Current Financial Crisis
Meltdown – Thomas E. Woods, Jr. (2009) - “A Free Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse.” We have a congressional committee investigating the “causes” of the crisis. Woods outlines the exact cause in less than 200 pages. If you are interested in the truth about the financial crisis and want to learn the basics of sound economic theory, this book is for you. Be warned, anyone who thinks the government is helping things will probably be offended. Woods does not hold back in placing the blame squarely where it belongs.
Crash Proof 2.0 – Peter Schiff (2009) – This is a great read for investors or anyone looking to get a handle on the current economy. Written in 2006, Crash Proof predicted the coming collapse with precise accuracy. Schiff updated Crash Proof and released version 2.0 in 2009 which includes additional commentary along with the original text. Schiff discusses history, economic theory, and investment strategy in simple, easy to understand language. Plus, this book is entertaining. Search YouTube for “peter schiff was right” to get an idea of the character of this guy.
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand (1957) - Atlas Shrugged is arguably the greatest novel ever committed to paper. Well worth the 1200 page investment, this book changes lives. According to a 1991 survey by the Library of Congress and the Book of the Month Club, Atlas Shrugged was second only to the Bible as having the greatest influence on readers. In this magnum opus written fifty years ago, Rand brilliantly outlines her philosophy of Objectivism in a fictional setting that is strikingly parallel to America today. I have yet to come across a better articulation of how the world works. This is a must read.
The Virtue of Selfishness - Ayn Rand (1964) – This collection of essays by Ayn Rand and Nathaniel Branden is a great introduction into the only ethic compatible with man's life – rational egoism. The meaning of selfishness and egoism has largely come to be associated with sacrificing others for one's own desires. Rand and Branden restore the true meaning of rational selfishness in proper context. They illustrates the utter destruction associated with selflessness and collectivized rights and show that the concept of sacrifice is not compatible with egoism or life. Highly recommended as a complement to Atlas Shrugged. These essays take the ethical themes of Atlas Shrugged and make them tangible and explicit.
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal – Ayn Rand (1966) – This collection of essays by Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan (back when he thought he was an Objectivist), and Robert Hessen offers a moral defense of laissez-faire capitalism and the right to justly acquired private property. The authors apply the principles of the rational ethic to political philosophy. Capitalism is the only political /economic system compatible with man's life. Capitalism is not the system in America today - in fact it has never been fully achieved. This is because Capitalism has never been properly defended on moral grounds. These essays offer that much needed defense. After reading Atlas Shrugged and the Virtue of Selfishness, this book will have you looking at our political system in a whole new way.
The Law - Frédéric Bastiat (1850) – Bastiat defines a system of just laws and then illustrates how proper law facilitates a free society. The role of government according to Bastiat is to defend the right to individual life, liberty, and property. The link above is for a free download or you can purchase a copy of the book here.
The Road to Serfdom– F.A. Hayek (1944) – Hayek, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics (1974), outlines the unbreakable link between economic and political freedom (as well as economic and political serfdom). This book is a classic in the history of liberal ideals. According to Hayek, “Capitalism is the only system of economics compatible with human dignity, prosperity, and liberty. To the extent we move away from that system, we empower the worst people in society to manage what they do not understand.”
Economics in One Lesson – Henry Hazlitt (1946) - If I wasn't so against compulsory education, I would say everyone should be forced to read this book...especially anyone trying to get a job in Washington. Hazlitt's lesson is simple: “The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.“ Regardless of one's understanding of economics, everyone will be able to appreciate and enjoy this book.
Man, Economy, and State (with Power and Market) – Murray Rothbard (1970) – According to Henry Hazlitt, this is “...the most important general treatise on economic principles since Ludwig von Mises's Human Action in 1949.” This is not a light read.
Human Action – Ludwig von Mises (1949) – In his magnum opus, Mises systematically outlines his methodology of applied logic to deduce a priori truths from the starting point of human action. Mises defends a case for laissez faire capitalism and argues that not only is the free-market economy more efficient than central planning, but it is essentially the foundation of human civilization. This is arguably the greatest treaties in human history.
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