Study of the means that human beings use to satisfy their individually desired ends
See also:
  • FreedomPedia
  • Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.

    • Banking - The business of accepting deposits and lending money
    • Comparative Advantage, Law of - Economic tenet formulated by David Ricardo, also Law of Association
    • Economic Fallacies - Popular mistakes in reasoning about economic concepts
    • Economic Resources - Natural, human and man-made factors used in the production of goods and services
    • Economics, Austrian - The school of economic thought founded by Carl Menger
    • Economics Books - Books on economics subjects
    • Economic Systems - Economic, social and political forms of societal organization
    • Economists - Students and teachers of economics
    • Inflation - Popularly, a rise in prices of goods and services; in economics, monetary expansion
    • Money - The most commonly used medium of exchange
    • Monopoly - Exclusive control by someone or some group of the means of producing or selling a good or service
    • No Free Lunch - TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
    • Prices - Convey information between buyers and sellers
    • Taxation - Compulsory contributions demanded by governments from individuals and other entities


    Economics is not about things and tangible material objects; it is about men, their meanings and actions.


    The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, by David R. Henderson (editor), 2002
    Online at the Library of Economics and Liberty and in print (1993, first edition, as The Fortune Encyclopedia of Economics, and 2007, second edition); includes over 150 articles on economics topics and more than 80 biographies of economists


    Economics - Online Library of Liberty
    Over 480 titles, including works by Adam Smith, Condillac, J. B. Say, Frédéric Bastiat, Richard Cobden, David Ricardo, J. S. Mill, Lysander Spooner, Gustave de Molinari, Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, F. A. Hayek, James Buchanan and Israel Kirzner


    A Biography of Henry Hazlitt, by Lew Rockwell, 1 Aug 2007
    Biographical and bibliographical essay
    "If you want to know where American supporters of free markets learned economics, take a look at Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt. A brilliant and pithy work first published in 1946, at a time of rampant statism at home and abroad, it taught millions the bad consequences of putting government in charge of economic life. College students all across America and the world still use it and learn from it. It may be the most popular economics text ever written. ... Hazlitt was not trained as an economist, although few scholars are as familiar with the relevant literature."
    Aristotle Understood the Importance of Property, by Richard Ebeling, 27 Sep 2016
    Discusses Aristotle's views on private property and property rights (contrasting them with those of Plato), the "ends" of human life, economics ("household management"), wealth acquisition, prices, money and related topics
    "Wealth, therefore, in Aristotle's view, is a legitimate subject for study as an essential means to the proper ends of man. Thus, we find in Aristotle a subject matter called oikonomik, or "household management." ... Aristotle classified "Economics," or "household-management," as a "natural" pursuit in that it is conduct proper and essential to human existence and the fulfillment of man's nature in developing his inherent potential for "good" as a human being. It incorporates both the production and consumption of wealth in attaining those "higher" ends. "
    A Tax Even Libertarians Could Love?, by Matt Zwolinski, 4 Mar 2016
    Discusses Henry George's proposal for a Single Tax and his moral and economic arguments in favor of the tax
    "... George ... also believed ... that [the Single Tax] was more economically efficient. Most taxes have a distortive effect on economic activity. A tax on income causes people to work less than they would if they simply followed the normal market forces of supply and demand. A tax on capital gains causes them to invest less. In short, any time you tax something people do, or anything that is produced by things that people do, then people are going to do less of that thing and produce what economists call 'deadweight losses.'"
    Book Note: Rothbard: Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles [PDF], by Manny Klausner, New York University Law Review, Jun 1963
    Review of Rothbard's economic treatise with emphasis on areas of interest to lawyers
    "Because economic issues underlie and permeate much of law and politics today, it is imperative that lawyers study and comprehend economics. ... That the content of many of the courses in the legal curriculum deals with government control and regulation of business illustrates the need for a closer association between law and economics. A study of the legal aspects of the antitrust laws, for example, is incomplete without a grasp of the underlying economic principles which are involved. Despite this manifest necessity for economic education ..., such training has been neglected in the curriculum of most American law schools."
    Areopagitica: Milton's Influence on Classical and Modern Political and Economic Thought, by Isaac M. Morehouse, 15 Dec 2009
    Discusses the four sections of Milton's pamphlet, the reasons for which and the environment in which it was published, and various lessons or parallels that can be made from an economic and political philosophy perspective
    "On a more abstract level, economists cannot isolate 'economic' behavior and policy from 'social' behavior and policy, and a robust study of economic relations requires an understanding of all human relations. ... Milton's work has something to teach economists, not only in its content, but in its style and strategy. Milton did not restrict his theories on free speech to scholarly journals. ... Economists who lament the lack of economic knowledge of the 'man on the street,' and the preponderance of antigrowth economic policy which results, have much to learn from Milton."
    Principles of Economics by Carl Menger, by Roger Ream, The Freeman, Feb 1982
    Review of Menger's Grundsätze der Volkswirtschaftslehre (Principles of Economics) which, although first published in German in 1871 was only translated to English in 1950
    "Menger began his formulations with a stress on methodology. He treated economics as a science: 'The phenomena of economic life, like those of nature, are ordered strictly in accordance with definite laws.' The purpose of the study of economics is to understand 'the conditions under which men engage in provident activity directed to the satisfaction of their needs.' Due to the scarcity of available means, especially time, but also labor and resource goods, individuals must choose which ends to attempt to satisfy. Menger calls this choosing 'economizing' and focuses his study on the economizing individual."
