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Man, Economy, and State

Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles is an economics treatise authored by Murray Rothbard. It was commissioned by the William Volker Fund and was published in 1962 in two volumes by D. Van Nostrand Company. It presents economics from an Austrian School perspective.


Book Note: Rothbard: Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles [PDF], by Manuel S. Klausner, New York University Law Review, Jun 1963
Review of Rothbard's Man, Economy, and State with emphasis on areas of interest to lawyers
Now [Mises'] former student, Murray Rothbard, has written Man, Economy, and State, a comprehensive and systematic treatise on the principles of economics, which both expands and clarifies the Misesian structure ... Dr. Rothbard extends his analysis to the workings of a society based on voluntary contractual agreements and the unhampered or free market. He describes the contractual society of the market as a genuinely cooperative society where "each person specializes in the task for which he is best fitted, and each serves his fellow men in order to serve himself in exchange."
Foreword, by R.A. Childs, Jr., Egalitarianism as a Revolt Against Nature and Other Essays, Jan 1974
Foreword to the 1974 edition, compares Rothbard to Karl Marx as a "system builder" of anarchist thought; reprinted in second edition (2000) and as "The System Builder" on 7 Nov 2008 at
Still in his mid-40s, Rothbard’s writings have begun to see the light of day ... But the most significant things to be said about Rothbard are intellectual. For in Rothbard we have one of the only explicit system builders writing today. He has already published three volumes of a treatise on economic principles, namely the two volumes of his Man, Economy, and State and its sequel, Power and Market. Numerous works on economic history have been published ...
How I Became a Libertarian and an Austrian Economist, by Richard M. Ebeling, 2 May 2016
Autobiographical essay highlighting the people and events who influenced Ebeling in his path to libertarianism and Austrian economics
Murray Rothbard's influence was different [from Israel Kirzner's]. I learned a great deal of clear and logical thinking from his writings on Austrian Economics, especially his monumental two-volume treatise, Man, Economy and State, which systematically stated, refined, and advanced the entire corpus of Austrian theory from the conception of human action to the nature and effects of government intervention in the market economy.
The life and times of Murray N. Rothbard, by Jim Powell
Full title: The life and times of Murray N. Rothbard, who showed why private individuals can do just about everything that needs to be done
Lengthy biographical essay
Rothbard's project expanded until it became a 1,900-page manuscript tentatively called Man, the Economy and the State. The Volker Fund grant ran out on June 30, 1956, and he finished up the manuscript in 1957. He sent it to Devin-Adair (New York) and Caxton Printers (Caldwell, Idaho) which had issued libertarian books, but they declined because of the bulk ... It was sent to National Review's Frank Meyer who recommended that the last 700 pages be cut. Rothbard reluctantly accepted such cuts as the cost for getting the rest of the manuscript published, and he wrote a new ending.
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
In Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles ..., Rothbard embodied and extended Mises' broad approach to economics. Llewellyn Rockwell ... wrote, "Beginning with the philosophical foundation, Rothbard built an edifice of economic theory and an unassailable case for the market ... The book treated economics as a humane science, not as a branch of physics." He concluded, "... Rothbard's great work, was the key to the resurgence of Austrian economics after Mises's death." ... [Man, Economy, and State's] influence was not limited to students of economics.
On Autobiography, by Walter Block, 4 Dec 2002
Autobiographical, recounts how Block met Ayn Rand and later Murray Rothbard and how he progressed from libertarian minarchism to anarcho-capitalism; reprinted in Block's I Chose Liberty (2010), chapter 9
[Rothbard] was always exceedingly kind to me, tolerant of my foibles, endlessly patient. By now I was reading Man, Economy and State. I had this weird reaction to the experience of reading the book by day, and seeing the author, regularly, at night. On the one hand, MES was wonderfully written, excruciatingly brilliant. To me, the economics of it was as beautiful as Bach, Mozart and Handel, my three favorite composers, all rolled into one (and this is before I became an Austrian). To compare this to neoclassical economics was to contrast a plough horse with a thoroughbred.
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
Thousands of people have found [For a New Liberty] an excellent overview of libertarianism. If you want food for thought, here is a gourmet's delight! But don't neglect the works that really made Rothbard's reputation as a young man: his treatise Man, Economy, and State is a magnificent contribution both to economics and to political theory, while its sequel, Power and Market launched a full-scale critique of state intervention in the economy.
Read Rothbard, by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., 29 Jul 2013
Bibliographical review of 11 of Rothbard's major works, including suggested reading order, plus three additional titles
Man, Economy and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles. This is Rothbard's magnum opus. It takes you from the most basic principles, involving an economy with only a single person, all the way through production, consumption, monopoly, interest rates, money, and much more. It is a systematic treatise on economics from the Austrian perspective ... It's even longer if you read it the way it was intended to be read: with Power and Market. [That] originally formed the last part of [MES], but the publisher feared it was too radical and urged that it be published as a separate work.
Rothbard, Murray (1926-1995), by Brian Doherty, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical and bibliographical essay
The [Volker Fund] supported Rothbard's writing of his major economic work, Man, Economy, and State, which he published in 1962. [It] was a full exposition of the entire body of economic thinking from first principles ... The book is in the Misesian tradition, building up economics as a deductive science starting from the fact that men act using scarce means to achieve subjectively valued ends. Rothbard's 1970 book, Power and Market, which was originally intended as the final segment of [MES], extended his analysis ... to lay bare the effects of state interference in the workings of the market.


Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles, by Wendy McElroy, 17 Mar 2012
Review and personal impressions of Man, Economy, and State, and in particular the 2004 edition from the Mises Institute which also includes Power and Market
Man, Economy, and State ... is a light bulb of a book that keeps the reader clicking with insights. I am jealous of anyone who reads this book for the first time because it is a remarkable adventure that cannot quite be duplicated afterward ... When I opened [it], I was still an advocate of limited government; when I closed it, I was an individualist anarchist ... Readers are taken at a dead trot through the key economic issues that still define our society: monetary theory, antitrust, labor, the lie that is government statistics, taxation, public goods, and the welfare scam ...


Radical Economics: An Interview with Walter Block, by Walter Block, Austrian Economics Newsletter, 1999
Discusses topics such as the effect of Rothbard's death, Block's own intellectual development, the legality of blackmail and barriers to Austrians in academia
Block: Actually, I agree with Joseph Salerno that the [Austrian School] revival must be dated ten years earlier, to 1962 when Rothbard's Man, Economy, and State appeared. It was the first systematic presentation of Austrian economics since Human Action in 1949, and the most magnificent economic treatise to ever appear, so far as I'm concerned. Without Rothbard's book, I seriously doubt that the Austrian School could have made any kind of revival ... [I]t was Man, Economy, and State that galvanized a generation of intellectuals to go forward with a post-Mises Austrian School.


Man, Economy, and State, by Murray N. Rothbard, 1962
Electronic text available at the Ludwig von Mises Institute