- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Arlington House; Revised edition (1966)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0006BOFIG
- Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.8 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,942,769 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Time Will Run Back: A Novel About the Rediscovery of Capitalism Hardcover – 1966
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Top Customer Reviews
The meat of the book consists of the Socratic arguments between Peter (the young dictator) and Adams (his confidant). Conjoining those arguments are their attempts to implement economic policies (often in dangerous conflict with the status quo) to improve the life of the people. Sometimes they guess right. Sometimes wrong. In either case, Hazlitt uses each situation to teach us something about economics, and this is where Hazlitt shines. He is a master at making economics understandable anyway (in his non-fiction books), but using fiction to dramatize his points works extremely well.
Ultimately, Peter and Adams "rediscover" freedom and capitalism, but not without encountering some difficult philosophical questions - both on their journey and facing them in their future.
The year is 2100. It's been a hundred and fifty some years since the Russian conquest and the establishment of the Soviet Socialist Republic of the World. The new dictator, a non-dictatorial type who achieved his position accidentally through a fortuitous set of circumstances, is grappling with the dual problems of 1) how to brighten the dreary fear-driven existence of the proletariat, and 2) why the Dictatorship of the Proletariat has not withered away as, according to Marx, it was supposed to do.
The Dictator and his top aide (quoted above on human nature) embark on a series of reforms and in the process rediscover money and free market economics.
In the 1950s, the stark reality of the true face of communism was staring down the free world. This seems to have spawned a brief era of un-Utopias: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Animal Farm, Brave New World. There was one more: Time Will Run Back. I discovered this because it's always high on the "this reader also bought" list for people who purchased my own history books. So I kindled it.
As literature, it's nowhere in the same league as Orwell, but it was never intended to be. As Orwell did, this book recreates a world where we are compelled by the state to "be good," with all the horrible consequences. But it is something else: a tutorial on how the Hidden Hand works, how the economy, like ecology, finds the most efficient solutions only when, paradoxically, there is no higher authority making the decisions.
Henry Hazlitt is always a great explicator of the economics of freedom. He is here, too.
As I read his plot of Marxist rulers liquidating people who they perceived as threats, the nightly news was reporting Kim Jong Un’s “liquidation” of his uncle, as he executed his former girlfriend awhile back. Venezuela President Nicholas Maduro just sent the army to appliance stores to force prices lower on television sets, another topic Hazlitt addresses. People don’t seem to learn. In “Economics in One Lesson” Hazlitt correctly predicted the outcome of government insured mortgages, which could have avoided the entire 2007 economic meltdown if our politicians and bureaucrats weren’t idiots.
I had to give it 5 stars anyway, out of respect for Mr. Hazlitt’s views, if not his fiction skills.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have been reading a number of odd books lately, and this fits right in. I believe that Hazlitt was a brilliant and gifted economist, not so much as a writer of fiction. Read morePublished 24 months ago by Shane C. Pruyne
As a teacher of American History and Economics, I use this book as an extra credit assignment for those who desire to excel in economics understanding. Read morePublished on March 11, 2014 by Freedom Works
I came away with the disheartening conclusion all free societies will eventually succumb to the envy of the under achievers and lust for power by the elitists. Read morePublished on February 22, 2013 by Raymond