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Man, Economy, and State Paperback – June 15, 1993
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I found the work both more satisfying and more intellectually invigorating than I expected. Rothbard's clear, deductive prose, aided with just a touch of humor and sarcasm, makes for some wonderful reading. I know I will read this one many, many times before I feel I have really absorbed everything this book has to offer.
I especially urge educated laymen and students of economics to give this book a good reading before mindlessly accepting the trendy mathematical scribbling that has become the code language of ivy-league economists. Purposive, motivated individual ACTION is the ultimate cause of all economic phenomena. Therefore, economics must be described in terms of cause and effect relationships originating in the attempts of individuals to employ scarce means to satisfy unlimited wants.
Economics, when described through functional equations, can never contain any meaningful insights that could not be expressed more precisely through verbal logic, as functional relationships lack information on causality. In the social sciences they are likely to be the source of false deduction and inference. The result is a hopelessly confused pseudo-science that ignores most of what makes economics useful.
Because Rothbard understands this from the get-go, he is able to give us 900 pages of meaningful logic.
Thank you, Murray Rothbard!
This book: Man, Economy and State, written by Murray N. Rothbard can make an economist out of layman if he puts time and efforts into reading this book and understanding all its concepts. Murray Rothbard starts with the basic axiom that: Humans Act. He further states that Humans Act to relieve some sort of unease and approach a better state of satisfaction. Based on these two axioms he builds up the entire edifice of Economics using impeccable logic and superb reasoning.
I had read Carl Menger's 'Principles of Economics' before this and thus had a basic understanding of economics. But EVEN if you do not have that, do not worry. This book starts with very basic terms and explains the concepts of Supply and Demand, Interest Rates, Profit/Loss, Production Structure etc. in a clear and thorough manner.
Murray Rothbard furthermore refutes the Socialist, Keynesian(gradual socialist) and neo-classical schools of economics. His elucidation of fallacies of Interventionist economics is so logical that one cannot help but laugh out loud on the stupidity of fools like John Keynes, Karl Marx and their disciples.
Also you will not see much mathematics in this book. Subjective valuations of goods/services by humans cannot be quantified. This seems pretty logical to most of us but many who call themselves "economists" simply miss this insight.
Read this book and you will have a far better understanding of how the world works. You will also understand economics better than most economics college professors and government-employed economists.
+ Assumes nothing; teaches you economics from the ground up.
+ Thorough and detailed.
+ If you find an edition with the rare last chapter, "The Economics of Violent Intervention in the Market," the book is worth its weight in gold: it's a political treatise AND economics compendium in one.
- A bit on the dry side; Rothbard's vocabulary and syntax tend towards the dense.
- Don't expect a lot of graphs. Get used to it: Austrians don't like graphs.
- Threateningly heavy.
As an introductory matter, Rothbard studied under Ludwig von Mises, this century's premier Austrian economist. Man, Economy, and State is a basic treatise on economics, drawing on the insights of the Austrian school. It starts with the fundamentals of human action, and then goes on to discuss prices, production, monopoly theory, money, and other matters. This work is lengthy and some parts are quite theoretical, but that shouldn't stop even the tyro in economics from reading it. Rothbard starts with "Crusoe economics," that is with the individual actor. From this, he introduces the reader to the basics of economic reasoning. Only after this foundation is constructed does Rothbard discuss more complex issues. If you want to learn to "think like an economist" this book is a great place to start. I'm no economist -- and some of this work was a little beyond me (although I like to think I could have mastered it if I had enough free time) -- but even those chapters that are the most theoretical contain numerous insights into more "practical" matters.
Unlike von Mises and most other Austrians, Rothbard was an anarchist. His opposition to government led to some unusual positions. For example, he viewed patents as contrary to the free market. [p. 652-60.] He also taught that blackmail would be legal in a free society. [p. 443 n. 49.] I'm not sure I agree with these conclusions, but they are always presented in a thought-provoking manner.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A bit too big -- Rothbard has done better with more focused works.Published 5 months ago by L. Stepelevich
A classic is a work that rewards repeated re-reading. I am planning to repeat the graduate seminar I gave around this book not only because it is a revelation to students who have... Read morePublished on December 15, 2007 by Warren C. Gibson
This is Murray Rothbard's Magnum Opus, or maybe it isn't. He has had so many books that were great, it is really hard to tell which one is his best. Read morePublished on May 24, 2006 by William Byrd
New text of my review :
I think that wikipedia (search google for...
"Man, Economy, and State" free text
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This is easily one of the three best defenses of the Free Market ever written. (The other two being Mises' "Human Action" and Reisman's "Capitalism" . Read morePublished on November 16, 2003 by Walt Byars
Others here have done a great job of reviewing this book, so I won't say much.
I have to give it 5 stars. Read more
If you want a systematic and sound grouding in economics, this is the book to read. Rothbard's treatise is a delight, an amazing intellectual achievement, and yet more than... Read morePublished on July 25, 2001 by Thomas Woods