    Related Topic: Carl Menger
    Collected Works of Nassau William Senior, by Donald Rutherford (editor), 1998
    "Introduction" chapter of subject book, includes biographical and bibliographical information
    "'Commonsense', he observed, is a faulty guide in economic matters, as the examples of mercantilism and Napoleon's protectionism show. Instead what is needed is a political economy based on a few general propositions: 'Firstly. That wealth consists of all those things, and of those things only, which are transferable; which are limited in quantity; and which, directly or indirectly, produce pleasure or prevent pain or, to use an equivalent expression, which are susceptible of exchange; (including under exchange, hire, as well as absolute purchase;) or, to use a third equivalent expression, which have value. ...'"
    Complex Societies Need Simple Laws, by John Stossel, 15 Mar 2012
    Reflects on the "uncountable" number of laws and regulations in the United States as well as Britain, and elicits the views of Laozi, Hayek, Buchanan and Mises in favor of ending "the orgy of rule-making"
    "F.A. Hayek wisely said, 'The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.' Another Nobel laureate, James M. Buchanan, put it this way: 'Economics is the art of putting parameters on our utopias.' Barack Obama and his ilk in both parties don't want parameters on their utopias. They think the world is subject to their manipulation. That idea was debunked years ago [by] the great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises ..."
    Related Topics: Lǎozǐ, Law, Ludwig von Mises, Society
    Economics 101, by Walter E. Williams, 7 Jun 2000
    After describing some basic economics principles, examines worthwhile rationales for public-policy mandates such as setting a 5 mph national speed limit or requiring gun safety-locks to prevent child deaths from gun accidents
    "More than anything else, economics is a way of thinking. At the heart of economics are several simple and easily observable characteristics of humans and the world in which we live. The first is that people prefer more of those things that give them satisfaction and fewer of those things that give them dissatisfaction. Second, when the cost of something goes down, people tend to take or do more of it, and when the cost of something increases, people tend to take or do less of it. Finally, having more of one thing requires less of something else."
    Related Topics: Children, No Free Lunch
    Economics Is Fun, by Thomas Woods, 27 Apr 2007
    Review of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism by Robert P. Murphy
    "Plenty of people carelessly suppose that reading an economics book must be unspeakable drudgery. To the contrary, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism is great fun, written by a scholar with the ability to produce rigorous scholarly articles as well as to explain difficult concepts in an easy-to-understand way for the general public."
    Frédéric Bastiat: Two Hundred Years On, by Joseph R. Stromberg, 2001
    Extensive survey of Bastiat's life and writings
    "Sounding a great deal like Mises, Bastiat says that economics does not state, '"I urge you, I advise you, not to get too close to the fire"; or: "I have thought up a social order; the gods have inspired me to create institutions that will keep you far enough away from the fire." No; political economy notes that fire burns, announces the fact, proves it, and does the same for all similar phenomena of the moral or economic order, convinced that this is all that is necessary. It assumes than an unwillingness to be burned to death is a basic, innate attitude that it did not create and that it cannot alter'."
    Frederic Bastiat (1801-1850): Between the French and Marginalist Revolutions, by Thomas DiLorenzo
    Biographical and bibliographical essay which also analyzes Bastiat's ideas in relation to the Austrian School
    "The way in which Bastiat described economics ... is virtually identical to what modern Austrians label ... praxeology. Bastiat wrote ... how "The subject of political economy is MAN ... [who is] endowed with the ability to compare, judge, choose, and act.... This faculty ... to work for each other, to transmit their efforts and to exchange their services through time and space ... is precisely what constitutes Economic Science." ... Bastiat viewed economics as "the Theory of Exchange" where the desires of market participants "cannot be weighed or measured. ... Exchange is necessary in order to determine value.""
    Give Freedom Its Turn in Latin America, by Manuel Ayau, Imprimis, Nov 1984
    Paper given at Hillsdale College; argues that problems in Latin American countries are systemic and are due to a "lack of understanding of the economic principles and ethics of a free society"
    "These insights should not belong only to the domain of a lucky minority. Understanding how people work together in a free society in their quest for happiness and well-being deserves as much priority as the three R's. Economic illiteracy is the biggest obstacle to freedom, not only in Latin America, but throughout the world. I am speaking of basic concepts, not of elaborated and sophisticated fine points. The consequences of this illiteracy are tragic. And among the illiterates, I am refering to successful bankers, university professors, newspapermen, religious leaders, and so forth—not simply the masses."
    Give Me Liberty [PDF], by Rose Wilder Lane, 1936
    Originally published as an article titled "Credo" in the Saturday Evening Post; describes her experiences in and history of Soviet Russia and Europe, contrasting them with the history of the United States, emphasizing the individualist themes
    "Economics, however, is not concerned with abstract principles and general laws, but with material things ... Economic power in action is subject to an infinity of immediately unpredictable crises affecting material things; it is subject to drought, storm, flood, earthquake and pestilence, to fashion, and diseases, and insects, to the breaking down and the wearing out of machinery. And economics enters into the minute detail of each person's existence—into his eating, drinking, working, playing, and personal habits."
    Hazlitt, Henry (1894-1993), by Bettina Bien Greaves, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "In 1946, Hazlitt wrote and published his most popular book, Economics in One Lesson. It became a best-seller, was translated into 10 languages, and still sells thousands of copies each year. ... The Failure of the 'New Economics' contributed to a much more sophisticated understanding of the economics of the modern world. Chapter by chapter, he criticized John Maynard Keynes's The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, which explained why Keynes's politically popular inflationary recommendations would fail to solve unemployment, work against the revival trade, and even exacerbate the economic slump."
