The Way the World Works


Jude Wanniski - 1978
    Writing with a simplicity and liveliness uncommon to his subject, Wanniski offers a fresh general theory of the world's political evolution that explains how and why economies fail and succeed, now and as far as we can imagine.

A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism: Economics, Politics, and Ethics


Hans-Hermann Hoppe - 1988
    He argued that there are only two possible archetypes in economic affairs: socialism and capitalism. All systems are combinations of those two types. The capitalist model he defines as pure protection of private property, free association, and exchange — no exceptions. All deviations from that ideal are species of socialism, with public ownership and interference with trade.Within the structure of socialism, he distinguishes between left and right versions. "Conservative" socialism favors high regulation, behavioral controls, protectionism, and nationalism. The "liberal" version tends more toward outright public ownership and redistribution.The consequences of socialism vary based on their degree and kind, but they have similarities: high costs, resource waste, low growth.This treatise has long been out of print, but is now available again for use in comparative-systems classes and for an orientation to the theory of economic systems. The theoretical apparatus is Rothbardian to the core, and its main contribution is to provide an organizing principle for understanding the structure of real-world economies as measured against pure types.A tour de force.To search for Mises Institute titles, enter a keyword and LvMI (short for Ludwig von Mises Institute); e.g., Depression LvMI

Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us


John Quiggin - 2010
    The recent financial crisis laid bare many of the assumptions behind market liberalism--the theory that market-based solutions are always best, regardless of the problem. For decades, their advocates dominated mainstream economics, and their influence created a system where an unthinking faith in markets led many to view speculative investments as fundamentally safe. The crisis seemed to have killed off these ideas, but they still live on in the minds of many--members of the public, commentators, politicians, economists, and even those charged with cleaning up the mess. In "Zombie Economics," John Quiggin explains how these dead ideas still walk among us--and why we must find a way to kill them once and for all if we are to avoid an even bigger financial crisis in the future."Zombie Economics" takes the reader through the origins, consequences, and implosion of a system of ideas whose time has come and gone. These beliefs--that deregulation had conquered the financial cycle, that markets were always the best judge of value, that policies designed to benefit the rich made everyone better off--brought us to the brink of disaster once before, and their persistent hold on many threatens to do so again. Because these ideas will never die unless there is an alternative, "Zombie Economics" also looks ahead at what could replace market liberalism, arguing that a simple return to traditional Keynesian economics and the politics of the welfare state will not be enough--either to kill dead ideas, or prevent future crises.

When the Money Runs Out: The End of Western Affluence


Stephen D. King - 2013
    But such an era of continuously rising living standards is a historical anomaly, economist Stephen D. King warns, and the current stagnation of Western economies threatens to reach crisis proportions in the not-so-distant future. Praised for the “dose of realism” he provided in his book Losing Control, King follows up in this volume with a plain-spoken assessment of where the West stands today. It’s not just the end of an age of affluence, he shows. We have made promises to ourselves that are achievable only through ongoing economic expansion. The future benefits we expect—pensions, healthcare, and social security, for example—may be larger than tomorrow’s resources. And if we reach that point, which promises will be broken and who will lose out? The lessons of history offer compelling evidence that political and social upheaval are often born of economic stagnation. King addresses these lessons with a multifaceted plan that involves painful—but necessary—steps toward a stable and just economic future.

The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America


Oren Cass - 2018
    Galston, The Brookings InstitutionThe American worker is in crisis. Wages have stagnated for more than a generation. Reliance on welfare programs has surged. Life expectancy is falling as substance abuse and obesity rates climb.These woes are not the inevitable result of irresistible global and technological forces. They are the direct consequence of a decades-long economic consensus that prioritized increasing consumption--regardless of the costs to American workers, their families, and their communities. Donald Trump's rise to the presidency focused attention on the depth of the nation's challenges, yet while everyone agrees something must change, the Left's insistence on still more government spending and the Right's faith in still more economic growth are recipes for repeating the mistakes of the past.In this groundbreaking re-evaluation of American society, economics, and public policy, Oren Cass challenges our basic assumptions about what prosperity means and where it comes from to reveal how we lost our way. The good news is that we can still turn things around--if the nation's proverbial elites are willing to put the American worker's interests first.Which is more important, pristine air quality, or well-paying jobs that support families? Unfettered access to the cheapest labor in the world, or renewed investment in the employment of Americans? Smoothing the path through college for the best students, or ensuring that every student acquires the skills to succeed in the modern economy? Cutting taxes, expanding the safety net, or adding money to low-wage paychecks?The renewal of work in America demands new answers to these questions. If we reinforce their vital role, workers supporting strong families and communities can provide the foundation for a thriving, self-sufficient society that offers opportunity to all.

Scandinavian Unexceptionalism: Culture, Markets and the Failure of Third-Way Socialism (Readings in Political Economy)


Nima Sanandaji - 2015
    It is also vital that Scandinavians themselves read this book to help them understand the market reforms that are essential for a successful future.

The Chastening: Inside The Crisis That Rocked The Global Financial System And Humbled The IMF


Paul Blustein - 2001
    Based on hundreds of interviews with officials at the IMF, the World Bank, the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve, the White House, and many foreign governments, The Chastening offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Fund during an extraordinarily turbulent period in modern economic history and at a time when the IMF has become the object of intense political controversy. While the IMF and its overseers at the Treasury and the Fed have sought to cultivate an image of economic masterminds coolly dispensing effective economic remedies, the reality is that as markets were sinking and defaults looming, the guardians of global financial stability were often floundering, improvising, and feuding among themselves. The Chastening casts serious doubt on the IMF's ability to combat of investor panics at a time when massive flows of money traverse borders and oceans. A readable, compelling account of the deeply flawed workings of the international political system, The Chastening is vital reading for students and scholars of international diplomacy, government, and economic and public policy.

