[Updated: 13 May, 2021]

 

David Hart is an historian and a libertarian with interests in the history of the classical liberal tradition (especially the Levellers and the French political economists), war and culture, libertarian class theory, and film. He has a PhD from King's College, Cambridge, a masters from Stanford University, and a BA Honours degree from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He taught in the Department of History at the University of Adelaide in South Australia for 15 years before moving to the US where he designed, built and managed the award-winning website "The Online Liberty of Liberty" for a non-profit educational foundation between 2001 and 2019. He is now an independent scholar and a keen observer of a large recreational waterway in the Northern Beaches region of Sydney (map from 1802 below [larger size]; Google map of it now; other maps).
[Brief Bio] [A Bit More] [Current CV HTML or PDF] [Areas of Expertise and Scholarly Activity (PDF)]

 

 

 

A Digital Library
oN the INtellectual Battle between
Political Power and Individual Liberty

RECENT ADDITIONS | THE GREAT BOOKS OF LIBERTY | THE CONFLICTED WESTERN TRADITION | SOCIALSM AND THE CLASSICAL LIBERAL CRITIQUE | CLASSICAL LIBERAL CLASS ANALYSIS

"Like you I love all forms of freedom; and among these, the one that is the most universally useful to mankind, the one you enjoy at each moment of the day and in all of life’s circumstances, is the freedom to work and to trade. I know that making things one’s own is the fulcrum of society and even of human life. I know that trade is intrinsic to property and that to restrict the one is to shake the foundations of the other. I approve of your devoting yourself to the defense of this freedom whose triumph will inevitably usher in the reign of international justice and consequently the extinction of hatred, prejudices between one people and another, and the wars that come in their wake."
["Draft Preface" to Economic Harmonies (1847)]
Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850)  

 

 

[Sisyphus pushing the Boulder of Liberty up the Mountain of Statism. See blogpost on this: The Work of Sisyphus: the Urgent Need for Intellectual Change (25 April, 2020)]

[The "Liberty" or "Phrygian Cap" worn by freed slaves in ancient Rome. It became a commonly used symbol during the French Revolution.]

On this Page

Is a list of recent additions in the form of a diary as things are added as they strike my fancy. These are organised thematically elsewhere in the library.

Information about three projects on which I am currently working: a collection of The Great Books about Liberty and my reading guide for a course on The Conflicted Western Tradition which draws upon some of these great books about liberty and their formidable opponents (The assumption being that "the" western tradition could have gone either way, and still might), and Socialism and the Classical Liberal Critique which brings together works from the 1840s, 1880s, and 1920s in this seemiongly never ending battle.

Elsewhere in the Library

I have a blog "Reflections on Liberty and Power" where I offer my musings about the state of the world and my place in it.

There are other pages where I provide a summary list of works on related topics, such as:

Some Projects I have worked on | Papers & Books | Talks & Lectures

the all important poroblem of a Strategy for achieving a free society

two topics very dear to me are the history of Classical Liberalism and the theory of classical liberal Class Analysis

focusing on the Paris School: French Classical Liberalism especially Bastiat | Comte & Dunoyer | Molinari

and our intellectual "great grandparents" The Levellers and the few Australian Classical Liberals I have been able to find

and my longstanding passion for the matter of War & Peace |
Aft & Propaganda | Film & Fiction

not to forget having some Fun Stuff along the way.

See the [Archive] and The New Guillaumin Library (a work in progress)

["Liberty who has overturned the hydra of tyranny and smashed the yoke of despotism" (1793)]

[The Seal of Florence:
"Peace & the Defence of Liberty"]

 

Most Recent Additions to the Library

Additions in 2021 / L'AN II

May 2021

  • Blog posts:
  • I have another very interesting piece by the American jurist James C. Carter entitled The Ideal and the Actual in the Law (1890) [HTML] to add to his The Provinces of the Written and the Unwritten Law (1889) [HTML]. Carter argues for the idea that judges do not "make the law" but rather "discover" it by observing common practice and custom around them. Legal change occurs at the margin when judges adapt or slightly modify current jural pracice. The riole of the legislature in reforming the law is thus minimal at best.
  • 27 years after Bastiat's death, his close friend Hortense Cheuvreux (1808-1893), the wife of the wealthy industrialist and supporter of the liberal political economists Casimir Cheuvreux, published anonymously a collection of her letters from Bastiat. This suggests more than just a passing acquaintance in my view but this is hard to prove. These letters reveal another more personal side to Bastiat which does not come out in Paillottet's heavily edited (and redacted) collection: Lettres d’un habitant des Landes (1877) [HTML and facs. PDF (en français)]
  • Since there is no good HTML version of the works of Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) online in French I decided to do one myself. There are 7 volumes in the 2nd 1864 edition done by Paillottet. The two collections of his Economic Sophisms and pamphlets in vol. 4 and vol. 5 are the first cabs off the rank. Those available in HTML are in bold. The complete table of contents of the set (with links) can be found here:
    • 1. Correspondance et mélanges (1862) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 2. Le Libre-Échange (1862) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 3. Cobden et la Ligue ou L'agitation anglaise pour la Liberté des Échange (1864) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 4. Sophismes économiques. Petits pamphlets I (1863) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 5. Sophismes économiques. Petits pamphlets II (1863) - HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 6. Harmonies économiques (1864) - only in facs. PDF. We have a version of this work from the 6th edition of 1870 in HTML and facs. PDF.
    • 7. Essais, Ébauches, Correspondance (1864) - HTML and facs. PDF.
  • as an historian I much prefer to see an author's works listed chronologically rather than "thematically". I have created such a list of nearly 300 items Bastiat published with links to the relevant texts.
  • Here are some of Bastiat's major works (en français) in a single file - HTML (from the OC) and facs. PDF (published book, article, or pamphlet). He devoted the first part of his life to opposing protectionism (1844 - Feb. 1848) and the second to opposing socialism (Feb. 1848-1850):
    • on protectionism and free trade:
      • Bastiat's long introduction to his 1st book on Cobden et la ligue, ou l’Agitation anglaise pour la liberté du commerce (Cobden and the (Anti-Corn Law) League, or the English Free Trade Movement) (1845) [HTML and facs. PDF]
      • Sophismes économiques (1846) (the "first series") [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      • Sophismes économiques. Deuxième série. (1848) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
    • His anti-socialist pamphlets from Feb. 1848-50:
      1. "Du Communisme," Libre-Échange (27 juin, 1847) - technically not part of the anti-socialist campaign during the Second Republic but an early piece attacking the socialist ideas of Philippe Buchez who edited the workers' magazine L'Atelier (the Workshop) and became the first President of the Republic [HTML and facs. PDF]
      2. the first article he wrote after the Feb. Revolution was "Funestes illusions" (Disastrous Illusions) JDE (mars, 1848) in which he urged the people to abolish all political and economic privileges and not to replace the old group of "plunderers" with a new group as the socialists were urging them to do [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      3. "Propriété et loi" (Property and Law) JDE (mai, 1848) - a defence of property rights against the criticism of socialists like Louis Blanc and others [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      4. "Justice et fraternité" (Justice and Fraternity) JDE (juin, 1848) - a response to the socialist Pierre Leroux [HTML and facs.PDF] [English at OLL]
      5. "Individualisme et fraternité" (Individualism and Fraternity) (c. June 1848) - an unpublished paper also written to refute the socialist's claim (esp. by Louis Blanc) that free markets led to ruinous individualism and competition while socialism led to fraternity and brotherhood for the workers. [HTML] [English at OLL] This is a a topic he would return to in several chapters of Economic Harmonies such as chap. X “Concurrence” (Competition) [HTML] and XXI “Solidarité” (Solidarity) [HTML]
      6. "L'État" (June, Sept. 1848 and early 1849): there were three versions of this famous essay -the 1st in June before the June Days riots in Paris which was short and written for the ordinary worker in the streets [English at OLL]; the 2nd longer version was written for a high-brow magazine in Sept. 1848); and the 3rd longest version was written as a pamphlet and gave a detailed critique of Ledru-Rollin's socialist (Montagnard) party platform. [HTML and PDF] [English at OLL].
      7. "Propriété et spoliation" (Property and Plunder) JDD (juli 1848) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL] - a defence of property, especially of land, against the criticism of Victor Considerant
      8. Capitale et rente (Capital and Rent) (1849) [HTML and facs. PDF] - in opposition to the criticisms of Proudhon and others on the legitimacy of rent
      9. Protectionisme et Communisme (Protectionism and Communism) Jan. 1849) - addressed to the conservative politician Adolphe Thiers pointing our the similarities between conservative and socialist policies, namely their use of state coercion to give privileges to some members of society at the expence of others [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      10. Maudit argent! (Damned Money!) (1849) [HTML and facs. PDF] - in opposition to socialist misconceptions about money, banking, and debt
      11. Spoliation et Loi (Plunder and Law) (1850) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL] - written to oppose the ideas of Louis Blanc, the Luxembourg Commission, and the National Workshops program
      12. Gratuité du crédit. Discussion entre M. Fr. Bastiat et M. Proudhon (Free Credit. A Discussion between M. Fr. Bastiat and M. Proudhon) (1850) [HTML and facs. PDF] - an extended debate with Proudhon over the legitimacy of profit, interest and rent.
      13. Baccalauréate et socialisme (The Baccalaureat and Socialism) (1850) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL] - written to oppose the teaching of interventionist and statist ideas ("socialism") in government schools by means of the teaching of the Latin language which was supported by conservatives like Adolphe Thiers
      14. La Loi (The Law) (June 1850) - one of the last things Bastiat wrote before his death; a lengthy critique of the ideas of Louis Blanc and the 18th century predecessors of socialist ideas, most notably Rousseau and Robespierre [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      15. in "Propriété, Communauté" (Private and Communal/Community Property) (chap. VIII of Harmonies Économiques 1850) Bastiat attempts to answer the socialist critique of private property by showing that a system based on private property actually increases the amount of "communal" property to the enormous benefit of all members of the community. [HTML] [English here]
      16. "Liberté, Égalité" (Liberty and Equality) (1850) - a draft of a chapter for the Harmonies Économies which was never published. He attempts to explain how the liberal understanding of "equality" differs from that of the socialists'. [HTML] [English at OLL]
    • in the last months of his life he wrote on more general economic matters:
      • Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas, ou l'Économie politique en une leçon (What is Seen and What is Not Seen, or Political Economy in One Lesson (1850) [HTML and facs. PDF] [English at OLL]
      • his unfinished treatise on economic theory Harmonies Économiques (Economic Harmonies) : the first half published in his lifetime (10 chaps in early 1850) in facs. PDF; and a partly "completed" posthumous edition in 1851 (with an additional 15 chapters or sketches of chaps, and an outline of a much larger future work on economic "harmony" and "disharmony") in HTML and facs. PDF [English here]