    How I Became a Libertarian and an Austrian Economist, by Richard Ebeling, 2 May 2016
    Autobiographical essay highlighting the people and events who influenced him in his path to libertarianism and Austrian economics
    "Going through every issue of these economics journals especially from the 1880s through the 1940s, and reading many of the articles by the various authors in each issue (not just Austrians) made it very clear to me that mainstream microeconomics and macroeconomics was a narrow and false conception of all that had been written and insightfully understood by a large number of economists, the vast majority of whom had gone down an Orwellian "memory hole." There had been a wonderful world of economics before John Maynard Keynes and Paul Samuelson."
    Illicit Drugs, by Bruce L. Benson, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Reviews various arguments made to justify the drug war (e.g., property crime, violence) versus the actual effects of prohibition (e.g., black markets, asset forfeiture)
    "For drug prohibition to prove a success, the laws of economics would have to be repealed. Large-scale interdiction of marijuana during the early 1980s had the predictable effect of increasing the price. Because the law of demand dictates that consumers will buy less when prices rise, it follows that they are more likely to turn to substitutes. One study found that young users drank more beer when the price of marijuana increased, which, in turn, led to more traffic fatalities. Another reported a precipitous increase in crystal methamphetamine use after a crop destruction program decimated Hawaii's marijuana supply."
    Immortal Keynes?, by Sheldon Richman, 23 May 2014
    Examines reasons for the continued acceptance of Keynes' economic prescriptions and contrasts them with those of Hayek and others
    "A related aspect of the Keynesian response to the Great Depression ... is the stunning lack of interest in what causes hard times. ... Paul Krugman praise[s] Keynes for not concerning himself with why the economy fell into depression in the first place. All that mattered was ending it. ... Hayek, Robbins, and Mises ... could explain the initial downturn in terms of the malinvestment induced by the central bank's creation of money and its low-interest-rate policies during the 1920s."
    Interview with Gary Becker, by Gary Becker, The Region, Jun 2002
    Topics include the economics of crime, economics and law, banking discrimination, economic education, social security, behavioral economics, sociology, career choices and moral hazards
    "Economics is an easy subject and a difficult subject at the same time. It is easy in the sense there are only a few principles ... and yet it's obviously very difficult. I have dealt a lot with Nobel laureates in physics, chemistry and other fields who have very strong opinions on economic issues and usually they are terrible. These are obviously first-class minds ... They believe that they can casually talk about an economic issue and come up with the right answer ... This is obviously not the case. There are economic principles. If you do not use these principles, you are likely to come to the wrong answers."
    James Buchanan's Subjectivist Economics, by Sheldon Richman, Apr 2013
    Reviews Buchanan's writings in What Should Economists Do?, a collection of several of his essays
    "This insight on spontaneous order informs Buchanan's other writings on the nature of economics. The 'economic problem' that has been so much the focus of modern economics refers to the allocation of scarce resources among given ends. Economics is thus reduced to a mathematical problem, joining utility functions to resource constraints in order to find the optimal allocation. 'I want economists to quit concerning themselves with allocation problems per se, with the problem, as it has been traditionally defined,' Buchanan wrote ... 'I want them to concentrate on exchange rather than choice.'"
    James M. Buchanan and the Rebirth of Political Economy, by Peter Boettke, Economics and its Discontents, 1998
    Examines Buchanan's contributions in bursting the "romantic vision of political science," advancing subjectivism as a challenge to modern economics formalism and re-integrating moral philosophy into economics
    "... the basic propositions which guide his work can be summarized neatly ... Economics is a 'science' but not like the physical sciences. Economics is a 'philosophical' science ... Economics is about choice and processes of adjustment, not states of rest. Equilibrium models are only useful when we recognize their limits. Economics is about exchange, not about maximizing. Exchange activity, arbitrage, that should be the central focus of economic analysis. Economics is about individual actors, not collective entities. Only individuals choose. Economics is about a game played within rules."
    Jean-Baptiste Say: Neglected Champion of Laissez-Faire, by Larry J. Sechrest
    Biographical and bibliographical essay, discussing Say's life, methodology and his writings on money, banking, the law of markets, entrepreneurship, capital, interest, value, utility, taxes and the state
    "A statistical description 'does not indicate the origin and consequences of the facts it has collected.' For Say, only a causal analysis based on the essential natures of the entities involved can achieve that end, and such an analysis is the core task of political economy. He sees economics as a genuine science capable of establishing 'absolute truths,' but insists that it 'has only become a science since it has been confined to the results of inductive investigation.' ... For Say ... economics is not a shadowy realm to be penetrated only by the expert, but a subject of enormous practical importance accessible to all."
    Julian Simon, combatant in a 200-year war, by Thomas Sowell, 12 Feb 1998
    Memorial essay, pointing out that Simon's death occurred near the 200th anniversary of Thomas Malthus' Essay on the Principle of Population
    "Ehrlich and his fellow hysterics chose a bundle of ten natural resources and a period of ten years. At the end of the decade, not only was the real cost of that bundle lower than at the beginning, every single natural resource that the Ehrlich camp had picked had a lower real cost than when the decade began. If we were really running low on these resources, they would be getting progressively more expensive, instead of progressively cheaper. This is elementary supply-and-demand economics. But those addicted to overpopulation hysteria are no more interested in economics than they are in evidence."
