- Paperback: 331 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; Lrg edition (2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1479265462
- ISBN-13: 978-1479265466
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,305,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Power & Market: Government and the Economy Paperback – Large Print, 2006
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About the Author
Edward P. Stringham is professor of economics at San Jose State University and a research fellow at The Independent Institute. He is president of the Association of Private Enterprise Education, editor of the Journal of Private Enterprise, and the editor of Anarchy, State, and Public Choice.
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Top Customer Reviews
Unlike most Austrian school economists, Rothbard was an anarchist. In fact, he was the twentieth century's seminal figure in anarcho-capitalist thought. This means that Rothbard thought that not only roads and the like, but also national defense and courts could be provided without a state. (See his Society Without a State in the Libertarian Reader, ed. Machan, for a succinct presentation of his views.)
Rothbard starts out this work with a discussion of various types of government intervention in the economy. He divides them into three types: autistic (violent crime), triangular (tariffs, wage and price controls, licensing, etc.)and binary intervention (taxation and government spending). Following this is a discussion of antimarket ethics. There isn't an aspect of government intervention in the economy that escapes Rothbard's scalpel. As a whole, this is certainly an outstanding book. Take Rothbard's discussion of taxation. Many "right wing" economists support the sales tax on the ground that it doesn't discourage savings and investment. But it reduces people's income and thereby reduces savings and investment. It is a tax on income. [pp. 92-93.]
My main problem with this work is the sometimes simplistic discussion of complex problems and the leaps in logic. (I've discussed this is my review of The Ethics of Liberty.) Take for example the issue of immigration laws. "The advocate of immigration laws . . . really fears, therefore, is not so much immigration as any population growth. To be consistent, therefore, he would have to advocate compulsory birth control, to slow down the rate of population growth desired by individual parents." [p. 55.] Even in light of the entire 2 page discussion of immigration laws, I don't see how this follows. In this (and some other areas) the discussion is narrowly economic. Aren't there good reasons to restrict the type of immigrants? For example, if you have a society that is devoted to individual freedom and responsibility, isn't it wise to prevent immigration from those countries that don't support freedom?
If you want to know the essence of Rothbard, purchase this work; Man, Economy, and State; The Ethics of Liberty; and the Logic of Action.
The publication of Power and Market was a major event in Austrian Economics. Up to this point Austrians all endorsed the minimal state. Since then Austrians have been divided between Anarchists and Minarchists. The case that Rothbard makes for comprehensive privatization is bold, especially when you consider the mindset of both professional economists and the general public in the 1960's. From a purely intellectual standpoint Power and Market is not really bold, it is just a matter of thinking critically about all forms of intervention. But when you consider the predominant ideological mindset back then, and even now, the intellectual courage exhibited by Rothbard becomes clear.
Power and Market should be read with Nozick's Anarchy State and Utopia and Sanford Ikeda's Dynamics of the Mixed Economy, and perhaps also Elinor Ostrom's Governing the Commons, Robert Caneiro's A Theory of the Origin of the State, and Higg's Crisis and Leviathan. Not everyone will embrace Rothbard's vision for a new world, but fair-minded thoughtful people should nevertheless find his book provocative and insightful. Power and Market is a major contribution to political economy, and as such it is a must read for those who seek to understand how society works, and how it might work better.