Apr. 2021

  • Condy Raguet was also a staunch critic of government fiat paper money in his Treatise on Currency and Banking (1839).
  • We now have a third representative of the 19th century American free trade movement online to add to Henry George (1839-1897) and William Graham Sumner (1840-1910), namely Condy Raguet (1784-1842). Their arch intellectual foe was Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) who defended government funded infra-structure projects and high tariffs (the so-called "American System") in his Report on Manufactures (1791) and whose ideas dominated American economic policy for over a century. Why hasn't anybody made a musical about Condy Raguet? I wrote a screenplay about the life and times of Fréréric Bastiat. (with images)
    1. Condy Raguet, The Principles of Free Trade (1835)
    2. William Graham Sumner, Protectionism. The -Ism which Teaches that Waste makes Wealth (1885)
    3. Henry George, Protection or Free Trade (1886)
  • William Graham Sumner (1840-1910) spent much of his life attacking the fallacies and sophisms of tariffs and the system of protectionism in the United States. He was active in the rather small American free trade movement for whom he gave lectures and wrote pamphlets. In his approach and his rhetoric he was very much in the tradition of Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) referring to the “sophisms” of protectionism and the “plunder” which benefited some vested interests at the expense of ordinary consumers and tax-payers (his “forgotten” men and women). See his Lectures on the History of Protection in the United States (1877), Protectionism. The -Ism which Teaches that Waste makes Wealth (1885), and his overview of free trade “Liberté des Échanges” (1891) which was never translated into English.
  • Ever since Marcus Junius Brutus (88-42 BC) stabbed Julius Caesar to death in 44 BC, people have been asking is it right to kill a tyrant and, if so, when and by whom. The question was especially important for the Levellers who participated in the trial and execution of King Charles I in 1649 and who also opposed the growing powers of the “Protector” Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) who replaced him. The radical Leveller “agitator” Edward Sexby (ft. 1642–1667) defended the right of the people to assassinate a tyrant in 1657 in the pamphlet “Killing, no Murder” (in which he had Cromwell in mind). We have put this pamphlet online, along with some other pamphlets by him and his contribution to the Putney Debates in Oct/Nov. 1647 where he defended the rights of the ordinary soliders, as well as two critics of him, an anonymous author and Michael Hawke, both of whom agreed that killing a king, even a bad one, was murder. Here Sexby is very much in the tradition of the French “monarchomach” theorists (from the Greek μόναρχος and μάχομαι, meaning “those who fight against monarchs”) who emerged during the French Wars of Religion in the late 16th century, such as François Hotman (1524–1590), Théodore de Bèze (1519–1605), Simon Goulart (1543–1628), Nicolas Barnaud (1538–1604), Hubert Languet (1518–1581), Philippe de Mornay (1549–1623) and George Buchanan (1506–1582). See:
  • England had Herbert Spencer (1820-1903); France had Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912); and America had William Graham Sumner (1840-1910). All three did pioneering work in the emerging discipline of “sociology”, were radical classical liberals (libertarians), and were active in popularizing their ideas via journalism. Sumner was a professor of sociology at Yale University who wrote on free trade and protection, sound money and banking, and was an outspoken member of the American Anti-Imperialist League. His work on classical liberal class analysis should also be mentioned, where he championed the interests of “The Forgotten Man and Woman” who paid the taxes which made it possible for the various vested interest groups, both large (plutocrats and party bosses) and small (those who sought government jobs), to enjoy their privileged position. Sumner also wrote several works against the theory and practice of socialism. In his view the great clash of the future would be between socialists from below and plutocrats from above, with the “forgotten” man and woman caught in the middle.We have online four volumes of his collected essays, his major treatise on sociology, and several other works:
  • some more Leveller pamphlets (29 items), this time by William Walwyn (c.1600-1680), to add to our collection of works by John Lilburne (24 items) and Richard Overton (23)
  • A good counterpoint to Mises' theoretical critique of Socialism (1922) is the work of the Scottish economist and poet Alexander Gray (1882-1968) The Socialist Tradition: Moses To Lenin (1946). He provides a comprehensive history of socialism which is peppered with his great insight, deep learning, and sceptical and witty observations. See for example his chapter on Fichte.
  • German “idealism” could produce a liberal like Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) or authoritarian statists like Johann Gottlieb Fichte (1762-1814) and Georg Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831). It seemed that the “absolute idealism” of the latter two thinkers resulted in a new form of “absolute government” rule. In the case of Fichte he wrote the little known Der geschlossene Handelsstaat (The Closed Commercial State) (1800) in which he argued for a centrally planned economy one hundred years ahead of its time [auf deutsch in HTML and facs. PDF]. He was reacting to the economic impact of the Napoleonic Wars on the fragmented German states and the rise of England as an industrial and commercial power. In France, the same concerns led the liberal Jean-Baptiste Say to write his Treatise on Political Economy (1803) [HTML] in which he advocated the exact opposite, the most “open commercial state” imaginable.
  • 100 years ago Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) demolished the very foundations upon which socialism rested. In 1920 he wrote an essay on the difficulties (or indeed impossibility) of rational "Economic Calculation" in a socialst economy [English and German] and in 1922 a large book on Socialism in which he braodened his critique of socialism into the most devasting one ever written. We are putting the later online (or rather the 2nd. edition of 1932) in German in HTML and facs. PDF
  • By the mid-1920s Mises had expanded his critique of Bolshevik central planning into a more general theory of "Interventionismus" or "interventionism" by which he meant any large-scale government intervention in the economy without the direct ownership by the state of all private property and the means of production (such as factories and farms). He began with an article on “Interventionismus” (1926) [HTML auf deutsch] which he expanded and developed over the years in a series of further articles and books. He had in mind (in chronological order) the policy of "Kriegssozialismus" (war socialism) pursued in Germany during WW1, the policy of economic "autarchy" (national self-sifficiency) pursued by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s, and the policies of most western nations after WW2, namely Keynesian inspired interventionism concerning interest rates and the supply of money, as well as the interventionism and redistribution of wealth required to build the welfare state.
  • as part of my ongoing commemoration of Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912)'s bicentennial, I have added HTML versions of his three major sociological works (and one later summary volume) which we already have in facs. PDF. They make a very interesting parallel intellectual achievement to rival that of his contempory radical English liberal Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) and his Principles of Sociology (1874-96). What makes Molinari very unusual is his economic analysis of literally "everything" including marriage and having a family, art, urban development, the behaviour of politicians and bureraucrats (so early public choice theory), why governments often fail in managing economic resources and services like the police and the military, the rise of market institutions over the centuries, the role of war in economic development and the rise of states, and very interesting from my perspective, the emergence of political classes and how they organise and use the state for their own purposes and benefit (he made a fundamental distinction between "les mangeurs des taxes" (the tax eaters) and the tax papyers. He began doing this in his articles for the Dictionnaire de l'économie politique (1852) and later returned to it some 30 years later in the following works:
    • L’évolution économique du XIXe siècle: théorie du progrès (Economic Evolution in the 19th Century: A Theory of Progress) (1880) [HTML] and [facs. PDF]
    • L’évolution politique et la révolution (Political Evolution and the Revolution) (1884) [HTML] and [facs. PDF]
    • Grandeur et decadence de la guerre (The Rise and Fall of War) (1898) [HTML] and [facs. PDF]
    • and a final fourth volume which summarises his life's work on this topic: Économie de l’histoire: Théorie de l’Évolution (The Economics of History: A Theory of Evolution) (1908) [HTML] and [facs. PDF]
  • the English radical individualist and advocate of "voluntaryism" Auberon Herbert (1838-1906) presented some of the most eloquent visions of what a free society might look like and the moral reasons for rejecting state compulsion in all its forms, in:
    • The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State: A Statement of the Moral Principles of the Party of Individual Liberty (1885) [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • “The Ethics of Dynamite,” Contemporary Review (May 1894) [HTML and facs, PDF]
    • The Principles of Voluntaryism and Free Life (1897) [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • The Voluntaryist Creed and A Plea For Voluntaryism (1908) [HTML and facs. PDF]
  • Burke's attack on the principles of the French Revolution was quickly responded to by Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) who wrote not one but two "Vindications" - one vindicating the rights of men (1790) [HTML] and the other extending her response to include the rights of women (1792) [HTML].
  • A youthful radical indiscretion or an attempt at satire of an opposing view? The 26 year old Edmund Burke (1729-1797) may have made the same mistake as the 20-something Étienne de la Boétie (1530-1563) in his Vindication of Natural Society (1756) in which he, perhaps too cleverly, criticises government or "artificial society" and pushes "logic" to an "unacceptable" extreme (i.e. unacceptable to the ruling elites who might employ him later). We have three editions of this work to help you make up your own mind: 1756, 1757, and 1858 [HTML]. Is this an example of the "battle of the Prefaces"?