    Related Topic: Julian Simon
    Letters to Thomas Robert Malthus, on Several Subjects of Political Economy, and on the Cause of the Stagnation of Commerce, by Jean-Baptiste Say, 1821
    Series of five letters from Say to Malthus, written in response to the latter's criticisms in Principles of Political Economy (1820); the letters were translated from the French by John Richter
    "You say (p. 495), 'That in some cases it is contrary to sound principles of political economy to advise saving.' I repeat, Sir, that sound political economy is not apt to advise; it shews what a capital judiciously employed adds to the power of industry, in the same manner as sound agricultural knowledge teaches what a well-managed irrigation adds to the power of the soil; and after this it leaves to the world the truths which it demonstrates; of which every one is to avail himself according to his intelligence and capacity."
    Ludwig von Mises and the Justification of the Liberal Order, by William Baumgarth, The Economics of Ludwig von Mises, Nov 1974
    Critically examines various Mises' writings on liberalism, democracy, the wisdom of the masses, special-interest politics, equal treatment under the law, anarchism, self-determination and of course economics
    "According to Mises, economics as an a priori science provides men with a set of cognitive categories for viewing the actions of others. By viewing economics as the science of human action carried out under conditions of scarcity, Mises declared that there is no sphere of human activity not subject to economic analysis: Economics is 'the science of every kind of human action. Choosing determines all human decisions. In making his choice man chooses not only between various material things and services. All human values are offered for option.'"
    Milton Friedman (1912-2006), by Richard Ebeling, Sheldon Richman, 17 Nov 2006
    Memorial tribute, highlighting Friedman's role in opposing Keynesianism, and his books and other public activities
    "As a professor of economics at the prestigious University of Chicago, he is widely credited with overturning the dominant Keynesian paradigm regarding the tradeoff between unemployment and inflation ... In the post-World War II era, when Keynesianism dominated the economics profession, Friedman undertook a series of studies to undermine some of Keynes’s leading assumptions ... Through these contributions, Friedman permanently transformed the debate in macroeconomics and in the process undermined many of the most cherished assumptions of Keynesian economics."
    Mises, Ludwig von (1881-1972), by Leland B. Yeager, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical and bibliographical essay
    "One need not agree with every detail of Mises's economic teachings to be awed by his accomplishment. He presented economic theory in a comprehensive and integrated way as but one aspect, although the major aspect, of the broader science of human action that he called praxeology. ... Economics explains the harmonious coordination of radically decentralized decisions and actions taken by individuals pursuing their own diverse goals. Social cooperation is Mises's term for the framework of peaceful and productive interaction that enables individuals to reap gains from trade in the broadest sense of the term."
    Monetary Central Planning and the State, Part 18: Say's Law of Markets and Keynesian Economics, by Richard Ebeling, Future of Freedom, Jun 1998
    Contrasts the views of John Maynard Keynes with "the commonsense foundations of economics" by explaining the basics of exchange and markets, and discussing Say's Law and John Stuart Mills refinement
    "... John Maynard Keynes stated that "the composition of this book has been for the author a long struggle of escape ... a struggle of escape from habitual modes of thought and expression." What Keynes struggled to escape from were the commonsense foundations of economics. From Adam Smith ... to the Austrian economists ..., economics has developed and been refined into the study of human action and the logic of human choice. Over 200 years, economists came to more clearly understand that nothing happens in society or in the market that does not first begin with the actions and decisions of individuals."
    Morals and the Welfare State, by F. A. Harper, 1951
    Examines five moral principles by which the idea of the Welfare State (described in more detail in an appendix) can be judged; extension of talk given 13 June 1951; later published as "Morals and Liberty" (see The Freeman, Sep 1971)
    "Economics and morals are both parts of one inseparable body of Truth. ... Yet many economists ... presume to draw some kind of an impassable line of distinction be­tween morals and economics. ... Some even scorn the moral base for testing economic concepts, as though it would somehow pol­lute their economic purity. ... This viewpoint—that there is no necessary connection between morals and economics—is all too prevalent. It explains, I believe, why immoral economic acts are tolerated, if not actively promoted, by persons of high repute who otherwise may be considered to be persons of high moral standards."
    Murray N. Rothbard: Mr. Libertarian, by Wendy McElroy, 6 Jul 2000
    A tribute to Rothbard as a "system builder," an integrator of multiple disciplines into a "philosophy of freedom"; examines several of Rothbard's essays and books
    "Here, Rothbard began by using what he called "one of the most commonly derided constructions of classical economic theory" – the Robinson Crusoe model This approach ... has been widely criticized, most prominently by Karl Marx ... Rothbard did not believe Crusoe lost his essential humanity by being in isolation. For example, Crusoe still judged the goods he had ... according to marginal utility. He also had to produce before he could consume ... Then ... Friday is introduced in order to go beyond the economic principle of production to the principle of exchange, both economic and psychological."
    Open Letter to Barack Obama, by Walter Block, 16 May 2008
    Explains why foreign policy is more important than economics or civil liberties when it comes to choosing between the major presidential candidates and offers some advice to then Senator (and candidate) Obama
    "Learn some economics, for goodness sakes. If you really want to help the poor, realize that minimum wages, unions, tariffs, price controls, and fiat currency, are not exactly the right way to go about accomplishing this task. ... Go get Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, or better yet, pretty much any of the publications of Ludwig von Mises or Murray N. Rothbard, and read them. Here are two great introductory places to start: Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson and Rothbard's What Has Government Done To Our Money? You won't even have to buy either; they are both available on the web for free!"
    Physiocracy, by George H. Smith, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Discusses the Physiocrats, focusing mostly on Quesnay and his Tableau
    "The word physiocracy, coined in 1767 by Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, means 'the rule of nature.' This meaning suggests that economic phenomena are governed by natural laws that operate independently of human will and intention, including the decrees of legislators. 'The most important idea of the Physiocrats,' notes the historian Scott Gordon, 'was that economic processes are governed by laws of nature in such a way that the economic world, like the natural world, is, or can be, a system of spontaneous order.”"
