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Journalist, author of Economics in One Lesson
Henry Hazlitt

Henry Stuart Hazlitt (28 November 1894 – 9 July 1993) was an American journalist who wrote about business and economics for such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Nation, The American Mercury, Newsweek and The New York Times. He is widely cited in both libertarian and conservative circles.


Hazlitt, Henry (1894-1993), by Bettina Bien Greaves, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical and bibliographical essay
Henry Hazlitt, a journalist, writer, and economist, was born in Philadelphia ... Having missed out on college, Hazlitt determined to study on his own ... Hazlitt's real economic education began with his study of Philip H. Wicksteed's The Common Sense of Political Economy, which introduced him to the subjective theory of value, only recently developed by Austrian economists Carl Menger and Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk. Hazlitt continued his self-study program and persisted in his ambition to write. His first book, Thinking as a Science, appeared in 1916 before his 22nd birthday.
Related Topics: Economics, Ethics, Ludwig von Mises


Henry Hazlitt - The Advocates
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28 Nov 1894, Henry Stuart Hazlitt, in Philadelphia


9 Jul 1993, in New York City


Laissez Faire Books
Journalist Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993) had a great gift for making economic liberty understandable to ordinary people. He also played an important role in the modern libertarian movement. He helped transmit the ideas of Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek to American readers. ... As a Newsweek columnist from 1946 to 1966, Hazlitt became America's best-known champion of libertarian views. Altogether, he produced 18 books and some 10,000 editorials, articles and columns. In November 1992, Laissez Faire Books published his last article, 'How I wrote Economics in One Lesson.'


The American Mercury, Editor, 1934
The Freeman, Editor, 2 October 1950-20 October 1952 and 23 February 1953-11 January 1954

Web Pages

The Advocates for Self-Government Henry Hazlitt
Includes photograph and biography from Laissez Faire Books
He worked for The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, then wrote editorials on economics for The New York Times. His front page New York Times book review write-up on F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom (1944) helped propel it onto the bestseller list. He helped Mises, a newly-arrived immigrant, get published in The New York Times, and he helped find a publisher for Mises' books Omnipotent Government (1944), Bureaucracy (1944) and Human Action (1949). Hazlitt's first major book, Economics in One Lesson (1946), became a bestseller.


