I have read Peikoff's book 3 times and now have to thank you for a fair-minded and accurate review of it. You capture its over-all purpose and theme. If it were updated today (January 2009), it would have to include the open statements by both recent candidates for the US Presidency and give us some idea how far along we are to economic dictatorship and leader-worship. After World War II, Frederick Hayek wrote a book, The Road to Serfdom, in which he used Germany as his historic example of the steps along which a relatively free country "progresses" to the full descent into dictatorship. Using his measure, I roughly see America as 60% of the way there. In a recent book on Ayn Rand's interviews (Objectively Speaking), Rand says she does not think America can go fully statist, because of the sense of life she sees in Americans, which has its origins in individualism, culturally, and in individual rights, politically. One has to hope she is right, while the policies of the previous Republican Administartion and the stated aims of the new Democratic Administration clearly aim at nationalizing much of the financial sector of the American economy. I remember the frustration that Bill Clinton expressed when he found out that he could not simply act on the economy the way Obama is about to. He was told that even the Unites States government can be rated up or down on its credit worthiness and, thus, limit its abitlity to manipulate its currency while borrowing from abroad. Well, now the stupidity of financiers and businessmen, who think that ideas and economics don't have any real effect on business life, succumed to the seduction of government policies in housing finance with the result that Wall Street is solidly in the hands of government and now exercises no restraint on what government can do with our money.
A warning to those who think that Obama's heavy-handed manipulation of the currency and economy will save us. One thing we learn from Peikoff's book is that two things follow swiftly upon the establishment of economic dictatorship: shortages of basic human needs (food!) and the suppression of dissent (free speech).