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Time Will Run Back: A Novel About the Rediscovery of Capitalism Hardcover – 1966

4.2 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • 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)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. J. Cumbow on September 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Set in the year 2100, Wonworld is the global socialist police state run from Moscow. Civilization has not progressed (and has even digressed somewhat) since the victory of Marxist socialism over capitalism in the 20th century. A thin, but entertaining, story of political intrigue follows the rise of a new young dictator to world prominence. Because he has been isolated on an island for most of his life (a necessary plot device) he can see that something is wrong in the socialist paradise (but he's not sure what). Slowly and gropingly he (with the help of a similarly-minded politburo member) tries to figure out and correct the problems of socialism. They do this over a modest backdrop of character development and plot twists.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
"Human nature, chief, seems to be a little more stubborn than Marx and Engels supposed."

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hemingway has nothing to worry about. As a novelist, Mr. Hazlitt remains an excellent economist. Anticipating Ayn Rand perhaps, Mr. Hazlitt achieves his purpose of displaying the fallacies of a Marxist approach to governance through a fictionalized character, but his fiction style, though clear, is a drudgery to read. His “Economics in One Lesson” was actually more interesting. One memorable phrase in his book was “Vicarious Generosity”, righting perceived ills with other people’s money.
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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is essentially an economics textbook disguised as a novel. The plot itself is interesting, reading sort of like a sequel to 1984. It has a love story, an assassination attempt and a few action scenes. And in the middle of all that, it gives a great lesson on how a market economy works and its advantages over Socialism/Communism. Those parts can get dry, but still very readable. Highly recommended for high schoolers, college students or anyone looking to learn while being entertained at the same time.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I read this when I was maybe 13 in the 1970s and it really influenced my understandings of the benefits of free market economics vs planned economies. The plot is a bit stilted, and ideologically it is clearly on the side of less regulation vs more, but in terms of understanding how communism inevitably leads to totalitarianism and on concepts like the "invisible hand" it was very influential for me.
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