Yves Guyot (1843-1928)

Paul Leroy-Beaulieu (1843-1916)

Mar. 2021:

  • Blog posts:
  • another serious rift both within the liberal movement and between liberals and their socialist critics was over the impact of population growth and the expansion of industrial activity on the supply of resources, especially food supplies. Optimists like Condorcet, William Godwin, and Bastiat were aligned against the pessimistic "Malthusians" who thought the human race was headed towards destruction. See
    • Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population (1789, 1826) [HTML] for the negative side of the debate, and
    • Condorcet, Outlines of an Historical View of the progress of the Human Mind (1795) for the optomistic side in English [HTML] and French [HTML]
  • the French Revolution exposed a large rift within the liberal tradition, with conservative "aristocratic" liberals like Edmund Burke (1729-1797) supporting free trade and the American Revolution but not the French Revolution, and radical democratic liberals supporting the violent overthrow of despotic regimes like the French monarchy but not the violent and anti-liberal Jacobin regime. Burke's major writings opposing the French Revolution are Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) [HTML} and the Letters on a Regicide Peace (1795) [HTML]. Thomas Paine's immediate response to defend the revolution and the ideas of natural rights which justified it was two pamphlets Rights of Man Parts I and II (1791, 1792) [HTML]
  • a speech given at Oxford in 1906 and a statement of the "voluntaryist creed" by the English political theorist Auberon Herbert (1838-1906). The latter is one of the most eloquent defences of liberty and the non-aggression principle (“voluntarism”) ever penned. His "creed" can be summarised as the use State force only to protect ourselves against those who would employ force or fraud; and to end every form of compulsory taxation and replace it with “a system of voluntary giving”. The Voluntaryist Creed (1908) in HTML and facs. PDF
  • two speeches by the late 19th century New York legal theorist James Coolidge Carter, (1827-1905) who was a strong defender of private, judge-made law (often "unwritten") vs. state-made legislation and codes of law:
    • The Provinces of the Written and the Unwritten Law (1889) in HTML and facs. PDF
    • The Ideal and the Actual in the Law (1890) in HTML and facs. PDF
  • there was a group of four radical English individualists writing in the late 19th century who opposed the increasing power of the state and the rise of socialism, and were members of the Liberty and Property Defence League - Herbert Spencer (1820–1903), Auberon Herbert (1838-1906), Wordsworth Donisthorpe (1847-1914), and Thomas Mackay (1849–1912). They were the British counterpart of the French group of anti-socialist writers whose work we have added recently, namely Paul Leroy-Beaulieu (1843-1916), Yves Guyot (1843-1928), and Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912). The latest addition of the British school is:
    • Wordsworth Donisthorpe, Individualism: A System of Politics (1889) in HTML and facs. PDF
    • Wordsworth Donisthorpe, Law in a Free State (1895) in HTML and facs. PDF
  • one of the great defences of religious toleration is Voltaire's A Treatise of Toleration (1763) which attacked the persecution and death of Jean Calas. He had to publish it outside France and the title page lacks the name of the publisher and the place and date in order to avoid persecution himself. See the French HTML and facs PDF; and the English HTML and facs. PDF
  • the Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) wrote Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670) [HTML] to defend the right of religious toleration in a society which had been torn apart by religious persection. This tolertion was part of a defence of the more general rights of individuals under their sovereign. He was naturally accused of "atheism" and republicanism so he and his books were "indexed".
  • The Selected Works of Lysander Spooner (1850-1886) consists of 14 pamphlets and essays Spooner wrote on the burning issues of slavery and its abolition and to what extent an individual owed allegiance to the constitution which was a document which no living person had agreed to and signed. It also includes his chapter on "Vices are not Crimes" (1875) which is a radical critique of so-called "victimless crime" laws
  • Machiavelli on how to get political power and keep it once you have it.
  • 20 years after Lenin, the English economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) wrote one of the most influentiual economics books ever written (alongside Marx's Das Kapital) which justified massive government intervention in the economy to manage the "failures" of unregulated capitalism - The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936) [interestingly, the only online copy I could find was on a Marxist website]. The refutations which quickly followed were ignored at the time and continue to this day. One of the quickest off the mark and best is William H. Hutt, The Theory of Idle Resources (1939) [HTML]
  • if theorists in the 19th century imagined the socialist society of the future, then politicians and activists attempted to put it into pracice in the 20th, like Vladimir Lenin in Russia and Mao in China. Lenin put his ideas on paper only on the eve of the Bolshevik Revolution in The State and Revolution (Oct. 1917) [HTML] which was immediately rebutted by economists like Ludwig von Mises [HTML].
  • in the 16th century it became fashionable for authors to give "advice" to princes on how best to rule "their flock". Machiavelli's was ruthless in telling Princes how to get and stay in power (although some suggest he was being ironic or even satirical), Erasmus thought that Princes should behave like sheep dogs guarding the flock not like wolves, while La Boétie thought the flock should just turn their backs and say "no" to "The One" who ruled them. See Desiderius Erasmus "The Education of a Christian Prince" (1516) in HTML and facs. PDF.
  • more "great books" by authors who are hostile to natural rights, individual liberty, and limited constitutional government:
    • the conservative French Catholic Joseph de Maistre (1753-1821), Essay on the Generative Principle of Political Constitutions (1809) - English HTML and French facs. PDF
    • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), Grundlinien der Philosophie des Rechts (Elements of the Philosophy of Right) (1821) - English HTML ; German facs. PDF (for the very brave!)
  • more on state socialism in the Antipodes, this time in New Zealand but in favour of it: Rossignal and Steward, State Socialism in New Zealand (1910) facs. PDF.
  • to counter the growth of socialism in France in the 1840s and 1880s French political economists were particularly active, such as Bastiat and the contributors to the Dictionnaire de l'économie politique (1852-53) in the first period, and Leroy-Beaulieu (see below) and the contributors to the Nouveau dictionnaire d'économie politique (1891) in the second. See
    • 1840s/50s: Louis Reybaud's article “Socialistes, Socialisme” in the DEP (en français) HTML and facs. PDF; which was translated and published 40 years later in Lalor's Cyclopedia (1881) along with dozens of other articles from the DEP [HTML and facs. PDF]; Reybaud also wrote a 2 vol. history and critique of socialism in 1849, Les Études sur les réformateurs contemporains, ou socialistes modernes vol.1 facs. PDF and vol. 2 facs. PDF.
    • also the article on "Communism" by the economist Henri Baudrillart in the DEP [HTML and facs. PDF] and the trans. in Lalor [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • 1890s; the Nouveau DEP also included three articles on socialism (only in French):
      • a long article by Eugène d’Eichthal, “Socialisme,” NDEP, T. 1, pp. 815-860 [facs. PDF]
      • a short article by Urbain Guérin, “Socialisme Chrétien,” NDEP, T. 1, pp. 860-67. [facs. PDF]
      • and another long article by Ludwig Bamberger attacking the newest version of socialism known as “Socialisme d’état” (state socialism), NDEP, T. 1, pp. 867-82 [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • one of the last members of the radical "Paris School" of political economy, the politician, political economist, and radical indivdualist Yves Guyot (1843-1928), took on the socialists in many works in the 1890s and early 1900s, such as
      • La Tyrannie Socialiste (1893) [HTML and facs. PDF] trans. as The Tyranny of Socialism [HTML and facs. PDF]
      • Les Principes de 89 et le Socialisme (1894) (en français) in HTML and facs. PDF
      • La Comédie socialiste (1897) - facs. PDF
      • Les travaux publics (1897) - drawing upon his experience as Minister for Public Works (1889-92) - facs. PDF
      • Le collectivisme futur et le socialisme présent (1906) - a short speech or essay attacking socialist plans before the Chambre (en français) HTML and facs. PDF.
      • La Démocratie individualiste (1907) in which he shows his endebtedness to the ideas of Herbert Spencer and the Liberty and Property Defence League - facs. PDF
      • Sophismes socialistes et faits économiques (1908) [HTML and facs. PDF] trans. as Socialistic Fallacies [HTML and facs. PDF] - better trans. as "Socialist Sophisms and Economic Facts".
      • La Gestion par l’État et les Municipalités (1913) [HTML and facs. PDF] trans. as Where and Why Public Ownership has failed [HTML and facs. PDF] - better trans. as "The State and Municipal Administration (of public works)"
  • two collections of essays edited by Thomas Mackay on behalf of the British "Liberty and Property Defense League" (founded 1882) to combat the rise of socialism, especially the Fabian Socialists:
    • A Plea for Liberty: An Argument Against Socialism and Socialistic Legislation (1891) [HTML] and
    • A Policy Of Free Exchange: the Economical and Social Aspects (1894) [HTML]
    • Australians should note the essays by Charles Fairfield on “State Socialism in the Antipodes” and J.W. Fortescue “State Socialism and the Collapse in Australia” since this new form of socialism was much admired by the British socialists of the day and seen as the path for the future. The pioneers of "state socialism" were Bismarck in the new German Reich after 1871 and the Australian colonies in the last decades of the 19th century
    • also in New Zealand: Rossignal and Steward, State socialism in New Zealand (1910) facs. PDF.
  • the complete 3 volume set of Karl Marx's Das Kapital in English and German in both HTML and facs. PDF. Most people never get beyound the first volume (nor should they!): see Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, vol. 1 (1867) in German [HTML and facs. PDF] and English [HTML and facs. PDF]
  • along with its comprehensive demolition in 1896 by the Austrian economist Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk in English [HTML and facs.PDF] and German [HTML and facs.PDF)
  • works by two other leading critics of socialism in the late 19th century:
    • one of the leading French defenders of free markets and individual liberty and a critic of socialism/Marxism was Paul Leroy-Beaulieu (1843-1916): see his
    • and of course the indefatigable Herbert Spencer on "the coming slavery" of socialist interventionism in the same year as Leroy-Beaulieu's warning about the dangers of Collectivism: The Man versus the State (1884) HTML and facs. PDF.
  • the contemporary liberal counterparts of socialist economic theorists like Marx were John Stuart Mill and Frédéric Bastiat. It is interesting to speculate how the world would have been different had Bastiat's economic treatise (1850) been as influential as Mill's (1848):
    • see John Stuart Mill's Principles of Political Economy: 1st edition 1848 facs. PDF only vol. 1 and vol. 2; and the 7th edition in facs PDF vol.1 and vol.2 and in HTML. and
    • Bastiat's Harmonies économiques (1851) in English (Stirling trans.) [HTML] and French [HTML]
  • more in our collection of "political manifestos", this time the daddy of them all, Marx's Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848) in German [facs. PDF and HTML] and English [facs. PDF and HTML]