Biography of Benjamin Anderson (1886-1949), by Mark Thornton
Biographical and bibliographical essay
Benjamin Anderson ... criticized the older Austrian school's theory of individual marginal utility by emphasizing the importance of what Henry Hazlitt called the essential "social conditions which go to form both the individual's marginal valuations and prices in the Market." ... In 1917 he published a devastating critique of Irving Fisher's quantity theory of money, The Value of Money. ... Anderson constructed a "psychological" theory of money that emphasized the quality and the quantity of money and credit. Henry Hazlitt labeled the book "one of the classics of American economic writings."
Related Topic: Ludwig von Mises
Defending the Undefendable: Walter Block, Twenty Years Later, by Walter Block, Alberto Mingardi, Laissez Faire City Times, 7 Dec 1998
In addition to discussing Defending the Undefendable, covers issues such as entertainment, Ayn Rand, Hazlitt, the Libertarian Party and Murray Rothbard
What was the impact of Hazlitt's classic on you as an economist, and as a man?
My book Defending is modeled in Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson. You might almost say that Defending might have been called Libertarianism in One Lesson. Each book starts with a lesson (in my book: the libertarian non aggression axiom; in Hazlitt, the seen and the unseen) and give a few dozen examples. As a man, Hazlitt was a friend. My son, aged 10, wrote him a thank you letter after he finished reading the book, and Hazlitt was kind enough to reply.
Frederic Bastiat, Ingenious Champion for Liberty and Peace, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Jun 1997
Biographical essay of Frédéric Bastiat, covering those who influenced him as well as those influenced by him, his writings (including correspondence with his friend Coudroy), his roles in the French Constituent and Legistative Assemblies and his legacy
New York Times editorial writer Henry Hazlitt produced a book with the audacious title Economics in One Lesson (1946). "My greatest debt," Hazlitt acknowledged, "is Frederic Bastiat's essay, 'What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen,' now nearly a century old. The present work may, in fact, be regarded as a modernization, extension and generalization of the approach found in Bastiat's pamphlet." Economics in One Lesson has sold an estimated one million copies.
Henry Hazlitt, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., 1998
Biographical and bibliographical essay
Mr. Hazlitt—journalist, literary critic, economist, philosopher—was one of the most brilliant public intellectuals of our century ... [H]e often expressed surprise that Economics in One Lesson had become his most enduring contribution. He wrote it to expose the popular fallacies of its day. He did not know that those fallacies would be government policy for the duration of the century ... He once estimated that ... his collected works would run to 150 volumes. Hazlitt was not trained as an economist, although few scholars are as familiar with the relevant literature.
Henry Hazlitt: An Appreciation, by Roy Childs, Richard Ebeling, Nov 1985
Tribute to Hazlitt on his 91st birthday, reviews his career and works
His classic work, Economics in One Lesson (1946) has influenced three generations of both economists and the general public ... At the age of twenty he began work at The Wall Street Journal—as a stenographer, then as a proofreader, then, finally, as a reporter. Over the years, he worked as an editorial writer for various newspapers, including the New York Sun and the New York Times. He held the post of literary editor for The Nation. And he was H.L. Mencken's appointed successor to edit The American Mercury, which had become a major force in American life.
Henry Hazlitt - Hero of the Day, by Roy Childs, The Daily Objectivist, 2000
Biographical profile published by The Daily Objectivist; excerpted and revised from memorial essay by Roy Childs
Henry Hazlitt died on July 8, 1993, just sixteen months short of his one hundredth birthday. ... By any standard, he lived one hell of a life. ... From the 1930s on, he was a centerpiece in the burgeoning revival of classical liberal and free market thought, and was active in every way imaginable. He helped to bring together the group of activists, intellectuals and scholars who helped form the base of the Foundation for Economic Education in 1946, and the Mont Pelerin Society two years later. He was friendly with every major figure in the birth of the modern libertarian movement, from Ayn Rand to Leonard Read.
H. L. Mencken, America's Wittiest Defender of Liberty, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, Sep 1995
Biographical essay, highlighting Mencken's tenure at the Baltimore Sun, the books he authored, the founding and his work at the American Mercury monthly and his brief relationship with Sara Haardt
Mencken resigned as editor [of the American Mercury] by December 1933. He was succeeded by economic journalist Henry Hazlitt ... Mencken died in his sleep on Sunday, January 29, 1956 ... Mencken's former American Mercury compatriot, Newsweek columnist Henry Hazlitt, called Mencken "a great liberating force ... In his political and economic opinions Mencken was from the beginning, to repeat, neither 'radical' nor 'conservative,' but libertarian. He championed the freedom and dignity of the individual."
The Impoverishing Effects of Foreign Aid [PDF], by Manuel Ayau, Cato Journal, 1984
Analyzes the 1980s debt crisis, from the viewpoint of creditor and debtor countries, suggesting some solutions such as removing trade barriers, ending debtor government interventionist policies and creditor government foreign aid and subsidized bail-outs
In his book, Will Dollars Save the World? (1947, p. 29), Henry Hazlitt recalled the doubts that John Maynard Keynes raised about U.S. lending to Europe in 1919:
"... There is no guarantee that Europe will put financial assistance to proper use ... If I had the influence at the United States Treasury, I would not lend a penny to a single one of the present Governments of Europe."
"These are not the words of some American 'isolationist' in 1947," said Hazlitt, "They are words of the most influential British economist of the last generation."
Related Topics: Brazil, Capitalism, Economics, The State
Libertarianism: The Moral and the Practical, by Sheldon Richman, Future of Freedom, May 2014
Explores whether libertarian policies should distinguish between moral and practical concerns; revised version of "The Goal Is Freedom" column of 27 Dec 2013
The classic monkey wrench in the utilitarian machine is the question whether one person may morally be killed so that his harvested organs may save the lives of five others ... One response is along these lines: Yes, act, or direct, utilitarianism ... is indeed problematic. Therefore let us substitute for it rule, or indirect, utilitarianism, along the lines of Henry Hazlitt's Foundations of Morality, according to which it is rules, not acts, that are to be judged according to their tendency to create the greatest good, namely, by maximizing social cooperation.
Libertarian Thoughts Reborn, by John Hospers, 23 Aug 2003
Part of Walter Block's autobiography series; starts off with his grandparents, early life in Iowa, skepticism, astronomy, teaching at Columbia University and University of Minnesota, interacting with Ayn Rand, the 1972 LP nomination and parting thoughts
I had met Hazlitt before, when I had a chance to praise him for his Economics in One Lesson. We exchanged letters and phone calls occasionally around the time that he moved from Washington Square to Connecticut. Ayn had chastised him for not reviewing her Objectivist Ethics in his book on the welfare state. He responded that he didn't understand her views enough to comment publicly on them. She was less than pleased ... But I think their views were ultimately irreconcilable: Hazlitt was very much a utilitarian, and favored a laissez faire society simply because it had more total utility than any alternative.
Ludwig von Mises, socialism's greatest enemy, by Jim Powell, 2000
Lengthy biographical essay on Mises, including details on Menger and Böhm-Bawerk; alternate version of "Planned Chaos" chapter of The Triumph of Liberty (2000)
Within a month after he arrived in America, Mises gave New York Times financial editor Henry Hazlitt a call. Hazlitt had first encountered Mises' name when he was reading The Value of Money (1917) by Benjamin Anderson ... Hazlitt had reviewed the new English edition of Socialism in the January 9, 1938 New York Times ... Hazlitt remarked that he thought of Mises as a distant historic figure and was as amazed to get the call from Mises as he would have been to hear from John Stuart Mill ... Hazlitt encouraged Mises to write nine articles about the European situation ...
Reading the Literature of Liberty, by Roy A. Childs, Jr., May 1987
Childs' selection of "great books" on liberty and libertarianism, including works by Hazlitt, Bastiat, Rose Wilder Lane, Nock, Ayn Rand, Friedman, Hayek, Rothbard, Mises and Nozick
I always begin with Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt ... [He] gives example after example. You want to "cure unemployment," Hazlitt says, or protect American jobs from foreign competition. You favor some government program to do just that. The problem is, you are only looking at the program's obvious results; you aren't looking at its unintended consequences. Yet you must, in order to see the whole picture. In twenty-six chapters, Hazlitt will lead you through illustration after illustration of this basic principle, and show how those favored government programs do more harm than good.