    Rationality and Irrationality; Subjectivism and Objectivity of Praxeological Research, by Ludwig von Mises, Human Action
    Chapter 1, "Acting Man", section 4; argues that all human action is rational, i.e., the outcome of reasonable deliberation
    "It is fashionable nowadays to find fault with the social sciences for being purely rational. The most popular objection raised against economics is that it neglects the irrationality of life and reality and tries to press into dry rational schemes and bloodless abstractions the infinite variety of phenomena. No censure could be more absurd. Like every branch of knowledge economics goes as far as it can be carried by rational methods."
    Related Topic: Life
    Roots Of Economic Understanding, by F. A. Harper, The Freeman, Nov 1955
    Explains the rudiments of economics by specifying required attributes (desirability, scarcity, exchangeability) then delving into how people, from the earliest age, become cognizant of economic concepts, but ending with criticism of econmic ignorance
    "The study of economics is the study of all matters pertaining to things that are desired but scarce, which exist for trade or can be produced. Those are the things we sometimes speak of as 'economic goods and services.' Those are the things which comprise economic activity in its entirety, which are being produced and owned and traded. A thing must first be desired before it comes within the orbit of economics. ... If it is to be economic, somebody must want it. Without want for it, nobody would work to produce it or sacrifice to buy it."
    Say, Jean-Baptiste (1767-1832), by David M. Hart, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Say was a keen popularizer of economic ideas, writing several works in dialogue form in order to reach a broader audience with his liberal views at a time when economic nationalism and socialism were becoming increasingly popular. One of his last major works, the Cours complet d'économie politique pratique (1828–1829), attempted to broaden the scope of political economy, away from its earlier preoccupation with the production of wealth, by examining the moral, political, and sociological requirements of a free society and how they are interrelated with the study of political economy. In other words, he wished to return political economy to its Smithian roots."
    Related Topic: Jean-Baptiste Say
    Senior, Nassau William (1790-1864), by George H. Smith, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "Senior defined political economy as the science that investigates the nature, production, and distribution of wealth. He employs the term wealth as a synonym for value, and, like the economists before him, includes utility as one of the three causes of value. ... Another important feature of Senior's work was his insistence that economics should be a value-free discipline—a point he emphasized not only in his book Political Economy, but also in his lecture on 'Statistic Science,' which he delivered before the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1860."
    Related Topic: Nassau William Senior
    Smith, Adam (1723-1790), by Ronald Hamowy, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay focusing on Adam Smith's two major works
    "In Wealth of Nations, Smith succeeds in laying bare the intellectual framework of economic science while marrying his theoretical discussions to a substantial amount of empirical data. Smith's analysis of the benefits that follow from the division of labor, the fallacies of mercantilism, and the destructive effects of almost all restrictions on market forces are comprehensive and accompanied by a mass of illustrations that trace the operation of the laws of economics. ... However, despite the reputation the book was to achieve, it was not the first treatise in economics."
    Sowell, Thomas (1930-), by Jo Kwong, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
    Biographical essay
    "He is the author of several books on economics, including Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy. In this book, Sowell explains why people are hungry in countries where there are vast amounts of rich farmland, why homeless people abound in New York City amid abandoned apartment buildings, and why unemployment reached 25% during the Great Depression. In explaining these realities, Sowell illustrates how a gap between knowledge and decisions led to unintended and often tragic consequences."
    Related Topic: Thomas Sowell
    Teaching Basic Economics to Fifth Graders, by Arthur E. Foulkes, Mises Daily, 21 Jun 2006
    Recounts the experience of teaching economics to fifth graders, one concept per week, for five weeks, focusing on trade, money, savings, competition and prices
    "I wanted to show them that economics stems from ordinary human behavior in the real world we face every day. ... the concepts we discussed can easily be shown to relate quite directly to other economic concepts; for instance, trade is related to opportunity cost as well as profit and loss; money facilitates trade as well as economic calculation, savings is tied to investment, capital, and production, while competition and prices are related to demand, supply, and relative scarcity."
    Related Topics: Children, Free Trade, Money, Prices, Wages
    The Austrian Economists, by Eugen Böhm von Bawerk, The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 1891
    Explains some of the major tenets of the Austrian school -just two decades after publication of its seminal treatise, contrasting them with the views of classical economics and the historical school; paper solicited by the editors of the magazine
    "To explain the modern economic order there is, apparently, need of two processes: 1st, just as in Crusoe's economy, we must understand the relation of our interests to external goods; 2d, we must seek to understand the laws, according to which we pursue our interests when they are entangled with the interests of others. ... The two processes of explanation must fit together like the two cogwheels of a machine."
    The Drug War's Immorality and Abject Failure, by Anthony Gregory, Future of Freedom, Jul 2006
    Discusses how drug use differs from criminal, property-rights violations, the justifications for the drug war and the many areas where it has had detrimental effects on society: inner cities, rule of law, foreign relations, etc.
    "No matter how much of a utopia one may think would result if drugs were eliminated, it's not going to happen, and certainly not by using government force. The laws of economics, the principles of supply, demand, and human action that undermine socialist systems, also undermine the war on drugs. Millions want to use drugs and no government program will stop them all, or even most, as long as they are willing to pay and a supplier is willing to sell. The more the state ratchets up the drug war, the higher the profits at stake, and the more innovative and determined the dealers become."