Feb. 2021:

  • blog posts:
    1. James Gillray on Debt and Taxes during the War against Napoleon (23 Feb. 2021)
    2. Turning Rosé into Chardonnay via a Middleman (14 Feb. 2021)
    3. The Socialist Critique of Private Property and Free Markets. Part I: The French (8 Feb. 2021)
  • another "provocative pairing", this time of visions of a socialist future: by a true believer the American socialist Edward Bellamy in Looking Backward. 2000-1887 (1888) [HTML] and a German classical liberal critic Eugen Richter in Pictures of the Socialistic Future (1891) [HTML]
  • a collection of 17th century tracts on commerce which includes Thomas Mun's defence of mercantilist ideas on the "balance of trade" (1664) demolished by Smith in the Wealth of Nations [HTML and facs. PDF]
  • a work by the great 19thC American defender of free trade, Henry George (1839-1897), Protection or Free Trade (1886) in HTML and facs. PDF
  • more Voltaire: the Dictionnaire philosophique (1764)
    • which started off in the early editions being "portable" - French (1764) facs. PDF and English (1765) facs. PDF
    • but which had expanded into 4 large vols. by the 1878 ed. - French HTML and an English translation pubished in 1901 in HTML and PDF.
  • some "provocative pairings" of Great Books:
    • Sir Robert Filmer's defence of monarchical power Patriarcha; of the Natural Power of Kings (1680) [HTML] which inspired John Locke to reply in the Two Treatises of Government (1688) [HTML]; also his anti-Leveller tract The Anarchy of a Limited or Mixed Monarchy (1648) in which he makes the point that any limit placed on the power of the absolute monarch was a "slippery slope" argument which would result logically in no government at all; bio of Filmer
    • Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality (1755) and The Social Contract (1762) [HTML and facs. PDF] vs. Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiuments (1759) [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • Voltaire's Candide, or Optimism (1759) vs. Leibniz's Theodicy: Essays on the goodness of God, the freedom of man, and the origin of evil (1710) English HTML and French facs. PDF
      • Works by Voltaire: The Manuscript version of Candide, or Optimism (1759) HTML with page images
      • The original French edition of 1759 facs. PDF
      • the 1761 edition with the spurious "Second Part" of Candide (but not by Voltaire) - vol. 1 facs. PDF and Part 2 facs. PDF
      • the 1778 edition with illustrations by Daniel Chodowiesky vol. 1 facs. PDF and vol. 2 facs. PDF
      • the 1785 edition with illustrations by Jean-Michel Moreau (the best and most political)
      • the edition of 1901 with an introduction by John Morley and wehich includes part 1 and the spurious part 2: in HTML and facs. PDF.
      • a more recent translation from 1918: in HTML and facs. PDF
  • more Leveller pamphlets, this time by John Lilburne:
    1. Englands Birth-Right Justified Against all Arbitrary Usurpation (Oct. 1645)
    2. The Free-mans Freedom Vindicated (June 1646)
    3. Liberty Vindicated against Slavery (Aug. 1646)
    4. London’s Liberty in Chains discovered (Oct. 1646)
    5. Vox Plebis, or The Peoples Out-cry Against Oppression, Injustice, and Tyranny (Nov. 1646)
    6. Regall Tyrannie discovered (Jan. 1647)
    7. The resolved mans Resolution, to maintain with the last drop of his heart blood, his civill Liberties and freedomes (Apr. 1647)
    8. Jonahs Cry out of the Whales belly (July, 1647)
    9. Englands Freedome, Souldiers Rights (Dec. 1647)
    10. A Defiance to Tyrants. Or The Araignment of Two Illegall Committees (Jan. 1648)
    11. The Peoples Prerogative and Priviledges (Feb. 1648)
    12. The Prisoners Plea for a Habeas Corpus (Apr. 1648)
    13. The Oppressed Mans importunate and mournfull Cryes to be brought to the Barre of Justice (Apr. 1848)
    14. A Plea for Common-right and Freedom (Dec. 1648)
    15. Englands New Chains Discovered (Feb. 1649)
    16. The Second Part of Englands New-Chaines Discovered (Mar. 1649)
    17. The Picture of the Councel of State (Apr. 1649)
    18. The Army’s Martyr (May 1649)
    19. The Legall Fundamentall Liberties of the People of England (June 1649)
    20. As you Were (May 1652)
    21. The Upright Mans Vindication (Aug. 1653)
    22. The Just Defence of John Lilburn (Aug. 1653)
    23. An Hue-and Cry after the Fundamental Lawes and Liberties of England (Sept. 1653)
    24. The Resurrection of John Lilburne (May 1656)
  • and some interesting anonymous & other Leveller pamphlets
  • my collection of Images of Liberty and Power

Carl Menger (1841-1921)

Jan. 2021:

