Philosophy: Who Needs It. Indianapolis and New York: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1982.
The Voice of Reason. New York: New American Library, 1988.
Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, 2d ed. Enl. New York: NAL Books, 1990.
The Fountainhead. New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1943. Reprint. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1986.
We The Living. New York: Random House, 1959. Reprint. New York: Penguin Books, 1995.
Anthem. Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers, 1953. Reprint. New York: Penguin Books, 1995
THE ECONOMIC WRITINGS OF HENRY HAZLITT
Hazlitt is perhaps the greatest popularizer of economics of all time. I regard the first two of the following works as classics.
Economics in One Lesson, new ed. New York: Arlington House, 1979. Reprint. New York: Crown Publishers, 1979.
The Great Idea. New York: 1951. Reprinted, with an important change of the ending, under the title Time Will Run Back. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1966.
The Failure of the “New” Economics. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1959.
The Man Versus the Welfare State. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1969.
The Conquest of Poverty. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1973.
Editor, Andrew Dickson White, Fiat Money Inflation in France. Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: Foundation for Economic Education, 1960.
Editor, The Critics of Keynesian Economics. New York: D. Van Nostrand Company, 1960.
THE EARLY AUSTRIAN SCHOOL: MENGER AND BÖHM-BAWERK
Carl Menger, Principles of Economics. Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press, 1950. Reprint. Grove City, Pennsylvania: Libertarian Press, 1994.
Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Capital and Interest. 3 vols., Sennholz and Huncke translation. Spring Mills, Pennsylvania: Libertarian Press, 1959. (Libertarian Press is currently located in Grove City, Pennsylvania.)
Shorter Classics of Böhm-Bawerk. Spring Mills, Pennsylvania: Libertarian Press, 1962.
THE BRITISH CLASSICAL SCHOOL
An indispensable part of any serious study of procapitalist economic theory is a thorough, first-hand knowledge of the British Classical economists, i.e., the school principally comprising Adam Smith, David Ricardo, James Mill, John R. McCulloch, John Stuart Mill, and John E. Cairnes. The ideas of these men dominated educated opinion on economic matters in the Western World in the century following 1776 (the date of the publication of The Wealth of Nations as well as of the American Revolution). This was the period in history most closely approximating laissez-faire capitalism, and the classical economists deserve much of the credit for it.
As I showed in Chapter 11, the writings of the Classical economists contain a number of gross errors, disasasrous formulations, and major contradictions. Nevertheless, the fundamental principles set forth in their writings are correct and constitute an essential contribution to economic theory. As I also showed in Chapter 11, when properly understood, their ideas, far from being the foundation of Marxism, as is generally believed, provide the basis for the most powerful refutation of Marxism, as well as lay the foundation for powerful critiques of Keynesianism and the pure-and- perfect and imperfect-competition doctrines. Much of the present book is a testimony to the importance of their work, indeed, to the fact that their ideas are an essential part of the core around which economic science must be built.
In order to understand the Classical economists, it is necessary to read all of the Classical authors I have named, not just one or two. This entails a certain amount of repetition, but the repetition will serve to cement one’s understanding. The two main Classical economists are Smith and Ricardo. Ricardo, however, is especially difficult. I suggest, therefore, reading McCulloch and the two Mills before Ricardo, or giving Ricardo a second try after reading these authors.
Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations. London, 1776. Reprint of Cannan edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2 vols. in 1, 1976.
David Ricardo, Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, 3d ed. London: 1821. This work has been reprinted as vol. I of The Works and Correspondence of David Ricardo. Edited by Piero Sraffa. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1962. The full Works and Correspondence contains eleven volumes and contains all of Ricardo’s writings, speeches, and correspondence with James Mill and McCulloch. Its publication spans the years 1952–1973. I recommend it highly.
James Mill Selected Economic Writings. Edited by Donald Winch. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966. This volume contains both Commerce Defended (London: 1808) and Elements of Political Economy, 3d ed. rev. (London: 1844). James Mill is usually greatly underrated. As I have said, he should be credited with the best and clearest exposition of “Say’s Law” extant—i.e., the demonstration of the impossibility of a general overproduction. His ideas on saving and capital are equally brilliant.
