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Libertarianism, from A to Z
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"In Libertarianism, from A to Z, Jeff Miron provides a much needed introduction to Libertarian thinking. In the process, he demonstrates the power of economic analysis. His book provides a much needed lesson in how to reach a conclusion rather than start with one. Students and pundits could benefit greatly from reading Miron’s work and following his example."
Brink Lindsey, Vice President for Research, Cato Institute
"In clear, common-sense prose, Jeffrey Miron looks at government policies from A to Z. To all of them he applies one simple test: do the benefits of government action outweigh the costs? And most of the time, he concludes the answer is no. Whether or not you always agree with him, you'll find your own thinking sharpened by his insistent, incisive skepticism."
“An excellent small volume that explains the libertarian approach and philosophy as it applies to a wide variety of issues and topics…With its wealth of information, this book deserves a place on the shelves of all academic libraries…Essential.”
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The book is setup sort of like an encyclopedia, where each entry is a short explanation of the libertarian arguments surrounding an issue. The problem is that the arguments are presented without supporting evidence, and without bothering to rebut the most obvious objections and counter-arguments from the other side (the other side being those who see government intervention to be the ideal tool to solve any societal or economic problem). As a result, even those of us who are already in the libertarian camp will tend to find the book unpersuasive. It certainly will not convert any non-believers.
For example, Miron writes that "corruption arises mainly because of laws that impede private profit opportunities or interfere with mutually beneficial exchange (p.49)" Considering the longstanding corruptness of the U.S. government I find this statement nearly as difficult to accept as Miron's belief that politicians, bemoaning corruption, pass laws seeking to curtail it (p.48).
In discussing discrimination Miron believes (p.58) that "discrimination is unlikely to be substantial in market economies because employers, lenders, universities, and others who discriminate put themselves at a competitive disadvantage." One wonders if Miron believes that discrimination would be less rampant than it is today without the institution of anti-discrimination laws.
Concerning campaign finance regulation Miron states (p.30) that "neither theory nor evidence indicates that spending has a large impact on a candidate's electoral success" but then acquiesces that spending is "only one part of winning elections." I'm left wondering what role he really sees campaign finance playing in the election process.
"Laws against violence and theft," he writes, "do not forbid mutually beneficial exchange or interfere with purely voluntary actions, while prohibitions do" (p.61).Read more ›
The author, Jeffrey A. Miron, is the Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Harvard economics department and has appeared on major television stations. His writings have also been published in the New York Times and Forbes.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a gutless, communitarian, bookkeeper's view of libertarianism presented in a simple-minded, philosophically naïve way for people who cannot think abstractly. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Sam Adams
A quick read with lots of information by a professor. He teaches at George Mason University & is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute which is a libertarian think tank. Read morePublished on October 23, 2012 by Robert E. Duncan
Miron's approach is to explain why many popular activities of government are unlikely to achieve their intended results. Read morePublished on July 23, 2012 by Dave Hood
Well, written, yes. Broad spectrum of issues, yes. Authoritative Libertarian thought? Maybe.
After being a lifetime conservative Libertarian of the Goldwater/Buckley... Read more
A journey accross a number of issues from a libertarian viewpoint. Some are thought through with greater clarity and depth than others. Read morePublished on March 24, 2011 by KAP
The product came on time in the condition described. The book was a little warped which was probably due to shipping. Overall good, smooth transaction!Published on January 13, 2011 by Lana
I came to this book with high hopes, but was soon disappointed. Author Jeffrey Miron states that the essence of his approach, which he calls "consequential libertarianism," is a... Read morePublished on January 4, 2011 by Bill2011
Miron's encylopedic-format book on Libertarianism is a decent introduction to the philosophy but, as other reviewers have written, is certainly not perfect. Read morePublished on September 29, 2010 by Gods' Will Know-It-All