    The Economics Behind the U.S. Government's Unwinnable War on Drugs, by Benjamin Powell, 1 Jul 2013
    Analyzes the economics of the drug war, including the demand-supply effects of prohibition on both users and distributors, the effects of higher prices and variable quality, comparisons to alcohol prohibition and external effects
    "Economics is a science of means and ends. Thus, the question for economics is whether the means—drug prohibition—is effective in promoting the ends of greater health, safety, and productivity, as well as lower violence and criminal justice costs. ... the penalties for distribution, whether street-level dealing or international smuggling, have always been much harsher than the punishments for possession. ... enforcement devoted to interdiction of imports and the breaking up of dealer networks continues. In short, while there are demand-side penalties, the U.S. government's war on drugs is primarily a supply-side war."
    The Economics Lesson Obama Needs to Learn, by Sheldon Richman, 25 Jul 2013
    Explains economics in simple terms that even a statist politician ought to understand
    "We live in a world of scarcity. At any given time our ends outnumber the means to achieve them. Hence we economize so that we can achieve as many of our ends as possible. Resources, labor, and time devoted to one purpose can't also be used for other purposes, and the alternative forgone is the true cost of any action. We individually choose among competing ends after assessing the trade-offs, because we don't want inadvertently to give up something we prefer in exchange for something we don't value as much."
    Related Topics: Entrepreneurship, Government
    The Experimental Economist: Nobel laureate Vernon Smith takes markets places they've never been before, by Vernon L. Smith, Nick Gillespie, Michael W. Lynch, Reason, 9 Oct 2002
    Topics discussed include law (discovered vs. formally made), experimental economics, electric power, demand-interrupt pricing, airport landing and takeoff slots, NASA missions, libertarianism and economics
    "When I gave talks away from Purdue about what I was up to, I could see there were a lot of people who questioned whether this was even economics. 'Why would anyone do this?' they'd say. You certainly couldn't make a living doing experimental economics. You had to do the sort of work that would get you promoted. That's when I learned something important. In economics every paper begins with a previous paper, not with a problem of the world. No one questions your right to do something if it's already been done. I did my first experiment January 1956, and the first paper about it was published in 1962."
    The Fable of the Bees Tells the Story of Society, by Richard Ebeling, 15 Nov 2016
    Discusses the "moral" of Mandeville's work The Fable of the Bees, that "prosperous, wealthy and great societies only arise from men's self-interested desires"
    "... the theory of emergent spontaneous order demonstrated that ... the social order showed coordinating pattern, structure, and self-correcting potential that often was superior in its beneficial effects for promoting a betterment of the human condition than any purposeful creation or direction of social processes by government ... This, more than anything, can be said to be the beginning of the development of a science of economics – a systematic analysis of the processes of interpersonal coordination of multitudes of people's actions within a market-based system of division of labor."
    Related Topics: Bernard Mandeville, Society
    The Failure of Macroeconomics, by John H. Cochrane, The Wall Street Journal, 2 Jul 2014
    Discusses the views of various economists on the slow GDP growth after the 2008 recession, what are the causes and what can be done about it
    "Output per capita fell almost 10 percentage points below trend in the 2008 recession. ... Where macroeconomists differ, sharply, is on the causes of the post-recession slump and which policies might cure it. ... Paul Krugman likewise rails against 'generations of economists' who are 'viewing the world through a haze of equations.' Well, maybe they're right. Social sciences can go off the rails for 50 years. I think Keynesian economics did just that. But if economics is as ephemeral as philosophy or literature, then it cannot don the mantle of scientific expertise to demand trillions of public expenditure."
    Related Topic: Broken Window Fallacy
    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
    "... the crux of the problem of inefficient production is a problem of education—not ... illiteracy, but ... of the total failure of education at the highest level to convey an understanding of basic economic concepts. I am not necessarily referring to knowledge of economics on the part of holders of degrees in economics. I am referring mainly to intelligent, articulate policy makers, most of whom have a college education. I came to this conclusion when in my quest for answers to the problems of poverty and underdevelopment, for every sensible explanation, I would encounter hundreds of unsatisfactory, contradictory rationalizations and myths."
    The Kirznerian Way: An Interview with Israel M. Kirzner, by Israel Kirzner, Austrian Economics Newsletter, 1997
    Topics include: Ludwig von Mises, the Austrian School, equilibrium, entrepreneurship, capital, business cycle theory, time preference, Hayek, Lachmann and Rothbard
    "There are, indeed, systematic consequences to our actions. If one accepts that economics is the study of those systematic consequences, one cannot live with a perspective that sees the world as so open-ended that anything is possible. That's why I would disagree with the characterization of economics as essentially the study of the unfolding of an uncertain future. ... There's a passage which I've often quoted from a 1932 piece where Mises is saying that all modern schools of economics are basically saying the same thing. ... Later on, the differences between the schools--Walrasian, Marshallian, Austrian--began to widen."
    The Nature and Significance of Economic Education, by Israel Kirzner, The Freeman, Oct 1998
    Explains why economic education of both the general public and politicians/legislators is needed and why a teacher, such as Mises, must remain scientifically detached (value free) even if passionate about the teaching goals
    "Economics is a science; the truth of its predictions does not depend on whether or not we find these truths palatable. But this circumstance does not, to be sure, wipe out the palatability or unpalatability of the predicted outcomes. ... The conclusions of economics are, in general, counter-intuitive. ... the intelligent layman is likely to be led to accept as 'obvious,' policy prescriptions that economics reveals as tending to generate wholly unwanted consequences. ... The reasoning by which economics reaches its conclusions ... involves insights the subtlety of which is likely to be completely missed by the untrained."