John R. McCulloch, Principles of Political Economy, 5th ed. London: 1864. Reprinted, New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1965. This is probably the simplest and best overall introduction to Classical economics available.
John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy, Ashley edition, 1909. Reprint. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1961. (I recommend Mill with mixed feelings because of his sympathy for socialism. Nevertheless, his writings on capital, demand, value and cost, and the overproduction doctrine are brilliant. These appear in Chapters III–VI of Book I and Chapters I–VI and Chapter XIV of Book III.)
John Stuart Mill, Essays on Some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy, 2d ed. London: 1874. Reprint. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1968.
John E. Cairnes, Some Leading Principles of Political Economy Newly Expounded. London: 1874. Reprint. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1967.
Offshoots of the British Classical School
Jean-Baptiste Say, A Treatise on Political Economy, 1st American Edition. Philadelphia: 1821. Reprint. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1971. (This was the most popular economics textbook in the United States in the decades prior to the Civil War.)
Nassau Senior, An Outline of the Science of Political Economy. London: 1836. Reprint. New York: Augustus M. Kelley.
Nassau Senior, Selected Writings on Economics, A Volume of Pamphlets 1827–1852. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1966.
Frederic Bastiat, Economic Sophisms. Translated from the French and edited by Arthur Goddard. Introduction by Henry Hazlitt. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1964. Reprint. Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: Foundation for Economic Education.
Frederic Bastiat, Selected Essays on Political Economy. Translated from the French by Seymour Cain. Edited by George B. de Huszar. Introduction by F. A. Hayek. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1964. (This volume contains the justly famous essay “The Law,” which demonstrates the inherently immoral nature of government intervention.) Reprint. Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: Foundation for Economic Education.
Frederic Bastiat, Economic Harmonies. Translated from the French by W. Hayden Boyers. Edited by George B. de Huszar. Introduction by Dean Russell. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1964. Reprint. Irvington-on-Hudson, New York: Foundation for Economic Education.
Charles Holt Carroll, Organization of Debt into Currency. Edited with an Introduction by Edward C. Simmons. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1964. This is a brilliant series of essays written between 1855 and 1879 showing how a fractional reserve monetary system causes depressions. Argues forcefully for a 100-percent-reserve gold standard.
RECENT OR CONTEMPORARY WRITINGS IN DEFENSE OF VARIOUS ASPECTS OF CAPITALISM
I apologize for the fact that the following list cannot be exhaustive and thus necessarily must omit some authors who, arguably, deserve to be included, and perhaps also omits some deserving titles by authors who have been included. This category, it must be noted, includes authors who, while defending various important aspects of capitalism, hold grossly inconsistent positions. As explained in the Introduction to this book, this is obviously true of Hayek, Friedman, and Rothbard, for example. It can be safely left to the intelligent reader to detect such further cases of inconsistency on his own.
The Road to Serfdom. Chicago: 1944. Reprint. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Phoenix Books.
Capitalism and the Historians. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954.
Prices and Production. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1931.
Profits, Interest, and Investment. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1939.
The Pure Theory of Capital. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press, 1941.
Individualism and Economic Order. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948.
Monetary Theory and the Trade Cycle. Translated from the German by N. Kaldor. New York: 1933. Reprint. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1966.
Editor, Collectivist Economic Planning: Critical Studies on the Possibility of Socialism. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1935. Reprint. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1975.
The Balance of Payments: Free Versus Fixed Exchange Rates. Coauthor Robert V. Roosa. Washington, D. C. American Enterprise Institute, 1967.
Capitalism and Freedom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.
Free to Choose. Coauthor Rose Friedman. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980.
The Great Contraction 1929–1933. Coauthor Anna Jacobson Schwartz. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965.
A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960. Coauthor Anna Jacobson Schwartz. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963.
The Bases of Collective Action. New York: General
Learning Press, 1971.
The Consequences of Mr. Keynes: An Analysis of the Misuse of Economic Theory for Political Profiteering, with Proposals for Constitutional Disciplines. Coauthors Richard E. Wagner and John Burton. London: Institute of Economic Affairs, 1978.
Cost and Choice: An Inquiry in Economic Theory. Chicago: 1969. Reprint. University of Chicago Press, 1978.
