Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
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Luckily, we can get Mises’s main ideas, with Robert Murphy’s Choice: Cooperation, Enterprise, and Human Action. Murphy was able to summarize Mises’s entire book with less than a third of the pages while being able to explain the major components of Human Action that the average person can understand.
The book begins with a forward from Donald J. Boudreaux, which gives a nice overview of Mises and Robert Murphy’s Choice. The introduction displays the great importance of why Austrian Economics should be studied. It begins with why the present methodology and study of economic science is wrong and some of the consequences. Next, it goes through some of the history of economics and the contributions Austrian Economics made.
Murphy’s Choice is separated into seven different parts. Part one defines what the proper way of studying economics is, how economic theory is used to understand history, starts with understanding what human action is and some of the logical deductions. Part two evaluates human action within a social framework, and how the division of labor and specialization comes about and explains the role of ideas and reasoning. Part three delves into how money prices allow for people to use numbers to calculate the costs and benefits of certain actions, which Mises called economic calculation.
Part four analyzes how the market economy works. It deals with the definition of the market economy, how prices come about, how money originates, banking, capital and interest rates, and the Austrian Business Cycle.
The opposite is the socialist economy in part five. The socialist economy is state ownership of the means of production. Mises shows that a socialist economy does not allow for the means of production to be traded, which means no prices can arise and economic calculation can’t be used. Therefore, socialism is impossible because the socialist planners cannot possibly know the most efficient means of producing things.
Part six deals with the hampered market economy, or government intervention, and shows why government intervention is always a negative for the market economy. The final part shows us why it is important for citizens to understand economic teachings because it affects everyone everywhere.
Robert Murphy’s book is one of the best books to understand the methodology of the Austrian School of economics, and also the best book that you can read if you ever plan on reading Mises’s work. Murphy is clear and concise and the book is easy to understand for the average layman. If you ever plan on reading this book or at least consider this book, it may be your choice, but it is a good choice.