The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought


Jerry Z. Muller - 2002
    Philosophers, politicians, poets and social scientists have debated the cultural, moral, and political effects of capitalism for centuries, and their claims have been many and diverse. The Mind and the Market is a remarkable history of how the idea of capitalism has developed in Western thought.Ranging across an ideological spectrum that includes Hobbes, Voltaire, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Hegel, Marx, and Matthew Arnold, as well as twentieth-century communist, fascist, and neoliberal intellectuals, historian Jerry Muller examines a fascinating thread of ideas about the ramifications of capitalism and its future implications. This is an engaging and accessible history of ideas that reverberate throughout everyday life.

One World, Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism


William Greider - 1997
    must take to lead the world economy onwards.

A Failure of Capitalism: The Crisis of '08 and the Descent Into Depression


Richard A. Posner - 2009
    How could it have happened, especially after all that we've learned from the Great Depression? Why wasn't it anticipated so that remedial steps could be taken to avoid or mitigate it? What can be done to reverse a slide into a full-blown depression? Why have the responses to date of the government and the economics profession been so lackluster? Richard Posner presents a concise and non-technical examination of this mother of all financial disasters and of the, as yet, stumbling efforts to cope with it. No previous acquaintance on the part of the reader with macroeconomics or the theory of finance is presupposed. This is a book for intelligent generalists that will interest specialists as well.Among the facts and causes Posner identifies are: excess savingsflowing in from Asia and the reckless lowering of interest rates by theFederal Reserve Board; the relation between executive compensation, short-term profit goals, and risky lending; the housing bubble fuelled bylow interest rates, aggressive mortgage marketing, and loose regulations; the low savings rate of American people; and the highly leveraged balance sheets of large financial institutions.Posner analyzes the two basic remedial approaches to the crisis, which correspond to the two theories of the cause of the Great Depression: the monetarist--that the Federal Reserve Board allowed the money supply to shrink, thus failing to prevent a disastrous deflation--and the Keynesian--that the depression was the product of a credit binge in the 1920's, a stock-market crash, and the ensuing downward spiral in economic activity. Posner concludes that the pendulum swung too far and that our financial markets need to be more heavily regulated.Read Richard Posner's blog, and his latest article in The Atlantic.

Controversial Essays


Thomas Sowell - 2002
    One of conservatism's most articulate voices dissects today's most important economic, racial, political, education, legal, and social issues, sharing his entertaining and thought-provoking insights on a wide range of contentious subjects.

Mises: The Last Knight of Liberalism


Jörg Guido Hülsmann - 2007
    It has the apparatus of a great scholarly work but the drama of a classic novel. Ludwig von Mises’s colleagues in Europe called him the “last knight of liberalism” because he was the champion of an ideal of liberty they consider dead and gone in an age of central planning and socialism of all varieties. During his lifetime, they were largely correct. And thus the subtitle of this book. But he was not deterred in any respect: not in his scientific work, not in his writing or publishing, and not in his relentless fight against every form of statism. Born in 1881, he taught in Europe and the Americas during his century, and died in 1973 before the dawn of a new epoch that would validate his life and ideals in the minds of millions of people around the world. The last knight of liberalism triumphed.

Beyond Outrage: What has gone wrong with our economy and our democracy, and how to fix it


Robert B. Reich - 2012
    Reich urges Americans to get beyond mere outrage about the nation’s increasingly concentrated wealth and corrupt politics in order to mobilize and to take back our economy and democracy.Americans can’t rely only on getting good people elected, Reich argues, because nothing positive happens in Washington unless good people outside Washington are organized to help make those things happen after the election. But in order to be effectively mobilized, we need to see the big picture. Reich connects the dots for us, showing why the increasing share of income and wealth going to the top has hobbled jobs and growth for everyone else, while undermining our democracy; has caused Americans to become increasingly cynical about public life; and has turned many Americans against one another. He also explains why the proposals of the “regressive right” are dead wrong and provides a clear road map for what must be done instead. Here is a blueprint for action for everyone who cares about the future of America.

The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else


Hernando de Soto - 2000
    Every developed nation in the world at one time went through the transformation from predominantly informal, extralegal ownership to a formal, unified legal property system. In the West we've forgotten that creating this system is also what allowed people everywhere to leverage property into wealth. This persuasive book will revolutionize our understanding of capital and point the way to a major transformation of the world economy.

The Finance Curse: How Global Finance Is Making Us All Poorer


Nicholas Shaxson - 2013
    He then gained prominence as an expert on tax havens, revealing the dark corners of that world long before the scandals of the Panama and Paradise Papers. Now, in The Finance Curse, revised with chapters exclusive to this American edition, he takes us on a terrifying journey through the world economy, exposing tax havens, monopolists, megabanks, private equity firms, Eurobond traders, lobbyists, and a menagerie of scoundrels quietly financializing our entire society, hurting both business and individuals. Shaxson shows we got here, telling the story of how finance re-engineered the global economic order in the last half-century, with the aim not of creating wealth but extracting it from the underlying economy. Under the twin gospels of "national competitiveness" and "shareholder value," megabanks and financialized corporations have provoked a race to the bottom between states to provide the most subsidized environment for big business, have encouraged a brain drain into finance, and have fostered instability, inequality, and turned a blind eye to the spoils of organized crime. From Ireland to Iowa, Shaxson shows the insidious effects of financialization on our politics and on communities who were promised paradise but got poverty wages instead.We need a strong financial system--but when it grows too big it becomes a monster. The Finance Curse is the explosive story of how finance got a stranglehold on society, and reveals how we might release ourselves from its grasp.