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Hypocrites & Half-Wits: A Daily Dose of Sanity from Cafe Hayek Hardcover – July 1, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Donald J. Boudreaux served as chairman of the department of economics at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, from 2001 to 2009. He runs a blog, CafeHayek.com, with Russ Roberts and has lectured in the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe. He is the author of Globalization (2008), and his writing has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Investor's Business Daily, Regulation, Reason, Ideas on Liberty, the Washington Times, the Journal of Commerce, the Cato Journal, and several scholarly journals.

Before chairing the economics department at George Mason, Boudreaux was president of the Foundation for Economic Education; associate professor of legal studies and Economics at Clemson University, and assistant professor of economics at George Mason University.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Free To Choose Press (July 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0983968705
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983968702
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #705,442 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To relieve his frustration at misguided popular reporting on economic issues that affect each of us, often in ways we don't appreciate at first glance, Don Boudreaux, a Professor of Economics, writes one letter-to-the-editor every day. I suspect he voted for Ron Paul, but he spares no one, whether "The New York Times", Fox News, "The Wall Street Journal", or Nobel-winner Paul Krugman. Each has received at least one (usually more) short pithy letter explaining why a pronouncement on a current government program or a commonly accepted nostrum is bunkum.

So when Randi Weingarten says markets won't solve the schooling crisis, Boudreaux asks her to imagine groceries being supplied the way education is. Folks would pay property taxes, and the Government would spend the taxes on building and supplying grocery stores. Of course you would be "assigned" to your neighborhood "public" grocery store where you would receive your weekly allotment of groceries for "free". Grocery administrators would decide the quality and quantity of groceries you would receive. Wealthier counties would have better stores, and Boudreaux suspects that the quality of the local public supermarket would play a major role in your choice of where to live if you could afford to move.

When a Mr. Warner writing to the "Los Angeles Times", hoping to defeat members of Congress who voted against Obamacare, asked readers to remember these opponents "Every time you have to pay an extravagant co-pay ... or deductible", Boudreaux chides Mr.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Before I begin my review, I must state in the interest of full disclosure: I am one of the (many) people that are thanked in the Acknowledgements of this book -- because I am a friend of the author Donald J. Boudreaux, and over the past few years, I have often chatted with Boudreaux about the content of his letters to the editor; some of which were ultimately compiled for this book -- although I had nothing whatsoever to do with the publishing of the book. I am recommending this wonderful book on its own merit; I truly believe that it is a gem. I greatly enjoyed reading it, and so will you!

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Donald J. Boudreaux is a professor at George Mason University: an economist and a lawyer, he was Chairman of the Economics Department at GMU for 8 years, and currently teaches in GMU's economics department and law school. He is a staunch advocate of individual liberty, limited government, free markets, and non-interventionist foreign policy. He frequently writes letters-to-the-editor in support of these principles, in opposition to newspaper articles/editorials that counter these principles, or display what he believes to be economic illiteracy. But newspaper editors are not the only targets of Boudreaux's pearls of wisdom: he will write a letter to anyone whom he encounters displaying economic illiteracy or advocating Big Government, whether it is a radio talk show host regurgitating talking points that have no basis in sound economics; a politician arguing for ever-more governmental power; or a blogger arguing that America is somehow economically harmed by importing cheap goods made in foreign countries.

He almost certainly has the world record for letters written to the editor -- he has written nearly 5,000 letters over the past decade!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I strongly feel that each person should know the basics of economy and should be able to recognize and dispute false ideas. The book of Don Boudreaux takes publicly stated opinions of politicians and journalists and proves in plain language how these are wrong - regarless of how good they may sound at first.

Why is it necessary to read about these wrong opinions? Because the misconseptions that are repeated over and over on the radio & television and in the newspapers are not that many (the state can do better job allocating resources and managing than people themselves; that minimum wages help the poor; etc. etc.) and chances are you hear the same thoughts from people around yourself. Donald Boudreaux's book gives you a set of tools which you can use to explain to your friends and family why these popular ideas are wrong or misguided, and never work as intended.

I've been visiting Don Boudreaux's Cafe Hayek website for a couple of years and I purchased this book as a way to say thank you for his time spent maintaining the website. I give it 4 out of 5 stars only because it is just a bit more monotonous to read that I may have liked. But if you listen to politicians and talking heads and wonder why is it that they talk bulshit and nobody around you gives a damn, then you will enjoy reading 'Hypocricies & Half-Wits' and know you're not alone out there :)
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Format: Hardcover
For those who have enjoyed Don Boudreaux's letters to editors at various newspapers and other news organizations at this website CafeHayek.com, Free To Choose Press has collected those letters and other musings in one place. This 248 page book is an extremely fast read, but even those who don't have the attention span to tackle econ books will find this a very painless way to learn economics in simple, very well explained small bites. I was able to go through the book in just a leisurely few hours. As someone who has taught economics for 20 years and tried myself to explain economics to the general public, I can only hope that some professors will have this book as a supplemental reading for their principals classes.
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