David Stockman’s Human Action?

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Robert Anderson, Austrian economist and former #2 to Leonard Read at FEE, writes his old friend Gary North, and copies me:

Gary: I’m only a third of the way through Stockman’s book, but I’m overwhelmed by his knowledge, analysis, and excellent prose. His personal perspective and incredible frankness reporting on our economic, political, and financial history is so refreshing, but the aspect of his book which amazes me most is his willingness to “tell it like it is, and was!” (He takes no prisoners!) I’ll say it again, Gary, there is book. To get a sense of his treatise just read the first few pages of Chapter 7, and take my word for it, it gets better! After reading his introduction, I skipped to his ending chapters 30-33, never intending to read his lengthy magnum opus, but he got me “hooked!” Without exaggeration, not since reading Mises have I been more impressed by the informative content of any book. Can you believe he’s even told me things I didn’t know? Even though he hasn’t said it yet, and he probably won’t, his book confirms the greatest enemy and undermining force of human liberty is the state, be it a command or democratic political order. One especially interesting point he makes in chapter 10 is the influence of Irving Fisher as the greater culprit than Keynes on FDR during the great depression, and likewise, Milton Friedman’s flawed thinking affecting Nixon when he closed the gold window in 1971. What’s the problem with his book? It will not get read, and even if it did, how few will be able to grasp its significance? Sort of reminds me of Human Action!

P.S. Stockman has one repetitive cliché which is annoying. He keeps using “needless to say” throughout his book. Damn it, if it’s needless to say, don’t say it!

I told Bob that David Gordon (review to come) calls it one of the most important economic history books of the last 100 years, and Bob answered:

Lew: Gordon is absolutely right, but the tragedy is so few will read Stockman’s book, or worse, grasp its relevance and significance. Was it not so with Mises and Rothbard as well? It’s regrettable that Stockman chose to exclude Rothbard and mentioned Mises only once in his index, even though it’s obvious he has been greatly influenced by both of them. At least Benjamin Anderson’s monetary and financial history is included in his bibliography. I used to think no one could exceed Murray in his criticism of named fascists, but Stockman may just do it. Their honesty is so damn refreshing to read! Beverly and I are reading his book on our Kindles, but I ordered the book in hardcover as well to have as a chronicle of our pitiful neo-fascist monetary era. The print quality of his book leaves something to be desired, but his message is required reading for anyone to better understand the evil of today’s statist, crony capitalist culture. Buy it for the Kindle Fire since it would be a “door stop” to read in print form. Suppose more people might have read Human Action in 1949 if the Kindle had existed then?

10:04 am on April 18, 2013