If it weren’t for economics, I might still be a liberal socialist progressive Democrat.
If Bob Dole and John McCain had known something about economics, they might have been elected President.
Government programs fail because they presume to be able to do the equivalent of repealing the laws of gravity, or of commanding the tide not to come in and wet the king’s feet. Politicians presume that because their law says so, it will be so. We have seen too many times how well (not!) that has worked out. It is indispensable for citizens and policy makers to recognize natural laws of supply and demand, incentives and constraints, knowledge and power, incremental marginal utility, private property, rule of law, and the limits of what government may accomplish based on its very definition, in order to achieve the greatest liberty, security, and prosperity for the greatest number. Political economy, or Citizen Economics, is the key discipline for achieving this.
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As a public service then, I offer this list of philosophers and authors and their works, roughly in order of their influence upon my own evolution.
- Thomas Sowell, Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of Basic Economics, Knowledge and Decisions, Intellectuals and Society, Migrations and Cultures, The Housing Boom and Bust, etc.
- George Gilder, author of Wealth and Poverty, Knowledge and Power, Men and Marriage, etc. quoted by Ronald Reagan.
- Ludwig Von Mises, dean of the Austrian school of economics, author of Human Action, Socialism, Bureaucracy, Economic Policy, etc.
- Milton Friedman, Nobel Laureate in economics, dean of the Chicago School, author of Free to Choose (book and PBS Television series), Capitalism and Freedom, etc.
- Julian Simon, scholar at the Cato Institute and author of The Ultimate Resource (2), The Economic Consequences of Immigration, etc.
- Josė Piñera, Chilean Finance Minister and architect of the privatized citizen pension system.
- Ayn Rand, philosopher (‘Objectivism’) and author of Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, etc.
- George Reisman, disciple of Ayn Rand and Ludwig Von Mises, Professor Emeritus at Pepperdine University and author of Capitalism.
- John Allison, President of the Cato Institute, former President of BB&T bank of North Carolina, and author of The Financial Crisis and the Free-Market Cure.
- Hernando de Soto, Peruvian economist and author of The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else.
- Jude Wanniski, member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board and author of The Way The World Works [what caused the Great Crash of 1929].
- Arthur Laffer, popularizer of the Laffer Curve and author of Eureka! How to Fix California.
- Friedrich Hayek, Nobel laureate in Economics, disciple of Ludwig Von Mises and author of The Road to Serfdom, The Role of Knowledge in Society, etc.
- Ronald Coase, Nobel laureate in Economics, author of The Firm, the Market and the Law; The Problem of Social Cost; The Lighthouse in Economics, etc.
- Murray Rothbard, disciple of Ludwig Von Mises and author of Man, Economy and State; Power and Market; America’s Great Depression; How the Business Cycle Happens, etc.
And last but definitely not least, previous statements about priority notwithstanding:
- Adam Smith, 18th-century Scottish professor of Moral Philosophy and author of An Inquiry Into The Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations, 1776.
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