The Demand and Supply of Public Goods. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1968.
Democracy in Deficit: The Political Legacy of Lord
Keynes. Coauthor Richard E. Wagner. New York: Academic Press, 1977.
William H. Hutt
The Economics of the Colour Bar: A Study of the Economic Origins and Consequences of Racial Segregation in South Africa. London: A. Deutsch, 1964.
The Keynesian Episode: A Reassessment. Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1979.
Keynesianism—Retrospect and Prospect: A Critical Restatement of Basic Economic Principles. Chicago: Henry Regnery, 1963.
Politically Impossible—?: An Essay on the Supposed Electoral Obstacles Impeding the Translation of Economic Analysis into Policy. London: Institute of Economic Affairs, 1971.
The Strike-Threat System: The Economic Consequences of Collective Bargaining. New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House: 1973.
The Theory of Collective Bargaining: A History, Analysis, and Criticism. Glencoe, Illinois: 1954. Reprint. San Francisco: Cato Institute, 1980.
The Theory of Idle Resources, 2d ed. Indianapolis: Liberty Press, 1977.
An Essay on Capital. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1966.
Competition and Entrepreneurship. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1973.
The Economic Point of View. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1960.
Market Theory and the Price System. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1963.
Perception, Opportunity, and Profit. Chicago. University of Chicago Press, 1979.
America’s Great Depression. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1963.
For a New Liberty. New York: Macmillan, 1973.
Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles, 2 vols. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1962. This book should definitely not be used as a substitute for von Mises’s Human Action, all claims and recommendations to the contrary notwithstanding.
What Has Government Done to Our Money? Novato, California: Libertarian Publishers, 1978. This booklet is a brilliantly clear analysis of government intervention into money, which, uncharacteristically, is not marred by any major contradictions on the author’s part.
Age of Inflation. Belmont, Massachusetts: 1979. Reprint. Grove City, Pennsylvania: Libertarian Press.
Death and Taxes. Washington, D. C.: Heritage Foundation, 1976. Reprint. Grove City, Pennsylvania: Libertarian Press.
Debts and Deficits. Grove City, Pennsylvania: Libertarian Press.
The Politics of Unemployment. Grove City, Pennsylvania: Libertarian Press, 1987.
Economics on Trial: Lies, Myths, and Realities. Homewood, Illinois: Business One Irwin, 1991.
The 100% Gold Standard: Economics of a Pure Money Commodity. Washington, D. C.: University Press of America, 1977.
The Structure of Production. New York: New York University Press, 1990.
Government, Regulation, and the Economy. Lexington, Massachusetts: Lexington Books, 1980.
Economic Liberties and the Constitution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980.
Land Use Without Zoning. Lexington, Massachusetts: Lexington Books, 1972.
Other People’s Property. Lexington, Massachusetts: Lexington Books, 1976.
The Supreme Court’s Constitution: An Inquiry into Judicial Review and Its Impact on Society. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Books, 1987.
The Economics and Politics of Race: An International Perspective. New York: Morrow, 1983.
Markets and Minorities. New York: Basic Books, 1981.
Race and Economics. New York: D. McKay, 1975.
America, A Minority Viewpoint. Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press, 1982.
Black America and Organized Labor: A Fair Deal? Coauthors Loren Smith and Wendell Gunn. Washington, D. C.: Lincoln Institute for Research and Education, 1979.
South Africa’s War Against Capitalism. New York: Praeger, 1989.
The State Against Blacks. New York: New Press, 1982.
Youth and Minority Unemployment. Stanford, California: Hoover Institution Press, 1977.
Pamphlets by George Reisman
Capitalism: The Cure for Racism. Laguna Hills, California: The Jefferson School of Philosophy, Economics, and Psychology, 1992. An explanation of how capitalism and the unhampered profit motive achieve equal pay for equal work and operate against all aspects of racial prejudice in the marketplace, and how the unjust treatment of blacks in contemporary American society is the result of the mixed economy, not of capitalism.
Education and the Racist Road to Barbarism. Laguna Hills, California: The Jefferson School of Philosophy, Economics, and Psychology, 1992. An explanation of the nature and universal value of Western civilization, and why the efforts to replace its teaching with “Afrocentric” and “Latino-centric” studies are based on racism and imply the destruction of education.