    The Origin of Economic Theory: A Portrait of Richard Cantillon (1680-1734), by Mark Thornton, 3 Aug 2007
    Examines the sections of Cantillon's Essai relating them to episodes in the author's life, then delving into several Austrian economics insights that can be found in the work
    "Indeed, the origins of economic theory itself can be traced to Cantillon. William Stanley Jevons, one of the cofounders of the marginalist revolution ... called the Essai 'a systematic and connected treatise, going over in a concise manner nearly the whole field of economics ... It is thus the first treatise on economics.' He dubbed the work the 'Cradle of Political Economy.' Joseph Schumpeter ... described the Essai as 'the first systematic penetration of the field of economics.' In his treatise on the history of economic thought, Murray N. Rothbard named Cantillon 'the founding father of modern economics.'"
    The Primacy of Freedom, by Brian Summers, The Freeman, Feb 1988
    One of over 20 essays in the anthology Ideas on Liberty: Essays in Honor of Paul L. Poirot (1987), discussing why the freedom philosophy and economic and moral education are important
    "... there seems to be a growing awareness of the need for economic incentives, of the dangers of protectionism, and of the disruptive consequences of an expansionary monetary policy. ... the level of economic illiteracy is still appalling. How many people can explain the causes of the Great Depression? How many know that the gas lines which plagued us in the 1970s had nothing to do with OPEC, and everything to do with price controls? How many have any understanding of how government spending is diverting billions of dollars from our nation’s capital base? The list could be expanded almost at will."
    The War the Government Cannot Win, by Lew Rockwell, 1 May 2007
    Discusses how government cannnot win the war on terror because economic law is more powerful than the state
    "[Economic law] is a force that operates within the structure of all societies everywhere that governs the production and allocation of material resources and time according to strict bounds of what is possible. Some things are just not possible. It just so happens that this includes most of the demands that are made by the public and pressure groups on the government. This was the great discovery of the modern science of economics. ... It was the discovery of the medieval schoolmen, and the insight was gradually elaborated upon and systematized over the centuries ..."
    Wants, Efforts, Satisfactions, by Frédéric Bastiat, Economic Harmonies, 1850
    Examines the concepts of sensation, pain, wants, satisfactions and connects them by the concepts of activity or human effort to postulate that the exchange of services in a social framework are what constitute the science of economics
    "The subject of political economy is man. But it does not embrace the whole man. ... What does it deal with? With transactions carried on between people who do not know each other, who owe each other nothing beyond simple justice, who are defending and seeking to advance their own self-interest. ... This is not to say that political economy does not have its own special poetry. Whenever there is order and harmony, there is poetry. But it is to be found in the results, not in the demonstrations."
    Related Topics: Children, Labor, Metaphysics
    What Should Libertarians Do?, by Sheldon Richman, 25 Apr 2014
    Examines what libertarianism requires of people, e.g., an understanding of economics, and suggests focusing on the liberal insight that "societies run themselves" spontaneously
    "On the other hand, we ask a lot when we ask people to believe that free markets work. Most people know nothing about economics. Except in the most micro sense, they do not engage in the 'economic way of thinking.' If they've taken an economics course, they’ve forgotten what they heard in class — which is okay because it was probably some variant of Keynesianism, although that is then reinforced by most of what they hear outside of school. ... How can there be order without a top-down designer or regulator? How can markets regulate themselves? Those are reasonable questions for the economically unschooled."
    Why Be An Economist? To Be Happy, That's Why, by Walter Block, Mises Daily, 21 Dec 2006
    Contrasts Block's recommendations to students interested in economics (getting a PhD. and becoming a professor or similar career) vs. advice from another professor (majoring in economics and finance with a view towards a finance career)
    "What about becoming a law professor? Or maybe a professor of history, political science, sociology or some other field of relevance to our concerns? Unhappily, these fields are almost totally dominated by our friends on the Left. Economics, fortunately, is perhaps the discipline most open to liberty — to say nothing of Austrian economics. ... economics is perhaps the most helpful of all the disciplines. I am enough of a methodological individualist not to think that the study of economics is a must for everybody. But I am also a sufficient devotee of the dismal science to think it makes a unique contribution to our cause."
    Related Topic: Mises Institute


    An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith, Mar 1776
    Partial contents: Of the Causes of Improvement in the productive... - Of the Nature, Accumulation, and Employment of Stock - Of the different Progress of Opulence in different Nations - Of Systems of political Œconomy - Of the Revenue of the Sovereign...
