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Defending the Undefendable: The Pimp, Prostitute, Scab, Slumlord, Libeler, Moneylender, and Other Scapegoats in the Rogue's Gallery of American Society Paperback – June 1, 1991

ISBN-13: 978-0930073053 ISBN-10: 0930073053 Edition: 2nd

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Fox & Wilkes; 2nd edition (June 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930073053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930073053
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,194,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

A reader can read this one from cover-to-cover or start with the topics that most interest his own tastes.
C. Richard Clark II
Even though it analyzes atypical and extreme cases of the application of the theory, it is precisely that which makes it such an effective book.
James P. Hitt Jr.
If such "lowlifes" as libelers and slumlords rank near the bottom of your pecking order, you're in for an exhilarating read!
DrEdelstein@ThreeMinuteTherapy.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Jacob H. Huebert on August 31, 2002
This book is famous for the favorable treatments given to pimps, drug addicts, litterers, counterfeiters, and the like.
Those chapters are certainly worthwhile, but for me the best parts were the clear, concise explanations of why people like the often-vilified "slumlord" and "ghetto merchant" -- who charge high prices for low quality in the inner city -- are actually worthy of praise. The simple economic ideas so clearly explained here are essential for anyone who believes in free markets to understand.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 9, 1999
I was expecting a standard Rothbardian treatment of vices and I was shocked at this short, easily read book. I bought it in San Francisco, CA, and was finished with it by the time I stepped onto Illinoisian soil. The arguments are straight Mises - amazingly simple, yet profound. It's hard to explain how such simplicity can be found in each chapter. If you are unconvinced, just read any chapter (many are only two pages long) - concerning the miser, the corrupt cop, the pimp, and the advertiser. This isn't Rothbardian in that Murray Rothbard will argue down to the very philosophic principles to prove his point. As an analogy, you don't need to know the quantum mechanics [Rothbard] of the transistors (semiconductors) to know the functions [Block] of your computer. Sorta.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By eunomius on September 5, 1999
Although many would describe this book as a "hardcore" or "radical" account of libertarian principles, there is nothing in the book that should be shocking or new to any consistent libertarian. Its main virtue is in its consistent and often even amusing application of basic libertarian concepts. I would say that anyone new to libertarianism should read this book, but if you are already acquanted with the standurd radical texts (Rothbard in particular) there is nothing very new here.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jason C. Ditz on July 13, 2007
Some 30 years after its original release, Defending the Undefendable is in many ways as fresh and topical as any current book. It follows a collection of society's villains and attempts to explain, in both economic and ethical senses, why these people are really heroes.

In many cases, Dr. Block makes a seemingly airtight case. I found myself disagreeing on a few counts but that only made for a more enjoyable read. After all, who wants to read nothing but what they can unquestioningly agree with?

Defending's cover makes a lofty promise... "Something to Offend Everyone". Honestly, I'd imagined that so long after it's release, this was an unreasonable promise to make, and that much of the controversy of the book would have been dulled with age. But I can report that truly, the book's ability to offend is very much in tact. In my case it was the author's outright hostility to private charity and his attempt to present the social darwinist argument against it (something I was already familiar with) as "undeniable" proof that private charity is harmful.

Still, irrespective of its ability to offend (and in some cases because of it), it's still something I can highly recommend. It is, simply put, a classic work of libertarian philosophy... and a too often ignored one at that.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jorge Besada on June 28, 2005
Another very good introduction to economics. The chapter titled "The (Non-Government) Counterfeiter" does a great job of explaning inflation, perhaps the most important topic and evil that the masses have no understanding of. Another one of my favorites was "The Middleman" where Dr. Block does a great job of talking about the importance of "knowledge" and how the middle men are what help spread this knowledge via the price system. Those two chapter alone make the book worth its price.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Tom on February 20, 2007
It is curious that this thought-provoking little book is not currently available directly from our beloved Amazon, but only via Marketplace sellers, some of whom appear to be quite the gougers (as the book's list price is only $13). Of course, in light of Block's defense of "The Profiteer," one should instead think "wonderful gougers," "helpful enterprising folks," etc.

Here is a book description and summary of contents which I found very helpful:

"Professor Block's book is among the most famous of the great defenses of victimless crimes and controversial economic practices, from profiteering and gouging to bribery and blackmail. However, beneath the surface, this book is also an outstanding work of microeconomic theory that explains the workings of economic forces in everyday events and affairs.

> Foreword by Murray N. Rothbard

> Commentary by F.A. Hayek

> Introduction

> Topical Organization / Content:

>> Sexual

The Prostitute

The Pimp

The Male Chauvinist Pig

>> Medical

The Drug Pusher

The Drug Addict

Free Speech

The Blackmailer

The Slanderer or Libeler

The Denier of Academic Freedom

The Advertiser

The Person Who Yells "Fire!
Read more ›
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