The Early History of FEE, The Freeman, Mar 1984
Excerpted from Hazlitt's remarks at the Leonard E. Read Memorial Conference on Freedom, November 1983; reprinted in the May 2006 issue, including photos of early FEE senior staff
I've been invited to share some recollections about the early days of the Foundation for Economic Education. It must have been sometime in 1944 or 1945 that a handsome man dropped in to see me at the New York Times, ... and introduced himself as Leonard Read ...
The Freeman ... has become an imperative part of FEE's activities. But it seems to have displaced some of those special studies of current economic issues which I regard as an indispensable part of the program of a truly effective libertarian institution. I hope that this activity can soon be restored.
From Spencer's 1884 to Orwell's 1984, Man vs. The Welfare State, 1969
Chapter 23 of Man vs. The Welfare State; extensive review of Spencer's The Man versus the State comparing the 1880s to the contemporary (late 1960s) social and political environment
In 1884, Herbert Spencer wrote what quickly became a celebrated book, The Man versus the State. The book is seldom referred to now, and gathers dust on library shelves—if, in fact, it is still stocked by many libraries. Spencer's political views are regarded by most present-day writers ... as "extreme laissez faire" ...
It is more than a grim coincidence that Spencer was warning of the coming slavery in 1884, and that George Orwell, in our time, has predicted that the full consummation of this slavery will be reached in 1984, exactly one century later.
The Sphere of Government: Nineteenth Century Theories: 1. John Stuart Mill, The Freeman, Jan 1980
Critiques John Stuart Mill's ideas on what are the "necessary" and "optional" functions of government
I remarked in "The Case for the Minimal State" (The Freeman, November 1979) that we might get some help in dealing with the central problems of government power by examining the answers offered over the years by the great political thinkers. But I suggested it might be more interesting to do this rather in the reverse of their chronological order ... [O]n the central question of what ought to be the limits of government power, [Mill] clearly granted too much. He left unanswered the great problem: How can we retain interventionist democratic government and yet prevent majority rule from degenerating into mob rule?