    Related Topic: The Wealth of Nations
    Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One
        by Thomas Sowell, 2003
    Contents: Politics versus Economics - Free and Unfree Labor - The Economics of Medical Care - The Economics of Housing - Risky Business - The Economics of Discrimination - The Economic Development of Nations
    A Treatise on Political Economy: or The Production, Distribution, and Consumption of Wealth, by Jean-Baptiste Say, 1803
    Contents: Of the Production of Wealth - Of the Distribution of Wealth - Of the Consumption of Wealth; electronic text available at The Library of Economics and Liberty is from the 1855 translation by C. R. Prinsep based on the 4th and 5th French editions
    Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy
        by Thomas Sowell, 2000
    Partial contents: What Is Economics? - The Role of Prices - Price Controls - The Rise and Fall of Businesses - Productivity and Pay - Investment and Speculation - National Output - Money and the Banking System - International Trade - "Non-Economic" Values
    Classical Economics: An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought - Volume II, by Murray Rothbard, 1995
    Partial contents: J.B. Say - Jeremy Bentham - James Mill, Ricardo, and the Ricardian system - Monetary and banking thought - John Stuart Mill - Roots of Marxism - Alienation, unity, and the dialectic - The Marxian system - After Mill: Bastiat
    Eat the Rich: A Treatise on Economics
        by P. J. O'Rourke, 1998
    Partial contents: Love, Death and Money - Good Capitalism - Bad Capitalism - Good Socialism - Bad Socialism - From Beatnik to Business Major - How to Make Nothing from Everything - How to Make Everything from Nothing - How to Have the Worst of Both Worlds
    Economic Logic
        by Mark Skousen, 2000
    Partial contents: What is Economics? - The Foundations of Economic Behavior - Production and Consumption: The Structure of Economic Activity - The Theory of the Firm: The Role of Profit and Loss - Macroeconomics - Government Policy - What Do Economists Do
    Economic Policy: Thoughts for Today and Tomorrow
        by Bettina Bien Greaves (introduction), Ludwig von Mises, 1979
    Six lectures originally given in 1959 on the following subjects: capitalism, socialism, interventionism, inflation, foreign investment and policies/ideas
    Economics in One Lesson
        by Henry Hazlitt, 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
    Economic Thought Before Adam Smith: An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought - Volume I [PDF], by Murray Rothbard, 1995
    Partial contents: The first philosopher-economists: the Greeks - The late Spanish scholastics - Mercantilism - The liberal reaction - Richard Cantillon - Physiocracy - The brilliance of Turgot - The Scottish Enlightenment - The celebrated Adam Smith
    Elements of Political Economy, by James Mill, 1821
    Partial contents: The Subject—Its Limits—And Division - Production - Distribution - Rent - Wages - Profits - Interchange - Bounties and Prohibitions - Colonies - Consumption - Of productive and unproductive consumption - A Tax on Profits - A Tax on Wages
    Essay on the Nature of Commerce in General, by Richard Cantillon, 1730
    Partial contents: Of Wealth - Of Human Societies - Of Villages - Of Market Towns - Of Metals and Money, and especially of Gold and Silver - Of Barter - Of Market Prices - Of the Circulation of Money - Of Foreign Trade - Of the Exchanges and their Nature
    Hidden Order: The Economics of Everyday Life
        by David D. Friedman, 1996
    Partial contents: Economics for Pleasure and Profit - Price=Value=Cost: Solving a Simple Economy - In Search of the Real World - Standing in for Moral Philosophy: The Economist as Judge - Applications: Conventional and Un
    Human Action: A Treatise on Economics
        by Ludwig von Mises, 1949
    Partial contents: Acting Man - The Epistemological Problems of the Sciences of Human Action - Economics and the Revolt Against Reason - A First Analysis of the Category of Action - Time - Uncertainty - Action Within the World - Human Society
    Related Topic: Human Action
    • ISBN 0809297434: Hardcover, NTC/Contemporary Publishing Co, 3rd edition, 1966
    • ISBN 0945466242: Hardcover, Ludwig Von Mises Institute, Scholars Edition, 1998
    • ISBN 1572460210: Hardcover, Foundation for Econ Education, 4th edition, 1996
    • ISBN 0930073185: Paperback, Fox & Wilkes, Scholars edition; 4th edition, 1996
    Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters
        by David D. Friedman, 2000
    Partial contents: What Does Economics Have to Do with Law? - Efficiency and All That - What's Wrong with the World - Defining and Enforcing Rights - Of Burning Houses and Exploding Coke Bottles - The Economics of Contract - Marriage, Sex, and Babies
    Related Topic: Law
    Making Economic Sense
        by Murray Rothbard, 1995
    Partial contents: Making Economic Sense - The Socialism of Welfare - Politics as Economic Violence - Enterprise Under Attack - Fiscal Mysteries Revealed - Economic Ups and Downs - The Fiat Money Plague - Economics Beyond the Borders
    On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, by David Ricardo, 1817
    Partial contents: On Value - On Rent - On the Rent of Mines - On Natural and Market Price - Of Wages - On Profits - On Foreign Trade - On Taxes - Taxes on Raw Produce - Taxes on Rent - Tithes - Land-Tax - Taxes on Gold - Taxes on Houses - Taxes on Profits
    Related Topic: Taxation
    Principles of Political Economy, by John Stuart Mill, 1848
    Contents: Introduction, by W. J. Ashley - Preface - Preliminary Remarks - I. Production - II. Distribution - III. Exchange - IV. Influence of the Progress of Society on Production and Distribution - V. On the Influence of Government
    Selected Essays in Political Economy, by Frédéric Bastiat, 1850
    Partial contents: What Is Seen and What Is Not Seen - The Law - Property and Law - Justice and Fraternity - The State - Property and Plunder - Protectionism and Communism - Plunder and Law - Academic Degrees and Socialism - The Balance of Trade
    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
    The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers
        by Mark Skousen, 2001
    Partial contents: It All Started with Adam - The French Connection - The Irreverent Malthus - Tricky Ricardo - Milling Around - Marx Madness - Menger and the Austrians - Marshalling the Troops - The Missing Mises - The Keynes Mutiny - Milton's Paradise
    The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science: An Essay on Method, by Ludwig von Mises, 1962
    Partial contents: The Human Mind - The Activistic Basis of Knowledge - Necessity and Volition - Certainty and Uncertainty - On Some Popular Errors Concerning the Scope and Method of Economics - Further Implications of the Neglect of Economic Thinking


    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: Henry Hazlitt

    How an Economy Grows and Why It Doesn't, by Irwin Schiff, 19 Apr 2009
    Comic book presentation of basic economics concepts, including an allegory of United States economic history in the 20th century

    The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Economics" as of 10 Jul 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.