The Real Right to Medical Care Versus Socialized Medicine. Laguna Hills, California: The Jefferson School of Philosophy, Economics, and Psychology, 1994. This 44-page pamphlet upholds the rational right to buy all the medical care one wishes from willing providers. It shows how the displacement of this right by the pseudo-right to medical care based on need has created all aspects of the medical crisis. The pamphlet shows not only how a free market in medical care would solve the medical crisis and make medical care progressively better and more affordable, but also what specific steps need to be taken to achieve such a free market. It is full of powerful intellectual ammunition designed to enable the advocates of individual rights and economic freedom to take the offensive on this vital issue.
George Reisman is also the author of The Government Against the Economy. Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books, 1979. As noted elsewhere, this book is incorporated in the present volume as Chapters 6–8.
BASIC PROCAPITALIST READINGS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
John Locke, Second Treatise on Civil Government. Many editions. The basic political documents of the United States should be read in conjunction with Locke—i.e., The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution.
Wilhelm von Humboldt, On the Sphere and Duties of Government. London, 1854.
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State. Caldwell, Idaho: The Caxton Printers, 1969.
On this subject, see also, above, Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.
READINGS ON SELECTED SUBJECTS
(Note: the introductory paragraphs of Section 6 of this bibliography apply here.)
Jerry Kirkpatrick, In Defense of Advertising. Westport, Connecticut: Quorum Books, 1994.
Yale Brozen, ed., Advertising and Society. New York: New York University Press, 1974.
The Ecology Movement
Jay Lehr, ed., Rational Readings on Environmental Concerns. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992. (This volume includes George Reisman, “The Toxicity of Environmentalism” as its summary chapter.)
Dixie Lee Ray and Lou Guzzo, Trashing the Planet: How Science Can Help Us Deal with Acid Rain, Depletion of the Ozone, and Nuclear Waste (Among Other Things). Washington, D. C., Regnery/Gateway, 1990.
On this subject, see also, above, Ayn Rand, The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution.
Aspects of Government Intervention
C. Pasour, Jr., Agriculture and the State, Oakland, California: The Independent Institute, 1995.
William Mitchell and Randy Simmons, Beyond Politics. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press for The Independent Institute, 1994.
Tibor Machan, Private Rights & Public Illusions. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers for the Independent Institute, 1995.
John W. Sommer, ed., The Academy in Crisis. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers for the Independent Institute, 1995.
Richard Vedder and Lowell Gallaway, Out of Work. New York: Holmes & Meier for The Independent Institute, 1993.
The Monopoly Myth
D. T. Armentano, Antitrust and Monopoly. Oakland, California: The Independent Institute, 1996.
Yale Brozen, Is Government the Source of Monopoly? and Other Essays. San Francisco: Cato Institute, 1980.
Wayne A. Leeman, “The Limitations of Local Price Cutting as a Barrier to Entry,” Journal of Political Economy, August 1956.
John S. McGee, “Predatory Price Cutting: The Standard Oil (N. J.) Case,” The Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 1, October 1958.
Robert G. Kaiser, Russia. New York: Atheneum, 1976.
Hedrick Smith, The Russians. New York: Quadrangle Books, 1976.
Anatoly Marchenko, My Testimony. New York: Dutton, 1969.
G. Warren Nutter, The Strange World of Ivan Ivanov. New York: The World Publishing Company, 1969.
Paul Craig Roberts, Alienation and the Soviet Economy. New York: Holmes & Meier for the Independent Institute, 1990.
Some of the following works, especially those of Jevons, are valuable, though badly mixed. Others are so badly muddled as to be worthless, despite their great reputations. In any case, an expert knowledge of economics requires familiarity with them.
William Stanley Jevons, Theory of Political Economy, 4th ed. London: Macmillan and Co., 1924. The book represents an original discovery of the law of diminishing marginal utility, but is an overreaction to the labor theory of value held by the classical economists. It claims Ricardo “shunted economics onto the wrong track.”