Mises's Bibliographer: An Interview with Bettina Bien Greaves, by Bettina Bien Greaves, Austrian Economics Newsletter, 1998
Topics discussed include: Ludwig von Mises, the Mises bibliography project, language knowledge, Leonard Read, Henry Hazlitt, Human Action, the business cycle and her husband's Pearl Harbor book
GREAVES: ... Hazlitt helped considerably with [Bureaucracy and Omnipotent Government], editing and getting them published by Yale University Press. Then Hazlitt encouraged Yale to ask Mises to redo in English his German-language Nationalökonomie. When Human Action was in manuscript form he went over it and marked it up, trying to smooth out the English. Later when reading over the published edition, Hazlitt occasionally came across some awkwardly phrased passages. Whether Mises rejected Hazlitt's suggestions, I just don't know.

Books Authored

The Conquest of Poverty, 1973
Partial contents: The Problem of Poverty - Defining Poverty - The Distribution of Income - Poor Relief in Ancient Rome - The Poor Laws of England - The Ballooning Welfare State - The Fallacy of "Providing Jobs" - Why Socialism Doesn't Work
The Critics of Keynesian Economics
    by Henry Hazlitt (editor), 1960
Collection of essays by Jean-Baptiste Say, John Stuart Mill, Frank H. Knight, F. A. Hayek, Benjamin M. Anderson, Garet Garrett, Ludwig von Mises, Wilhelm Röpke, W. H. Hutt, Jacob Viner, Etienne Mantoux, Franco Modigliani, Arthur F. Burns and others
Related Topic: Economics
Economics in One Lesson, 1946
Partial contents: The Lesson - The Broken Window - The Blessings of Destruction - Public Works Mean Taxes - Taxes Discourage Production - Credit Diverts Production - The Curse of Machinery - Spread-the-Work Schemes - Disbanding Troops and Bureaucrats
Related Topic: Economics
The Foundations of Morality, 1964
Partial contents: The Mystery of Morals - Pleasure as the End - Satisfaction and Happiness - Social Cooperation - Ethics and Law - Traffic Rules and Moral Rules - Duty for Duty's Sake - "The Law of Nature" - Ethical Skepticism - The Ethics of Capitalism
Gold, Peace, and Prosperity: The Birth of a New Currency
    by Ron Paul, Henry Hazlitt (foreword), Murray N. Rothbard (preface), 1981
Man vs. The Welfare State, 1969
Partial contents: Instant Utopia - "We Owe It To Ourselves" - Price Controls - Who Protects the Consumer? - Can We Guarantee Jobs? - Soaking the Rich - Inflation is Worldwide - The Case for the Gold Standard - The Fallacy of Foreign Aid
Rules for Living: The Ethics of Social Cooperation
    by Bettina Bien Greaves (editor), Henry Hazlitt, 1964
An abridgement of The Foundations of Morality; partial contents: Social Cooperation - Traffic Rules and Moral Rules - The Problem of Self-Sacrifice - Absolutism vs. Relativism - The Ethics of Capitalism - The Ethics of Socialism
  • ISBN 1572460768: Paperback, Foundation for Econ Education, 1st edition, 1999


Economics In One Lesson: Chapter 1, by Amanda BillyRock, 1 Jun 2013
An instructive hand-drawn animation based on Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson, chapter 1, "The Lesson"
Related Topic: Economics

Leonard Liggio on the Rise of the Modern American Libertarian Movement, by Jacob G. Hornberger, Leonard Liggio, 9 Mar 1995
Talk given at Vienna Coffee Club (Future of Freedom Foundation). Liggio starts off with the New Deal and covers many events and individuals both at the core and the periphery of the modern libertarian movement

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Henry Hazlitt" as of 29 Jun 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.