  • blog posts:
    1. Rewriting and Resinging Australia Day
      (30 Jan. 2021)
    2. Australia Day: Girted, Skirted, and Alerted” (27 Jan. 2021)
    3. Socialism is Zombie Economics” (24 Jan. 2021)
    4. Lord Acton and The Prince (1891)” (19 Jan. 2021)
    5. "One Volume Surveys of Classical Liberal Thought" (11 Jan. 2021)
  • some more classic critiques of private property and free markets by French socialists written during the 1840s (Louis Blanc, Victor Considerant, Joseph Proudhon); the latest addition is by the anarchist Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865), whose work Qu'est-ce que la propriété? (What is Property?) (1840) went through many editions before and during the 1848 Revolution [HTML and facs. PDF]; it was translated into English in 1876 by the American individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker [HTML and facs. PDF] By the way, his answer to the question was that "(private) property is theft."
  • Lord Acton, "Introduction" to Machiavelli's The Prince (1891 ed.) in which he says that Machiavelli accurately describes the amoral and criminal behaviour of traditional leaders as well as the new leaders who were emerging in the nationalist movements in places like Italy and Germany in his own day. Acton describes this as "the emancipation of the State from the moral yoke."
  • Richard Ebeling [Mises Institute] reminds us that 2021 is the 150th anniversary of the publication by Carl Menger of one of the foundational works of the Austrian school of economics, Grundsätze der Volkswirtschaftsliche (1871). Here is our collection of his works (all in German): 3 major works and 3 important articles (only auf deutsch for copyright reasons):
  • two more editions of Algernon Sidney's Discourses concerning Government, this time a French and German translation done in the early years of the French Revolution (1793). The French translation has the following quote on the title page: “Liberty produceth Vertue, Order and Stability: Slavery is accompanied with Vice, Weakness and Misery”.
  • expanded collection of "The Great Books of Liberty" (below) with some of my favourites, such as:
    • John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1690): a facs. PDF of the original 1690 edition and the Hollis edition of 1764 which was published for sale in the American colonies. In HTML and facs. PDF. This also includes one of Hollis's beautiful engravings [large] and [small].
    • Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) [HTML and facs. PDF] and Wealth of Nations (1776) [HTML and facs. PDF vol1 and vol2]
    • Wilhelm von Humboldt, Ideen zu einem Versuch, die Gränzen der Wirksamkeit des Staats zu bestimmen (1792, 1851) in HTML and facs. PDF. English trans. The Sphere and Duties of Government (1854) in HTML and facs. PDF.
    • William Godwin, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) in HTML and facs. PDF of vol1 and vol2.
    • Thomas Hodgskin, The Natural and Artificial Right of Property Contrasted (1832) in HTML and facs. PDF.
    • Herbert Spencer, Social Statics: or, The Conditions essential to Happiness specified, and the First of them Developed (1851). HTML and facs. PDF. And The Principles of Ethics (1879-92) HTML.
    • John Stuart Mill's On Liberty (1859) and The Subjection of Women (1869) published very suitably together in one volume in 1879. In HTML and facs. PDF.
    • Ludwig von Mises, Liberalismus (1927). (auf deutsch) HTML and facs. PDF.
  • some works by Gustave de Molinari:
    • his pathbreaking work Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare; entretiens sur les lois économiques et défense de la propriété (1849) which is one of the earliest one-volume descriptions of the classical liberal worldview, how a laissez-faire liberal society would privately provide so-called "public goods", even police and national defence (chap. 11), which makes it the first defense of anarcho-capitalism. In HTML and facs. PDF.
    • an early work on class analysis based on the idea of the conflcit between the "tax-payers" and the "tax-eaters": Les Révolutions et le despotisme envisagés au point de vue des intérêts matériels (Revolutions and Despotsism seen from the perspective of material interests) (1852) In HTML and facs. PDF (en français)
    • his treatise on economics: Cours d’économie politique (1855, 1863) in which he considerably expanded his discussion of how all public goods could be provided on the free market. Vol. 1 HTML and PDF; vol. 2 HTML and PDF (en français).
    • Notions fondamentales économie politique et programme économique (1891) is interesting because at the ripe old age of 72 he takes on the growing socialist movement with a criticism of their economic programme and provides one for radical liberals like himself. In HTML and facs. PDF.
  • a work by the conservative politician and historian Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877) defending the right to own property which was under attack during the 1848 Revolution: De la Propriété (1848) (en français) in HTML and facs. PDF; and in English with a slightly different title, The Rights of Property: A Refutation of Communism & Socialism (1848) in HTML and facs. PDF - Molinari reviewed this book and criticised Thiers for ignoring one of the main complaints of the socialists about the current distribution of property, namely, that one should not defend unjustly acquired property by means of state privileges and monopolies
  • some works by opponents of indvidual liberty, free markets, and limited government:
    • a trilogy of influential French socialists from the 1840s; they were all elected to the Chamber of Deputies during the revolution and sparred with Bastiat:
      • Louis Blanc (1811-1882) who had elaborate plans to "organise labour" with the aid of the state in 1848; we have a translation of his key pamphlet from 1840 and several editions in French; his work inspired Frédéric Bastiat and Michel Chevalier to write several important critiques of socialism which we will add later
      • one of the most influential French socialists Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865), whose work Qu'est-ce que la propriété? (What is Property?) (1840) went through many editions before and during the 1848 Revolution [HTML and facs. PDF]
      • Victor Considerant (1808-1893), who wrote a socialist Manifesto in 1847, one year before Marx wrote his more famous one. French HTML and facs. PDF; and an English trans. in HTML. Considerant was one of Bastiat's arch-rivals in the Chamber of Deputies during the Second Republic (1848-50)
    • the important book by L.T. Hobhouse which cemented the transition of "classical" (or radical) liberalism to what was called "new" or "social" liberalism, or what the Americans now call just "liberalism": Liberalism (1911) in HTML and facs. PDF.
    • the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) assembled an influential collection of essays advocating a non-violent form of socialism known after the Roman general Fabius, as "Fabian Socialism": Fabian Essays in Socialism (1889) in HTML and facs. PDF
    • a very influential 19th century advocate of tariffs and other forms of government subsidies to national industries: Friedrich List, The National System of Political Economy (1841) in German (HTML and facs. PDF) and English trans. (1909) [HTML and facs. PDF]
    • two works by one of the leading opponents of Leveller "proto-liberal" political ideas: Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, or The Matter, Forme, Power of a Common-Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civill (1651) in a 1909 ed. [HTML and facs. PDF] and the facs. PDF of the original 1651 ed.; and Behemoth: The History of the Causes of the Civil Wars of England (1662)
   

 


 

Additions in 2020 / L'AN I

Dec. 2020:

Nov. 2020:

  • blog posts:
    1. The Cover Art of Voluntary Servitude (29 November, 2020)
    2. Plutology II: Disney Plutology vs. WB Bugsology (19 November, 2020)
    3. Plutology I: William Edward Hearn (1826-1888) (19 November, 2020)
    4. Rothbard on Strategy (12 November, 2020)
    5. Coding and Decoding Rothbard (6 November, 2020)
  • An eleventh version of Boétie's "Voluntary Servitude" (1835) [facs. PDF] : this one has long and very radical Preface by the Liberal Catholic Robert de Lamennais written in 1833 [Preface facs. PDF].
  • The 1735 translation by "T. Smith" of Boétie's Discourse of Voluntary Servitude. This is a good translation which captures the measured pace and rhetorical side of the "Discourse". The word "discours" in French can also mean "speech".
  • The Cover Art of the Discours: a collection of interesting covers of various editions of the "Discourse."
  • Ten different versions of Étienne de la Boétie's Discours de la servitude volontaire (1576) - Old French, modern French, and English translations - with more to come.
    • Special Note 1: a side-by-side Comparative Edition of different French and English versions of the text
    • Special note 2: the parallel edition with the illustrations by Louis Jou on one side and a modern French version (Bonnefon) on the other
  • Some more books by William Hearn:
    • The Government of England (1868) - facs. PDF
    • The Aryan Household (1878) - facs. PDF
    • The Theory of Legal Duty and Rights (1883) - facs. PDF
  • A list of the collected (complete?) works of Frédéric Bastiat with links to the texts
  • Me on strategy:
    • "An Historical Examination of Past and Present Strategies used to bring about Ideological and Political Change" (Feb. 2018; revised 13 Nov. 2020) HTML.
    • "Pierre F. Goodrich's Goals and Strategy for the Liberty Fund: A Reconstruction" (Feb. 2018, 23 June 2019). HTML.
    • "How the Online Library of Liberty follows the Strategies outlined by Pierre F. Goodrich" (Feb. 2018) HTML
    • an older paper: "Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Scribblers: An Austrian Analysis of the Structure of Production and Distribution of Ideas". A paper given at the Southern Economics Association, New Orleans, November 21-23, 2015. HTML and PDF.
  • Rothbard on Strategy for Change:
    • 1965: "Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty", Left and Right. A Journal of Libertarian Thought, Spring 1965, no. 1, pp. 4-22. Facs. PDF version; HTML version.
    • 1973: "A Strategy for Liberty" in For a New Liberty (New York: Macmillan, 1973). PDF version; HTML version (from the 2006 edition).
    • 1977: a new clean copy of Rothbard's seminal and provocative paper on "Toward a Strategy for Libertarian Social Change" (April, 1977) - PDF and HTML versions.
    • 1978: his 1977 paper was summarised and published with a collection of other essays on libertarian strategy in Libertarian Review (Aug. 1978) - "Strategies for a Libertarian Victory". HTML version; PDF version
      • see the entire issue of Libertarian Review with articles by Milton Mueller, Ed Crane, Leonard Liggio, Charles Koch, Bill Evers, and David Theroux: PDF version.
    • 1982: "Toward a Theory of Strategy for Liberty" (1982) in The Ethics of Liberty. PDF version; and HTML version.
    • 1986: "Concepts of the Role of Intellectuals in Social Change Toward Laissez Faire", The Journal of Libertarian Studies, vol. IX, no. 2 (Fall 1990), pp. 43-67. Facs. PDF version.
    • 1992 Jan.: "Right-Wing Populism: A Strategy for the Paleo Movement," Rothbard-Rockwell Report (Jan. 1992) pp. 5-14. HTML version; facs. PDF version.
    • 1992 Jan.: "A Strategy for the Right," Rothbard-Rockwell Report (January 1992). HTML version.
    • 1994 Oct.: "A New Strategy for Liberty," Rothbard-Rockwell Report (October 1994).  HTML version; facs. PDF version.
  • Rothbard's complete Libertarian Forum (1969-1984) in HTML (and thus properly searchable! - I was interested in finding the first use of the term "anarcho-capitalism" and "free market anarchism")
  • Rothbard, "Economic Determinism, Ideology, And The American Revolution" (1974). A paper delivered at the Libertarian Scholars Conference, Oct. 28, 1974 in New York City. On class and ideas.

