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It Didn't Have to Be This Way: Why Boom and Bust Is Unnecessary-and How the Austrian School of Economics Breaks the Cycle (Culture of Enterprise) Hardcover – January 7, 2013

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It Didn't Have to Be This Way: Why Boom and Bust Is Unnecessary-and How the Austrian School of Economics Breaks the Cycle (Culture of Enterprise) + Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics + The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents--The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, Volume 2)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Harry Veryser provides an excellent introduction to the Austrian School of economics and an excellent account of the economic history of the twentieth century, chronicling the rise, fall, and (hopefully) rebirth of classical liberalism or libertarianism. I highly recommend this book to the growing number of Americans interested in learning more about sound economics.”

RON PAUL, bestselling author of End the Fed and Liberty Defined


I am blown away by how much ground Harry Veryser covers in this important book, and how skillfully he covers it. This book will give you a quick yet solid grounding in the recent financial crisis, U.S. and world economic history, the history of economic thought, and more. I strongly recommend it.
—THOMAS E. WOODS JR., bestselling author of Meltdown, senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute


“Too much of mainstream economics is rooted in dubious presumptions and outright error; at the same time it’s adorned with equations that provide a thin veneer of mathematical precision. If the insights of the Austrian School had come to dominate the profession in the past century as I expect they will in the future, many calamities could have been avoided. Harry Veryser has given us a book that not only tells all of us what we need to learn but also provides economists with truths they should never have forgotten.
—LAWRENCE W. REED, president of the Foundation for Economic Education


Harry Veryser has written an excellent book not only on Austrian economics but also on a century and a half of economic history. His is a penetrating analysis of the most recent economic crisis. Professor Veryser’s careful analysis of the case for the gold standard is, in itself, outstanding scholarship.”
—LEWIS E. LEHRMAN, cofounder of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, author of The True Gold Standard


“Professor Harry Veryser is in the forefront of teaching sound economics in the tradition of the Austrian School. In this much-anticipated book, he powerfully demonstrates how much further advanced the United States and the world would be if our leaders had followed the grand principles of sound money and free markets. I love every page of this book.
—MARK SKOUSEN, editor of Forecasts & Strategies, author of Investing in One Lesson

Book Description

“Excellent . . . I highly recommend this book.” —RON PAUL

Why is the boom-and-bust cycle so persistent? Why did economists fail to predict the economic meltdown that began in 2007—or to pull us out of the crisis more quickly? And how can we prevent future calamities?

Mainstream economics has no adequate answers for these pressing questions. To understand how we got here, and how we can ensure prosperity, we must turn to an alternative to the dominant approach: the Austrian School of economics.

Unfortunately, few people have even a vague understanding of the Austrian School, despite the prominence of leading figures such as Nobel Prize winner F. A. Hayek, author of The Road to Serfdom. Harry C. Veryser corrects that problem in this powerful and eye-opening book. In presenting the Austrian School’s perspective, he reveals why the boom-and-bust cycle is unnatural and unnecessary.

Veryser tells the fascinating (but frightening) story of how our modern economic condition developed. The most recent recession, far from being an isolated incident, was part of a larger cycle that has been the scourge of the West for a century—a cycle rooted in government manipulation of markets and currency. The lesson is clear: the devastation of the recent economic crisis—and of stagflation in the 1970s, and of the Great Depression in the 1930s—could have been avoided. It didn’t have to be this way.

Economics is not a mysterious science, Veryser shows. As the Austrian School teaches, it is simply the study of human action. Mainstream economics has failed because it has forgotten this fundamental truth. Economists have tried to put economics on a par with hard sciences like physics, reducing everything to numbers. But their complex mathematical models and cherished theories have only contributed to economic collapse.

As the debate rages over the role of government in the economy, Harry Veryser presents the proper alternative to government interventionist approaches that have proved so ineffective. Too long unappreciated, the Austrian School of economics reveals the crucial conditions for a successful economy and points the way to a free, prosperous, and humane society.

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Product Details

  • Series: Culture of Enterprise
  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: ISI Books; 1st edition (January 7, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1935191071
  • ISBN-13: 978-1935191070
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #585,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Justin Jessop on January 10, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Harry Veryser has written an eloquent and forceful defense of the Austrian School of Economics. No other group of scholars has had a better and more comprehensive view of the workings of the economy than the Austrians and this book does justice to them.

The austrian theories have been refined since the time of Menger, but unlike other schools of economics have not required the dramatic revisions that Keynesians have required. Professor Veryser has presented the history and basic theory of the Austrian School in an enjoyable and readable way, while also reminding us of the proper place of economics. As Professor Veryser states economics is a practical science, and therefore the normal pretensions of the field are not warranted. Economics will not have, and nor should it strive for the precision of measurement, but instead as an explanatory science which then gives the wisdom for further prudential choices of how we allocate our resources.

