Economics & Political Economy

Discourses on Salt and Iron      (1967)        E.M. Gale (Editor)
Debate held at the imperial court in 81 BCE on state policy during the Han dynasty in China. The prior emperor had reversed free market policies and imposed state monopolies, price stabilization and taxes. The new Emperor Zhao of Han called scholars to debate the government. Key take-away: The debate between economic freedom and control is nothing new!

Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy                           (2015)         Thomas Sowell
Most readable book on economics you will ever find. Explains in plain english markets, price theory, money and what does and does not work. Excellent review of the failures of the Soviet economy, disproves nostrums about labor market discrimination and the benefits of central planning.

The Wealth and Poverty of Nations                                                                     (1999)          David S. Landes
Revered professor of history and economics at Harvard University. Incredibly well written and illustrates patterns of societal and national behavior leading to success and those which end in decline and failure. When accused by some of Eurocentrism he retorted that explaining an economic miracle that happened originally only in Europe must of necessity be Eurocentric!

The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History                 (1996)            David Hackett Fischer
Skillful and interesting analysis of prices in Europe across four waves: High Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Victorian Age. Each revolution marked by continuing inflation, widening rich/poor gap, instability and crisis along with social and political upheaval and economic collapse. War, famine, black death, all the good stuff!

Inside American Education:  The Decline, The Deception, The Dogmas    (1993)           Thomas Sowell
Dr. Sowell identified and analyzed the internal destruction of the entire U.S. education system which has become painfully obvious to any thinking citizen of the U.S. (which excludes at least 50% of college “graduates” and anybody associated with grievance studies).  Having taught at the university level since 2014 and having led the turnaround of a graduate business program, I submit to you that our schools are being run by 3rd rate people with little consideration for student excellence.  This book is your baseline along with the follow on.  I also teach internationally from middle school to university level and, in my view, it isn’t fixable.  Better to let half the existing universities collapse and give parents control over where the children learn while sending the tax dollars with the student.

Charter Schools and Their Enemies                                                                  (2020)           Thomas Sowell
Parents want charter schools; Democrat billionaire controlled teacher’s unions, “DIE” consultants and other leeches to do not.  Why?  Because students do better with less control by teachers unions and bureaucrats.  Thomas Sowell proves it (again) conclusively and matches apples to apples (i.e. no cherry picking students).  Do not read this and weep; get pissed off and target your local school board.

A Book to Risky to Publish:  Free Speech and Universities                          (2020)           James R. Flynn
Noted sociologist and research on human intelligence (IQ)…and principled “lefty.”  When attempting to publish his book on the state of higher education in the west the “name” printing house chickened out.  Hence the title.  He openly takes on the deplorable state of “higher education” and the “grievance studies” blobs.  Spares nobody.  Speaks frankly to IQ differences between ethnic groups, men and women and provides convincing evidence environment drives the former.  Excellent timing:  Made sure to publish just before passing away.  You will find very few brave souls in universities.

The Communist Manifesto                                                                              (1848 original)          Karl Marx
Marx was good at identifying how people can act with money and power (in a word: shitty!) but his prescription (we take over, help you poor people kill all the bad people and take their stuff, then everybody gets along) has resulted in at least 100 million deaths.  Don’t listen to your loser Ph.D. espousing this b.s. (and they are losers) – read the original (as I have), talk to people who immigrated from communist countries and then try to find somebody who moved to a communist country.  Good luck with that!

Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution                                                  (1974)    Antony C. Sutton
Antony Sutton was a British-American professor, researcher and economist who held a research fellowship at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution on War from 1968-1973.  He was too good, determining that Wall Street (J.P. Morgan, Jacob Schiff, Averill Harriman, Julius & Armand Hammer) were instrumental to the “success” of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia (1917) through the impact of western aid to the Soviet Union benefitting the Viet Cong and North Vietnam.  This did not sit well with a fine, but “establishment” institution with significant funding from defense contractors and others.  Which is why he published in 1974.  This book should piss you off.  Wall Street and corporate America putting its own interests in front of the nation is not a new development.

Wall Street and FDR                                                                                          (1975)   Antony C. Sutton
This book is incredibly relevant today, with companies “monitoring” employee social media and seeking to coerce collectivist action and ideology (forced medication, CRT, racist, anti-white “DIE” indoctrination).  But it isn’t the first time.  The Swope Plan (by then GE CEO Gerald Swope) foresaw fascist inspired organization between big business and labor to combat communism.  The “progressive wing” of the Democratic Party at that time found much to like in Mussolini’s economic program (which is now memory-holed but Sutton does his homework).  

Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler                                                               (1976)     Antony C. Sutton
J.P. Morgan, Thomas Lamont, Rockefeller interests, General Electric and National City (now Citigroup) with the latter’s chairman even sitting on the board of I.G. Farben.  The work is documented and includes eye witness accounts to corporate America and Wall Street funding both sides of evil authoritarianism, Communism and Fascism.  Ugly.  Very ugly.  

Human Action: A Treatise on Economics                                   (1949)      Ludwig von Mises
First comprehensive treatise on economics written by a leading member of the modern Austrian school of economics. Von Mises pointed out that the whole economy is the result of what individuals do. Individuals act, choose, cooperate, compete, and trade with one another. At a time when collectivization was considered the future of humanity, he stood tall and the lessons are relevant today.

The Road to Serfdom                                                                       (1944)      Friedrich A. Hayek
Austrian-British economist, and philosopher who is best known for his defense of classical liberalism. Hayek shared the 1974 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences with Gunnar Myrdal for his work on how price changes communicate information. Associated with the Austrian School of Economics as well as the Chicago School. Major social theorist and political philosopher who helped revive classical liberalism after the second world war.

Free to Choose: A Personal Statement                                      (1979)        Milton & Rose Friedman
Milton and Rose Friedman explain how our freedom has been eroded and our affluence undermined through the explosion of laws, regulations, agencies, and spending in Washington. I also recommend watching his videos at

The Fountainhead                                                                           (1943)         Ayn Rand
Man’s ego is the fountainhead of human progress… Ayn Rand’s Herculean story of the triumph of individual freedom and creativity against the stultifying demands of ‘“society” for conformity and mediocrity (read: the losers) by the founder of Objectivism.

Atlas Shrugged                                                                                 (1957)         Ayn Rand
Who is John Galt? When he says that he will stop the motor of the world, is he a destroyer or a liberator? Why does he have to fight his battles not against his enemies but against those who need him most? Why does he fight his hardest battle against the woman he loves?

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal                                                  (1966)          Ayn Rand, Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan
Altruism is the cause of the modern world’s collapse, according to Ayn Rand. In my view, an elegant and thoughtful argument against collectivism and soft-headed government paternalism even as the disastrous “Great Society” welfare plantation system was being expanded.

A History of Interest Rates                                                           (1963)          Sidney Homer
Fourth edition.  First published in 1963 by Salomon Brothers economist Sidney Homer, this plain english book addresses interest rate trends and lending practices spanning over four millennia. Incredibly interesting book and a must read. More helpful than just staring at a computer screen.

The War on Gold                                                                             (1977)           Antony C. Sutton
Antony Sutton is the greatest investigative economic researcher and historian you haven’t heard of…because he has been memory-holed for uncovering uncomfortable truths about the complicity between Wall Street, the U.S. government and totalitarianism. While the advent of central banking in the U.S. in 1913 has provided great benefits at least part of the “progress” has been layering more debt on the backs of citizens since the advent of the “new deal” and thus government’s hostility to the ultimate “hard” money: Gold.

The Case Against the Fed                                                             (2007)           Murray N. Rothbard
Heterodox economist of the Austrian School, student of Ludwig von Mises and protege (and young thing for a time) of Ayn Rand, Rothbard was a founder of the anarcho-capitalist School of thought. While you wouldn’t actually want the world run the way he thought it should his criticisms and analyses are great for keeping institutions and intellectual schools of thought on their toes.

Collapse                                                                                             (2005)            Jared Diamond
Changing climate, population explosions, political discord and bad choices will make a civilization collapse.  Examples include Easter Island, the American southwest and the doomed Viking colony on Greenland.  Fascinating research analysis backed by archeology and studying the remains of middens (i.e. ancient trash heaps) to see what people were eating.

Cod:  A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World        (1997)         Mark Kurlansky
Main reason Europeans sailed the Atlantic.  Fed Vikings, Basques and helped fund America.  Also a cautionary tale given the collapse in Atlantic fishing stocks resulting from overfishing beginning in the 1950s when annual catch exploded from 250-300 thousand tons per annum to as high as 800 thousand tons before collapsing in 1993.   As of 2018 there was some stabilization but the Atlantic is years away from enabling a major return to fishing.

Salt:  A World History                                                                     (2003)         Mark Kurlansky
The only rock consumed by people, salt has inspired the establishment of trade routes, started wars and funded empires over thousands of years.  A great way to learn the development of civilizations and commodity economics at the same time.

The Big Oyster:  History on the Half Shell                               (2006)         Mark Kurlansky
Before reading this I had no clue that oysters were once New York City’s most famous export and eaten by both rich and poor.  Kurlansky weaves in the disastrous effect of over harvesting and pollution but also the long-term potential for recovery.  A history of the deliciously slimy bivalve and New York as you would not have imagined.

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