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Robert Higgs is a senior fellow in political economy for The Independent Institute and serves as editor of the Institute's quarterly journal, The Independent Review. He is the author of Against Leviathan; Crisis and Leviathan; Depression, War, and Cold War; and Resurgence of the Warfare State; and the editor of The Challenge of Liberty; Emergence of the Modern Political Economy; and Hazardous to Our Health?He lives in Covington, Louisiana.
I get the feeling that the word "ideology" is becoming more and more popular these days. Even Obama keeps bringing it up to refer to Bush's war. This is a good thing because ideologies become the sort of lemons out of which our minds can make lemonade with, and the more we focus on ideology the more we focus on the root of the problems instead of just labeling people as good or evil and killing them which still seems to be the usual solution to so many problems. I mention this because chapter 3 "The Complex Course of Ideological Change" provides an insightful discussion on the subject.
This book seems to be a condensed and bite-sized version of Dr. Higgs' many contributions to political economy.
Chapter 5 "What Got Us Into and Out of the Great Depression" is worth the price of the book by itself.
The one thing I did not like was the title and cover. It gives off this conspiracy theory "the government is out to get us" type of feel which I think turns some people off.
I can't think of that many other books that do a great job of discussing so many important concepts and bits of history in so short a time. Highly recommended.
Robert Higgs tells it like it is. If you are wondering what's wrong with our country just pick up something Higgs has written and you get a lot of answers. This is not an easy read. It has a lot of detail and is well crafted. Another good book by Higgs!
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Great historical analysis. Growing up in the last part of the 20th century I always wondered how the USA govt got so big etc. The monolith of govt that is supposed to serve the citizenry now looms over them. In California during the A Schwarzenegger governorship we saw a Republican governor try to dismantle and steer the state out of a recession/deficit time only to grind to a stalemate. As unsatisfactory as the explanation was it was true; the govt of Calif is multi-layered w/ well entrenched interest groups that refuse to give ground and can stymie the reform process. This book describes how the Federal govt can take on a life of its own. Having sprung up it becomes a Frankenstein monster, uncontrollable by its creator. But where the creature from the book could only dream of reproducing this monster buearocracy can actually live on and replicate itself. At times the book is laborious in its explanation and intricacy but that is expected from a PH.d. I had the pleasure of meeting Higgs at a forum held recently. I was impressed at how feisty he holds his anti-govt views. Sadly the book ends w/ the caveat that Big Daddy Govt can not be tamed. Lazzaire fare govt can't be had b/c citizens raised on freebies by the govt refuse to go cold turkey. Yet encouragingly the opposite extreme Socialist dogma fed govt is equally undoable. Therefore things are bad but shall survive and hopefully can fine tune things. If future generations take notice they might learn from our struggle.
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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.