Oct. 2020:

Sept. 2020:

June 2020:

May 2020:

April 2020:

Jan. 2020:

  • blog post: Some Key Terms used by Bastiat in his Economic Theory (22 December, 2019)
  • "An Introduction to the Classical Liberal Tradition: People, Ideas, and Movements". A talk given at the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, Perth (30 January, 2020). The PDF of my overheads and some Further Reading.
  • "Understanding Class Divisions in Society: A Classical Liberal Approach". A talk organised by the Adam Smith Centre and the School of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University, 20 Jan. 2020. [HTML] and [PDF]

 

The Great Books of Liberty

 

 

Herbert Spencer (1820-1903)

Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850)

 

A Personal Selection

Here are some of the "great books" about liberty to tempt you to read further. The works in the list below are one-volume surveys of the classical liberal position before the emergence of the modern libertarian movement in the 1970s:

  1. Wilhelm von Humboldt, Ideen zu einem Versuch, die Gränzen der Wirksamkeit des Staates zu bestimmen (1792, 1851). Trans. as The Sphere and Duties of Government (1854). German HTML and facs. PDF. English HTML and facs. PDF.
  2. Benjamin Constant, Principes de politique, applicables à tous les gouvernemens représentatifs (The Principles of Politics) (1815). English trans. at OLL. French version in facs, PDF.
  3. Gustave de Molinari, Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare (Conversations on Saint Lazarus Street) (1849), which I have edited and trans. (draft at OLL). French version in HTML and facs. PDF.
  4. Herbert Spencer, Social Statics: or, The Conditions essential to Happiness specified, and the First of them Developed (1851). HTML and facs. PDF.
  5. John Stuart Mill, On Liberty (1859) and The Subjection of Women (1869) published very suitably together in one volume in 1879. In HTML and facs. PDF. Also 1st ed.: On Liberty in facs. PDF; Subjection in facs. PDF.
  6. Bruce Smith, Liberty and Liberalism: A Protest against the Growing Tendency toward undue Interference by the State, with Individual Liberty, Private Enterprise and the Rights of Property (1888). HTML and facs. PDF.
  7. Ludwig von Mises, Liberalismus (Liberalism) (1927). German HTML and facs. PDF; Trans. at OLL.

Some other great books about liberty (on more specialised topics or just personal favourites):

  1. Étienne de la Boétie, Discours de la servitude volontaire (1550s?). Various editions in English and French.
  2. Richard Overton, An Arrow against all Tyrants and Tyranny (Oct. 1646)
  3. Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670) [HTML] and facs. PDF.
  4. Algernon Sidney, Discourses Concerning Government (1683). HTML and facs. PDF.
  5. John Locke, Two Treatises of Civil Government (1689): a facs. PDF of the original 1690 edition and the Hollis edition of 1764 which was published for sale in the American colonies in HTML and facs. PDF.
  6. A “Fantasy Favourite”: if this were a serious critique of the state it would be one of my favourites: Edmund Burke, A Vindication of Natural Society: or, A View of the Miseries and Evils arising to Mankind from every Species of Artificial Society (1756) [HTML]
  7. Adam Smith, Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) [HTML and facs. PDF] and Wealth of Nations (1776) [HTML and facs. PDF vol1 and vol2]
  8. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792) [HTML]
  9. William Godwin, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793) in HTML and facs. PDF of vol1 and vol2.
  10. Condorcet, A Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Spirit (1795) [HTML]
  11. J.B. Say, Traité d'économie politique (1803) and Cours complet (1828). TEP in French in HTML and facs. PDF; English in HTML and facs. PDF; Cours in HTML (to come) and facs. PDF vol. 1 and vol. 2.
  12. Thomas Hodgskin, The Natural and Artificial Right of Property Contrasted (1832) in HTML and facs. PDF.
  13. Frédéric Bastiat, The Law (1850) and Economic Harmonies (1851) in French [HTML] and English [HTML]
  14. Coquelin et al., Dictionnaire de l’économie politique (1852-53): links to French facs. PDFs.
  15. J.S. Mill, On the Subjection of Women (1869) in HTML and facs. PDF
  16. Lysander Spooner, Vices are not Crimes (1875) in HTML and facs.PDF, and No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority (1867-1870) [HTML]
  17. Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Ethics (1879-92) HTML and facs. PDF of vol1 and vol2; and The Principles of Sociology (1874-1896): vol.1 HTML and facs. PDF; vol.2 HTML and facs. PDF; vol.3 HTML and facs. PDF; with a combined table of contents for the set
  18. Gustave de Molinari, L’évolution économique du XIXe siècle: théorie du progrès (1880) [facs. PDF] and L’évolution politique et la Révolution (1884) [facs. PDF]
  19. Auberon Herbert, The Right and Wrong of Compulsion by the State: A Statement of the Moral Principles of the Party of Individual Liberty (1885) [HTML and facs. PDF]

Disagreements within the Liberal Tradition

Also within the liberal tradition there have been fundamental disagreements about the nature of liberty which have thrown up contrasting perspectives:

  1. On the justice and wisdom of overthrowing tyrants: Edmund Burke, Reflections on the French Revolution (1790) [HTML] vs. Thomas Paine, Rights of Man (1791) [HTML]
  2. On the benefits or dangers of population growth: Thomas Malthus, An Essay on Population (1798, 1826) [HTML] vs. Condorcet, The Progress of the Human Mind (1795) [HTML], William Godwin, Of Population (1820) and Bastiat "Of Population" (1846)
  3. On individual rights vs. the "greatest good": John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism (1863) vs. Herbert Spencer, The Principles of Ethics (1879) [HTML]
  4. On "equality" and "ordered liberty": James Fitzjames Stephen, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity (1873) vs. J.S. Mill, On Liberty (1859) and The Subjection of Women (1869)
  5. On "liberal democracy" (limited govt.) vs. "social democracy" (welfare state): L.T. Hobhouse, Liberalism (1911) [HTML] vs. Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism (1927) [OLL]

 

The Conflicted Western Tradition

 

Jonathan Swift, The Battle of the Books (1704)

John Lilburne quoting Coke

Introduction

There are different schools of thought about what makes "the western tradition" "western". One common perspective (advocated here) is to argue that it was in "the west" where ideas about the individual (including individual "natural rights"), limits to the political power of the ruler, the rule of law, freedom of speech and religion, and free markets (in fact the whole discipline of "economics"), were preconditions for the emergence of the industrial revolution (and the massive increase in wealth this made possible) and the institutions and practices of "liberal democracy" such as constitutional government.

However, the emergence of these ideas, institutions, and practices was not inevitable and was in fact hotly contested within “the west” itself, both ideologically (in print) and politically (i.e. by the use of violence). Ideologically, it seems extraordinary to me that "the" western tradition could produce two such contrasting thinkers such as Karl Marx and Herbert Spencer, for example. Thus I think that the best way to understand how the ideas and institutions now associated with “the west” emerged, is to see it as the result of a “dialogue” or “conversation” (and sometimes an outright “battle of the books” as Jonathan Swift described it) between opposing positions.

Politically, many of the iconic texts of "the western tradition" were burned and/or banned and their authors censored, imprisoned, tortured, and even executed by the Catholic Church and various governments. In other words, they were "indexed". Thus, the struggle was not just an ideological one but also sometimes a violent political one since traditional ruling elites did not relinquish their power and privileges without episodes of violence, such as the Reformation and the Wars of Religion, the English Civil Wars and Revolution, and the revolutions that followed in North America, France, and across Europe in 1848. So it seems to me that the ideological disputes we can read in the texts need to be placed against the backdrop of political events, with the texts being seen as sometimes precursors to political change or reactions to previous political change.

My "Provocative Pairings" of some of the Texts

I suggest that an interesting way to read the "great books" of the western tradition is by pairing each one with a contemporary (or near contemporary) text which takes a different view. This approach works especially well with books on political, economic and social theory. See my paper on "The Conflicted Western Tradition: Some Provocative Pairings of Texts about Liberty and Power" for the Association of Core Texts and Courses annual conference, April 2019, Santa Fe, NM., where I explore this approach in more detail. And my more detailed study guide (to come).

Below is a list of some “great" (i.e. influential) books in the western tradition about political power which oppose the idea of individual liberty, free markets, and limited government and which I have paired with a contemporary "pro-liberty" text. Wherever possible I also link to the original language version of the texts as translations can be of variable quality (see the specific book page for details); and in a couple of instances I also include an Australian counterpart if it is available.

