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Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, 25th Anniversary Edition (Independent Studies in Political Economy) 25 Anv Edition

5 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1598131116
ISBN-10: 1598131117
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Higgs, a political economist, analyzes how the American federal government has come to exercise so much control over individuals and the marketplace in this century. Essentially he proposes that government control, which increases during a war or economic depression, continues after the crisis, with each increase influencing the prevailing ideology, making further increases more acceptable to the public. The process involves government taking on new functions more than expanding traditional ones. Because of this ratchet-like movement toward ever bigger government, Higgs is somewhat pessimistic about the survival of individual rights and a free society. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. David Steiniche, Social Sciences Department, Missouri Western State College, St. Joseph
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“A book of major importance, thoroughly researched, closely argued, and meticulously documented. It should be high on the reading list of every serious student of the American political system.”  —Political Science Quarterly

“An important, powerful, and profoundly disturbing book.”  —James M. Buchanan, Nobel Laureate in Economic Science, Journal of Economic History



“A thoughtful and challenging work.”  —Harper’s

“Insightful, compelling, and clear, Higgs breaks new ground in explicating the most important socio-political trend of our time—the growth of American government.”  —Freeman

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Product Details

  • Series: Independent Studies in Political Economy
  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Independent Institute; 25 Anv edition (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1598131117
  • ISBN-13: 978-1598131116
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #556,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Robert Higgs (born 1 February 1944) is an American economic historian and an economist of the Austrian school. His writings in economics and economic history have most often focused on the causes, means, and effects of government growth. Dr. Higgs has written extensively about the ratchet effect, the economic causes of the Great Depression, regime uncertainty, and the myth that World War II caused economic recovery in the late 1940s.

Currently Dr. Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy for The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute's quarterly journal The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University, and he has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College, Seattle University, and the University of Economics, Prague. He has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University and Stanford University, and a fellow for the Hoover Institution and the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Higgs is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Gary Schlarbaum Award for Lifetime Defense of Liberty, Thomas Szasz Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Cause of Civil Liberties, Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing the Literature of Liberty, Friedrich von Wieser Memorial Prize for Excellence in Economic Education, and Templeton Honor Rolls Award on Education in a Free Society.

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Top Customer Reviews

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Anything Dr. Higgs writes is impeccably researched and logically organized. This book was published originally in 1987, while Prof. Higgs was teaching a Lafayette College. The current edition does not have any new material, even though there are plenty of example since the date of publication that illustrate the thesis of this book. But that's OK; the book has enough to convince the reader.
If you have any doubt that government uses crises - both natura and manufactured - to increase its power over the people, this book will dissipate those doubts. Rahm Emanuel, formerly of the Obama administration, said "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste...it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before". Prof. Higgs shows convincingly how this has occurred over the history of the US government since the mid-1890s, and why we have Leviathan now instead of the limited government envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Bob Higgs' brilliant book Crisis and Leviathan recounts in vivid historical detail the so-called ratchet theory of growth in government. According to this theory, a continual increase in the size and intrusiveness of government has been promoted by government exploitation of periodic crises--chiefly depressions and wars. Introduced as temporary measures to deal with these crises, government controls and taxes accompanied by government propaganda, have gradually inured the citizenry to a continuing diminution of their freedom. Hence, a people who once regarded government as an evil justified only by its necessity increasingly regards it as the solution for all their problems and the provider of all good things. The story is depressing, but Higgs tells it well and documents the telling most interestingly.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Robert Higgs did not intend to write a tragedy, but since the publication of Crisis and Leviathan 26 years ago, reading this is like reading a tragedy--the tragedy is the loss of the Republic and its liberties.

First, consider when Robert Higgs wrote this book as it was published in 1984. This is original, critical thinking at its best.

The thesis is a ratchet theory of Big Government, and consequent loss of individual freedom and liberty.

I highly recommend anyone interested in the truth of the evolution of our Republic read this book to find out how we got here--and the bibliography is a treasure chest of references for further reading and areas to explore.
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Format: Paperback
I found the original edition to be one of the most influential works on the growth of government ever written. Admittedly, I was hoping that Professor Higgs would bring this timeless piece back up for conversation with continued scrutiny of the "ratchet" effect. I continue to refer back to his standard of scholarship in my own work and, at this point, he has now made predictable what was once an enigma. Always a pleasure to read the work of Professor Robert Higgs, truly a pleasure. Author of - Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause In The America Social Contract
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Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, 25th Anniversary Edition (Independent Studies in Political Economy)
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