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Depression, War, and Cold War: Studies in Political Economy [Kindle Edition]

Robert Higgs
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $59.99 What's this?
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  • Print ISBN-10: 0195182928
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-0195182927
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Kindle Edition, March 1, 2006
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Book Description

Other books exist that warn of the dangers of empire and war. However, few, if any, of these books do so from a scholarly, informed economic standpoint. In Depression, War, and Cold War , Robert Higgs, a highly regarded economic historian, makes pointed, fresh economic arguments against war, showing links between government policies and the economy in a clear, accessible way. He boldly questions, for instance, the widely accepted idea that World War II was the chief reason the Depression-era economy recovered. The book as a whole covers American economic history from the Great Depression through the Cold War. Part I centers on the Depression and World War II. It addresses the impact of government policies on the private sector, the effects of wartime procurement policies on the economy, and the economic consequences of the transition to a peacetime economy after the victorious end of the war. Part II focuses on the Cold War, particularly on the links between Congress and defense procurement, the level of profits made by defense contractors, and the role of public opinion andnt ideological rhetoric in the maintenance of defense expenditures over time. This new book extends and refines ideas of the earlier book with new interpretations, evidence, and statistical analysis. This book will reach a similar audience of students, researchers, and educated lay people in political economy and economic history in particular, and in the social sciences in general.

Editorial Reviews


Depression, War, and Cold one of those rare offerings that explicates the truth of things related to the inimical conflation of government, the military, and our congressional banditti these past seventy years or so.... It is a book that reveals a singular and important element of the derailment of our culture: where human nature has triumphed in an egophanic revolt against the old order."--Human

About the Author

Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Political Economy for the Independent Institute and author of Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2591 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (June 22, 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0014EU8YY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,403,502 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who knew economics could be so fun! January 10, 2007
I know you're not supposed to give away a books plot in a review, however, the Depression ended, we won World War II, and then the Cold War began and lasted for nearly fifty years, though not necessarily in that order.

When I began reading Depression, War, And Cold War, a collection of essays and articles spanning almost two decades, my first thought about Robert Higgs was that he has an ax to grind.

In the introduction he elaborates the Military Industrial Congressional Complex (MICC) and then goes on to assert, "...if the Soviet government did the devil's work, so, on many occasions, did the U.S. government and its allies. Not the least of the self-damage was the transformation of the executive branch of the federal government into a secretive, highly discretionary, often ill-advised and badly informed organization that was far too dedicated to attempting the futile task of running the whole world." He then proposes to examine the evidence and the circumstances surrounding the events in the book's title, something Mr. Higgs admits very rarely happens without bias in the study of economic history.

The text, for the most part, focuses on an analysis of the "war is good for the economy" myth. This is where Robert Higgs, as an economist, shines. He provides the framework to see events surrounding World War II as an end to "regime uncertainty" and not as the actual catalyst for any kind of boom. He then goes on to dissect the troubled relationship between government and industry that prolonged the Depression, and analyzes the subsequent policy and personnel changes that encouraged everyone to enter once again into discourse. Changes, incidentally, that still affect every American today almost seventy years later.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Higgs is one of those annoying academics who actually believes that research is an important task. (I said annoying with tongue in cheek). He writes clearly about the effects of the depression and in this collection of essays argues that neither the New Deal nor WWII took us out of the depression. He makes a good case because he is careful both with his history and his data.

This is a thoroughly readable book which everyone who is interested in our current economic problems should read.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Important Contribution July 14, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
In this thourough and origional work, Professor Higgs exposes just what got our country out of Hoover and Roosevelt's Great Depression. Roosevelt was gone, over ten million young men came home and entered productive private employment and government spending was slashed by two-thirds.

Such insight can get us out of the Bush/Obama Depression too. We should bring home our troups and close the thousand bases they populate while slashing government spending by two-thirds.
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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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