  1. Machiavelli, The Prince (1513) [HTML] vs. Desiderius Erasmus, The Education of a Christian Prince (1515) [HTML] or the slightly later Étienne de la Boétie, Discourse on Voluntary Slavery (c. 1550s) [HTML]
  2. Thomas Mun, England’s Treasure by Forraign Trade (1644) [HTML] vs. Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776) [HTML]
  3. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651) [HTML] vs. Richard Cumberland, A Treatise of the Laws of Nature (1672) [OLL] or Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus (1670) [HTML]
  4. Sir Robert Filmer, Patriarcha, or the Natural Power of Kings (1680) [HTML] vs. John Locke, Two Treatises of Government (1688) [HTML]
  5. Leibniz, Theodicy: Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil (1710) [HTML] vs. Voltaire, Candide (159) [HTML]
  6. J.-J. Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality (1755) and The Social Contract (1762) [HTML] vs. Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) [HTML]
  7. The American Declaration of Rights (1776) and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (1789, 1793, 1795) vs. Jeremy Bentham, Anarchical Fallacies (1795) [HTML]
  8. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, The Federalist (1788) vs. some “Anti-Federalist papers” (to be announced).
  9. Edmund Burke, Reflections on the French Revolution (1790) [HTML] and Letters on a Regicide Peace (1795) [HTML] vs. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Men (1790) [HTML] and A Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792) [HTML], and Thomas Paine, Rights of Man (1791) [HTML]
  10. Thomas Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798, 1826) [HTML] vs. Condorcet, The Progress of the Human Spirit (1795) [HTML] and William Godwin, Of Population (1820)
  11. Johann Fichte, Der geschlossene Handelsstaat (1800) [HTML auf deutsch] vs. Jean-Baptiste Say, A Treatise on Political Economy (1803) [HTML]
  12. Joseph de Maistre, Essay on the Generative Principle of Political Constitutions (1809) [HTML] vs. Benjamin Constant, Principles of Politics Applicable to all Governments (1815) [OLL]
  13. Friedrich Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right (1821) [English HTML] vs. the earlier work by William Godwin, Enquiry concerning Political Justice (1793) [HTML] or the more contemporary work by Benjamin Constant, Principles of Politics Applicable to all Governments (1815) [OLL]
  14. Friedrich List, The National System of Political Economy (1841) [HTML] vs. Henry George, Protection or Free Trade (1886) [HTML]
  15. Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto (1848) in German [HTML] and English [HTML] vs. Frédéric Bastiat's election manifestos of 1848/49 and The State (1850) [OLL]
    1. an Australian perspective (admittedly out of time and place): the Australian Labor Party "Its Time" manifesto of 1972 vs. the Workers Party Platform of 1975
  16. Karl Marx, Das Kapital, vol. 1 (1867) [HTML] vs. John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy (1848) [HTML] or Frédéric Bastiat, Economic Harmonies (1851) [HTML]
    1. an Australian perspective: William Hearn, Plutology (1863) [HTML]
  17. Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward. 2000-1887 (1888) [HTML} vs. Eugen Richter, Picture of a Socialist Future (1891) [HTML]
    1. an Australian perspective: William Lane (John Millar), The Workingman’s Paradise (1892)
  18. George Bernard Shaw et al., Fabian Essays in Socialism (1889) [HTML] vs. Thomas Mackay, A Plea for Liberty: An Argument against Socialism and Socialistic Legislation (1891) [HTML] and A Policy Of Free Exchange (1894) [HTML]
    1. an Australian perspective: Bruce Smith, Liberty and Liberalism: A Protest against the growing Tendency toward undue Interference by the State, with Individual Liberty, Private Enterprise and the Rights of Property (1887) [HTML]
  19. Karl Marx, Das Kapital, vol. 2 (1885) [HTML] and vol. 3 (1894) [HTML] vs. Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Karl Marx and the Conclusion of his System of Thought: a Criticism (1896) in English [HTML] and German [HTML]
  20. Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917) [HTML] vs. Ludwig von Mises in an essay (1920), and then a book, Socialism (1922) [OLL]
  21. John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936) [external HTML] vs. William H. Hutt, The Theory of Idle Resources (1939) [HTML], Ludwig von Mises, Political Economy: A Theory of Trade and Economics (1940) [facs. PDF (auf deutsch)], and Henry Hazlitt, The Failure of the “New Economics”: An Analysis of the Keynesian Fallacies (1959) [external PDF]
  22. The Beveridge Report (1942) [external HTML] vs. Friedrich Hayek, The Road to Serfdom (1944) [not available online]

More speculative as we enter the modern era:

  1. Paul R. Ehrlich, The Population Bomb (1968) and The Limits to Growth (1972) vs. Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource (1981) [not available online]
  2. Two competing TV series: John Kenneth Galbraith "The Age of Uncertainty" (1977) vs. Milton Friedman, "Free to Choose" (1980)

Bottom left: Pedro Berruguete (1450–1504), “St Dominic and the Albigenses” (c. 1495). St. Dominic shows that heretical Cathar books are consumed in the flames while orthodox Catholic books fly up unscathed. See larger version.]

Some more Great Books (and other works) which deal with Political and Economic Matters

I also have a list of important books and other works which deal with economic and political ideas for which I have not yet found a suitable contemporary contrasting partner:

  1. Old Testament: Genesis, The Book of Job
  2. Aesop's Fables (c. 600 BC)
  3. Sophocles, Antigone (c.440 BC)
  4. New Testament: The Book of Revelation
  5. The Bayeux Tapestry (c. 1070) - [HTML]
  6. Magna Carta (1215)
  7. Thomas More, Utopia (1516, 1551)
  8. William Shakespeare, Henry V (c. 1599)
  9. Hugo Grotius, The Law of War and Peace (1625)
  10. John Milton, Paradise Lost (1667)
  11. William Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719)
  12. Voltaire, The Philosophic Dictionary (1764) - French [HTML] and English [HTML]
  13. Carl von Clausewitz, On War (1832)
  14. Pablo Picasso, Guernica (1937) - [HTML]
  15. George Orwell, 1984 (1947)

 

Socialism and the Classical Liberal Critique

 

[David and Marx in Shanghai]

Introduction

This is a summary of the material on socialism and the Classical Liberal critique which we have online to date. For more information see the Study Guide on this topic (to come).

On the critique of socialism see especially the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises' early and devastatiing critique of central planning in Socialism (1922) and the work of the Scottish economist and poet Alexander Gray (1882-1968) The Socialist Tradition: Moses To Lenin (1946). The latter is a comprehensive history of socialism which is peppered with his great insight, deep learning, and sceptical and witty observations.

As socialist ideas began to emerge during the 1820s and 1830s in Europe, especially in France, classical liberals began to turn their attention to this new set of ideas calling for greater intervention by the state in the economy. I think we can identify four key periods when classical liberals were active in opposing socialist and interventionist ideas more broadly understood:

  • the 1840s in France
  • the 1880s and 1890s in Europe more generally
  • the immediate post-1917 years as the Bolshevik experiment in central planning was underway in Russia.
  • post-1936 following the publication of Keynes The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money

The 1840s in France

There were three influential French socialists during the 1840s who were all elected to the Chamber of Deputies during the revolution and sparred with Bastiat and the other liberals and political economists. They and their main texts are:

  • Louis Blanc (1811-1882) had elaborate plans to “organise labour” with the aid of the state in 1848; we have a translation of his key pamphlet The Organisation of Work (1840) [HTML] and several editions in French; his work inspired Frédéric Bastiat and Michel Chevalier to write several important critiques of socialism
  • one of the most influential French socialists was the anarchist socialist Joseph Proudhon (1809-1865), whose work Qu’est-ce que la propriété? (What is Property?) (1840) went through many editions before and during the 1848 Revolution [HTML]; it was translated into English in 1876 by the American individualist anarchist Benjamin Tucker [HTML]; he also had an long debate in the press with Bastiat on the legitimacy of charging interest on loans and rent on land; one of Proudhon’s key demands in the Second Republic was for the setting up of state supported “Peoples’ Banks” which would provide low or zero interest loans to workers, see Free Credit (1850) [facs. PDF in French]
  • Victor Considerant (1808-1893) wrote a socialist Manifesto in 1847, one year before Marx wrote his more famous one. French [HTML] and English [HTML]. Considerant was one of Bastiat’s arch-rivals in the Chamber of Deputies during the Second Republic (1848-50); he demanded state funding to set up a trial socialist community just outside Paris to demonstrate the superiority of socialism over the free market; Bastiat replied by suggesting he be allowed to set up a tax-free and regulation-free economic zone as well to show the superiority of free markets and private property over socialism; neither scheme eventuated

Although Karl Marx (1818-1883) was not French he lived in France in the 1840s and did considerable research in political and economic theory there, as well as writing and distributing his Communist Manifesto (Feb. 1848) to a German Workers club based in Paris during the early weeks of the 1848 Revolution; in German [HTML] and English [HTML]

The classical liberals and political economists and some conservatives replied to the socialists in a massive way both in the Chamber of Deputies, the press, and the publishing firm Guillaumin which published dozens of their books and pamphlets. The main classical liberals were:

  • Charles Dunoyer (1786-1862) was the president of the Political Economy Society and wrote a large defence of De la Liberté du travail (On the Freedom of Working) (1845) to oppose the socialist idea of "le droit du travail" (the right to a (state guaranteed) job) [facs. PDF in French]
  • Michel Chevalier (1806–1879) was a Professor of Political Economy at the Collège de France who wrote prolifically on socialism - such as
    • Lettres sur l’Organisation du travail (1848) [in French facs. PDF] and
    • L’économie politique et le socialisme (1849) [in French facs. PDF]
  • Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) wrote 12 major anti-socialist pamphlets during 1848-1850) such as his lengthy debate with Proudhon on Gratuité du crédit (Free Credit) (Oct. 1849 - Feb. 1850) [facs. PDF in French] and a full list here (to come)
  • Gustave de Molinari (1819-1912) wrote a book in 1849 which was a a three-way conversation between a conservative (the old school of statism), a socialist (the new school of statism), and an “Economist” (i.e. a classical liberal) in  Les Soirées de la rue Saint-Lazare; entretiens sur les lois économiques et défense de la propriété (1849) [HTML and facs,. PDF in French; draft English trans. at the OLL]. He was also one of the main editors and writers for the monumental Dictionnaire de l'Économie politique (1852-53) [in French] in which the critique of socialism played an important role; see
    • Louis Reybaud's article “Socialistes, Socialisme” in the DEP [en français HTML and in English HTML] as well as
    • the article on "Communism" by the economist Henri Baudrillart [en français HTML and in English HTML]; which were translated and published 40 years later in Lalor's Cyclopedia (1881) [HTML and facs. PDF];
    • Reybaud also wrote a 2 vol. history and critique of socialism in 1849, Les Études sur les réformateurs contemporains, ou socialistes modernes vol.1 facs. PDF and vol. 2 facs. PDF.