This is an important book. For those who seek a better understanding of economics this book is clearly written and is accessible. For those who are making public policy the wisdom of the Austrians as laid out in this book presents a strong argument for free enterprise and clearly shows the evils of monetary manipulation. And for those who have grown tired of the petty bickering of mainstream economics as they try and fail to explain the world as it is, this book represents your oasis in the desert.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John A. Chew on February 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author places the Austrian School into historical context from Aristotle to Aquinas to Adam Smith. I have huge respect for the Austrian economists like Menger, Mises, Hayek, Ropke, and Rothbard, but I wish we could just substitute the words, common sense, for Austrian. If the past 1,000 years of human history have taught us but one thing: it is that central planning (Communist China, Soviet Russia, Eastern Europe, North Korea, Cuba) is a wretched failure in terms of fairness, health, morality, creation of wealth and individual liberty. Yet today in the United States there is massive central planning through the Federal Reserve System and bureaucratic despotism. This book shows how we got here and what we can do about it. There is still time.

The author really takes you through the destructive folly of ignoring common sense economics throughout the past 150 years. When governments neglect to protect property rights, debase the currency, allow for fractional reserve banking without 100% reserve backing, institute price controls, minimum wage laws, force the people to pay subsidies to favored groups, interfere with market prices including interest rates, then you have the chaos of booms and busts. The key to understanding booms and busts is to understand how artificial credit creation through the cartelized banking system distorts prices like interest rates that, in turn, fool entrepreneurs into thinking there is real savings available for future projects. Since consumers have not changed their pattern of consumption, the entrepreneur will find out too late that he will not have the available resources at the price he/she is planning on to complete his project. Witness the empty subdivisions in the Las Vegas desert after 2008.
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Harry C. Veryser's book is a superb presentation of the world of economic thought; how America has come to the brink of bankruptcy; and, what must be done to solve our problems. I get a kick out of all these mainstream economic supporters firing pot shots...all blanks...given that there isn't even one "authority" that has ever been right about anything. Mainstream economics is incapable of answering basic questions (No explanation for stagflation) and then they push fortunetelling as science.

It seems about 85%+ of all "economists" are in one way or another dependent/supported by government; 57% being directly employed. Upton Sinclair's remark seems to fit: It is hard to get a man to understand a thing when his income is dependent on his not understanding it. The record shows logical time-proven Austrian economic thought was dumped by the 'professional' economists when their keepers snapped fingers and mandated politician-entrenching planned economics would be the HOAX of the day.

Let's face it, mainstream economics and the respective 'professional' economists are useful stooges for the cabal of fractional reserve banking and the elitist political ruling class. They get trotted out to employ the 3rd-Party Authority "Leading Economists Agree" Deception-Tactic to support this or that program cronyism/patronage (McCain..."I don't know economics but I have top economists on my staff") and when these programs fail...the blame is automatically deflected from the banks and the politicians. Mainstream historians further the scams...another day another topic.

The only problem I have with Mr Veryser's presentation is his conflict between human action and his, it appears, catholic upbringing. There's a number of saints and popes quoted.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Craigers1961 on April 5, 2013
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Veryser does a very good job giving the reader a quick, enjoyable tour through the ideas and teachings of the Austrian School of Economics, form its history to the present. As someone who has read the vast majority of the extant works by Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek and Murray Rothbard, I found it a very easy and comprehensible presentation of this schools thought. In fact I would probably recommend this book as an entry level textbook for middle and high school as well as college economic courses.

If you are already well versed in the ASE, or if you wish more definitive answers and representations of the Austrian theories and approach to economics, this book is not for you. You are better off going to mises.org and reading the staple works like Human Action by Mises or Rothbard's magnum opus, Man, Economy and State. There are also other collections that deal exclusively with ASE business cycle theory. I highly recommend the socialism calculation debate and Hans de Soto's book Socialism, Economic Calculation and Entrepreneurship as a great primer. If you desire a more meatier book on Austrian cycle theory and the differences between Keynesian, monetary theory and the ASE I recommend "The Structure of Production" by Mark Skousen. This book has all the detail that "It Didnt Have to Be This Way" lacks in one cover.

That said, I do have several complaints.

The author is Catholic and he leans toward conservatism, he mentioned in several places papal social and economic encyclicals ala Thomas Woods Jr.. Maybe it's my long studies with Mises and Rothbard, both atheists, that have gotten me acclimated to "just the facts please" and leaving out the conservative religious fluff.
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