William Stanley Jevons, The State in Relation to Labour. London: Macmillan, 1882. This book is philosophically corrupt. It openly abandons the principle of laissez faire and attacks arguments based on abstract principles of rights. It is nevertheless valuable for a devastating analysis of labor unions.
Léon Walras, Elements of Pure Economics. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1969. Originally published in French in 1874, this book is famous for an original discovery of the law of diminishing marginal utility roughly coinciding with its discovery by Menger and Jevons. However, it is one of the early works of mathematical economics, and thus helped to set the stage for severing economic theory from reality by introducing the needless complications of higher mathematics.
Philip H. Wickstead, The Common Sense of Political Economy, rev. enl. ed., 2 vols. London: 1933. Reprint. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1967.
Alfred Marshall, Principles of Economics. 8th ed. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1920. An extremely diffuse, confused book, which, among other things, helped to set the stage for the theory of “pure and perfect competition” that I criticized in Chapter 10. Marshall was the teacher of Keynes.
John Bates Clark, The Distribution of Wealth. New York, Macmillan, 1938. This book contains the original exposition of the theory of diminishing marginal productivity, which it propounds far more cogently than today’s textbooks. Nevertheless, the basic argument is weak and its
exposure is used to discredit capitalism.
Frank H. Knight, Risk, Uncertainty, and Profit. Boston, 1921. This work is another major source of the pure and perfect competition doctrine.
Irving Fisher, The Rate of Interest. New York, 1907, and The Theory of Interest. Reprint. New York: Augustus M. Kelley, 1954. Fisher advances a host of wrong or confused ideas about profit and interest that helped to pave the way for Keynes.
THE ENEMIES OF CAPITALISM
I include this group because an advocate of capitalism should have a first hand knowledge of the ideas of its enemies.
Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto. Chicago: Henry Regnery Co., 1954.
Karl Marx, Das Kapital. vol. I, New York: The Modern Library, 1937.
J.M. Keynes, The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money. New York, Harcourt Brace, 1936.
Joan Robinson, The Economics of Imperfect Competition. London: Macmillan and Co., 1933.
Edward Chamberlin, Theory of Monopolistic Competition, 6th ed. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1950. This is a second source of the oligopoly/monopolistic-competition doctrine.
Benjamin E. Lippencott, ed., On the Economic Theory of Socialism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1938. Contains the attempts of Lange and Taylor to overturn von Mises’s proof that economic calculation under socialism is impossible.
John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1958. This book is included only because of its popularity and Galbraith’s continuing influence. It is one of the least intellectually significant attacks on capitalism I know of. See my review, “Galbraith’s Modern Brand of Prussian Feudalism,” Human Events, February 2, 1961.
John Kenneth Galbraith, The New Industrial State, 2d ed. rev. New York: New American Library, 1971.
Joseph P. McKenna, Aggregate Economic Analysis, 5th ed. Hinsdale, Illinois: Dryden Press, 1977. A comparatively clear exposition of the essential ideas of Keynes. The first or second edition is the most preferable because of greater simplicity in comparison with later editions.
Paul Samuelson and William Nordhaus, Economics. 13th ed. or previous editions. Englewood-Cliffs, New Jersey: McGraw-Hill, 1989. This is the leading “textbook case” of the exposition of economic fallacies and anticapitalist doctrines.
Dudley Dillard, Economic Development of the North Atlantic Community. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1967. If there is any fallacy that Samuelson has managed to avoid, it can probably be found in this book.
A FURTHER WORD ON READINGS
My list has omitted the names of such eminent economists as Wicksell Fetter, Edgeworth, and Pareto, and men of even greater stature, such as Adam Smith’s predecessors Quesnay, Dupont, and Turgot, i.e., the French Physiocrats. The interested student will come across many references to these men as he reads the works I have recommended.
For the purpose of rounding out one’s knowledge as soon as possible, it pays to read a history of economic thought early on. I recommend the one I found most helpful, and which I used shortly after beginning my own study of economics. It is: Frank A. Neff, Economic Doctrines, 2d ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1950.
The best way to learn the history of economic thought in depth, however, is to read the great economists themselves on their predecessors, for example, Adam Smith on the Physiocrats and the Mercantilists, in The Wealth of Nations.