Adolphe Thiers (1797-1877) was a conservative politician and historian and not a classical liberal but he wrote a book defending the right to own property which was under attack during the 1848 Revolution: De la Propriété (1848) (en français HTML] and in English with a slightly different title, The Rights of Property: A Refutation of Communism & Socialism (1848) [HTML]. Molinari reviewed this book and criticised Thiers for ignoring one of the main complaints of the socialists about the current distribution of property, namely, that one should not defend unjustly acquired property by means of state privileges and monopolies

The 1880s and 1890s in France, England, and Germany

France: Following the defeat of the Paris Commune in 1871 French socialists took two routes, one intellectual by working within the economics faculties of the state University system (where economics was taught only in the Law Faculties), and the other with the formation of socialist parties which would get into power by means of elctions. The “Parti Ouvrier Français” (French Workers Party) was formed in 1879, while in the Universities the following scholars pushed interventionist ideas:

  • Alfred Jourdan, Du rôle de l’état dans l’ordre économique: ou, Économie politique et socialism (1882);
  • Claudio Jannet, Le Socialisme d’état et la reforme sociale (1889); and
  • Charles Gide, L’idée de solidarité (1893).

These socialists and interventionists were opposed by classical liberals like Frédéric Passy (1822-1912),Yves Guyot (1843-1928), Paul Leroy-Beaulieu (1843-1916), and Ludwig Bamberger (1823-1899). See:

  • Yves Guyot (1843-1928), among many works on this topic:
    • The Tyranny of Socialism (1893) French [HTML] and English [HTML];
    • Les Principes de 89 et le Socialisme (1894) (en français) in HTML and facs. PDF;
    • La Comédie socialiste (1897) - facs. PDF;
    • Les travaux publics (1897) - drawing upon his experience as Minister for Public Works (1889-92) - facs. PDF;
    • Le collectivisme futur et le socialisme présent (1906) - a short speech or essay attacking socialist plans before the Chambre (en français) HTML and facs. PDF.;
    • La Démocratie individualiste (1907) in which he shows his endebtedness to the ideas of Herbert Spencer and the Liberty and Property Defence League - facs. PDF;
    • Sophismes socialistes et faits économiques (1908) [HTML and facs. PDF] trans. as Socialistic Fallacies [HTML and facs. PDF] - better trans. as "Socialist Sophisms and Economic Facts"; and
    • La Gestion par l’État et les Municipalités (1913) [HTML and facs. PDF] trans. as Where and Why Public Ownership has failed [HTML and facs. PDF] - better trans. as "The State and Municipal Administration (of public works)"
  • Paul Leroy-Beaulieu (1843-1916):
    • Collectivism (1884) in French [facs. PDF] and English [HTML], and
    • The Modern State (1889) in French [HTML] and English [HTML]
  • the articles on Socialism in the Nouveau Dictionnaire d’Économie Politique (1890):
    • Eugène d’Eichthal, “Socialisme,” NDEP, T. 1, pp. 815-860 [facs. PDF];
    • Urbain Guérin, “Socialisme Chrétien,” NDEP, T. 1, pp. 860-67. [facs. PDF];
    • Ludwig Bamberger “Socialisme d’état” (state socialism), NDEP, T. 1, pp. 867-820 [facs. PDF]

Britain and the Colonies: The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (GBS), along with the writers and educators Sidney and Beatrice Webb, the feminist Emmeline Pankhurst, and the novelist H. G. Wells, founded the Fabian Society in England in 1884. Its aim was to bring about a socialist society by means of intellectual debate, the publication of books and pamphlets, and the “permeation” of socialist ideas into the universities, the press, government institutions, and political parties.

  • GBS wrote a "Manifesto" of the Fabian Society (1884) [HTML] and edited a collection of essays Fabian Essays in Socialism (1889) in HTML and facs. PDF

This was quickly replied to by the Liberty and Property Defence League (founded 1882) with two volumes of essays edited by Thomas Mackay:

  • A Plea for Liberty: An Argument Against Socialism and Socialistic Legislation (1891) [HTML] and
  • A Policy Of Free Exchange: the Economical and Social Aspects (1894) [HTML]
  • Australians should note the essays in these volumes by Charles Fairfield on “State Socialism in the Antipodes” and J.W. Fortescue “State Socialism and the Collapse in Australia” since this new form of socialism was much admired by the British socialists of the day and seen as the path for the future. The pioneers of "state socialism" were Bismarck in the new German Reich after 1871 and the Australian colonies in the last decades of the 19th century. On state socialism in the Antipodes, this time in New Zealand but in favour of it: Rossignal and Steward, State Socialism in New Zealand (1910) facs. PDF.

Herbert Spencer also joined in with works on "the coming slavery" of socialist interventionism in The Man versus the State (1884) HTML and facs. PDF, as did the individualist political philosopher Wordsworth Donisthorpe (1847-1914) and Auberon Herbert (1838-1906):

  • Wordsworth Donisthorpe, Individualism: A System of Politics (1889) in HTML and facs. PDF
  • Wordsworth Donisthorpe, Law in a Free State (1895) in HTML and facs. PDF
  • Auberon Herbert, The Voluntaryist Creed (1908) in HTML and facs. PDF

In addition to the Fabian socialist challenge (and soon the Labour Party formed in 1900) classical liberalism was being challenged from within, so to speak, by political philosophers like L.T. Hobhouse, John A. Hobson, T.H. Green who developed a more interventionist form of libealism which they called the “New Liberalism” (or what the Americans now call just "liberalism") which would have enormous influence in the 20th century. See for example the important book by

Germany: The main theorist of the "communist" or "revolutionary" variant of socialism, Karl Marx (1818-1883), died before he could finish and publish all the volumes of his Das Kapital. (vol. 1 appeared in his lifetime in 1867). This was left to Friedrich Engels who published vols. 2 (1884) and 3 (1896). See

The appearance of the final volume in 1896 prompted the Austrian economist Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk to write a comprehensive demolition of the "Marxian system" in "Zum Abschluss des Marxschen Systems" ("On the Completion of Marx's System (of Thought): A Critique) in English [HTML and facs.PDF] and German [HTML and facs.PDF).

Given the paucity of specific plans for what a future socialist society would look like and how it would function, there were several attempts to imagine it in the form of speculative fiction. The best known one was by the American socialist Edward Bellamy in Looking Backward. 2000-1887 (1888) [HTML]. Another was by the Australian William Lane (John Millar), The Workingman’s Paradise (1892) and also H.G. Wells, A Modern Utopia (1905).

This should be read alongside the dystopian picture of a socialist future by the German classical liberal politician Eugen Richter in Pictures of the Socialistic Future (1891) [HTML].

Post-1917

Because the "revolutionary socialists" like Karl Marx were very coy about describing in detail how the future centrally planned communist economies would be run (unlike the "democratic socialists" who saw the legislative process as the means to build socialism gradually), we therefore have to make do with sketchy outlines such as:

  • Lenin, The State and Revolution (1917) [HTML]

The economic policies of the Bolsheviks were immediately criticised by

  • Ludwig von Mises in an essay on "Economic Calculation in a Socialist Community" (1920) [in English and German], and then a book, Die Gemeinwirtschaft (Socialism) (1922) [in English HTML at OLL] and German facs. PDF here]
which he continued for the rest of his life in a series of works criticising "interventionism" of all kinds, whether "revolutinary" or "parliamentary" in form.

 

The Keynesian Revolution

The monetary theory of the English economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) produced a revolution in thinking about how governments in the non-Communist world could and should control the economy to overcome the defects of "laissez-faire capitalism", one which would conme to dominate the world for the next 80 or 90 years. In many ways, it was a return to the oilder socialist ideas of Proudhon put forward in the 1848 Revolution for a "Peoples" or "Exchange" bank to be set up by the state in order to provide low or zero interest loans to workers to fund their "ateliers" or workshops.

  • John Maynard Keynes, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936) [external HTML]

These ideas were quickly opposed by classical liberals such as:

  • William H. Hutt, The Theory of Idle Resources (1939) [HTML]
  • Ludwig von Mises, Political Economy: A Theory of Trade and Economics (1940) [facs. PDF (auf deutsch)]
  • Henry Hazlitt, The Failure of the “New Economics”: An Analysis of the Keynesian Fallacies (1959) [external PDF]

Apparently to no avail given current economic policy.