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Introduction to Economics

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bboy Posted: Fri, Nov 27 2009 12:34 AM

Should I first read Rothbard's Man, State, and Economy or Mises' Human Action? I will have study guides for both.

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Esuric replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 12:46 AM

bboy:

Should I first read Rothbard's Man, State, and Economy or Mises' Human Action? I will have study guides for both.

You can read them, but you won't understand most of it.

"If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion."

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Conza88 replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 1:55 AM

Esuric:

bboy:

Should I first read Rothbard's Man, State, and Economy or Mises' Human Action? I will have study guides for both.

You can read them, but you won't understand most of it.

Well that's a pretty poor assumption to make. Maybe you didn't understand most of it.

Bboy, firstly welcome to Mises.org Smile

Have you read any other introductory texts?

I would recommend read MES first, with study guide.. as it was first meant to be a textbook for Human Action, but became it's own treatise. In my opinion, it is easier to understand and comprehend.

Takes a long time, as with any thing worthy - to digest it all though. Good luck.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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Esuric replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 1:59 AM

Conza88:
Well that's a pretty poor assumption to make. Maybe you didn't understand most of it.

I actually haven't read either of them, but I believe Robert Murphy when he says that Mises expects you to understand Bohm-Bawerk's capital theory.

"If we wish to preserve a free society, it is essential that we recognize that the desirability of a particular object is not sufficient justification for the use of coercion."

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Conza88 replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 3:52 AM

Esuric:

Conza88:
Well that's a pretty poor assumption to make. Maybe you didn't understand most of it.

I actually haven't read either of them, but I believe Robert Murphy when he says that Mises expects you to understand Bohm-Bawerk's capital theory.

Yep. Rothbard doesn't assume you know anything.. besides English? Big Smile

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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G8R HED replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 6:26 AM

Esuric:
You can read them, but you won't understand most of it.

 

Good advice - for myself, at least.

I have been pursuing independent study here at mises.org for.....I don't know.....maybe going on 5 years - might be more. I have learned a lot - at least as much as a old dog could reasonably expect without a professional trainer.

Human Action has been going in fits and starts. The Study Guide is a must-use item. Even at that I have had a hard time making room in 'life' to do what it takes to attack the study as it ought to be done.

Persistence pays off in the long run. Patience is a virtue. Peace of spirit prepares the mind for reception.

These three are difficult to achieve even within an academic setting. Outside of acadamia the pressure is off, so I think they are easier to achieve but harder to make room for.  

 

For starting out I had a lot more success with Epistemological Problems of Economics, Theory and History, For A New Liberty, and The Ethics of Liberty.

I had good success reading Man, Economy and State early on, but it is definately one that I need to go back through with the study guide.

 

 

"Oh, I wish I could pray the way this dog looks at the meat" - Martin Luther

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bboy replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 8:42 AM

ty to for the welcome conza88
i have been reading Austrian economics for quite some time and understand much of the material.
I just decided recently that I'm ready to tackle Rothbard and Mises' treatises on economics.
I will read both, but i was just wondering which one would be better to start off with; if it would be easier, for example to understand mises if i first read rothbard.

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I would read MES before Human Action, though I would read Callahan's Economics for Real People as an intro to Austrian econ before moving on to these heavier treatises.

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bboy replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 9:59 AM

alright thx for the suggestions

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Read 'Economics for real people' by Gene Callahan first, then try to comprehend MES (with the study guide) for the first time. Then HA for the first time. And then onwards.

 

It took me about a year to understand all the nuts & bolts of MES. I would advice not to focuse on 1 book at the time, but try reading a lot of different things.

The state is not the enemy. The idea of the state is. 

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If you commute, and you have a way to play digital media in your car, I would take this approach:

  1. Listen to Rothbard's Economics 101 lecture series 3 times.
  2. Listen to the audiobook of Human Action 2 or more times.
  3. Read Man, Economy, and State.

In Human Action, you won't get all the nuts and bolts you get in MES (like, for existence, Rothbard's full exposition on price formation).  But too many nuts and bolts are onerous the first time around.  With Human Action, you'll have the key principles eloquently expressed, and see the might edifice of the market economy loom up before your eyes, even if you don't see in precise detail how every single girder joins the next.  Human Action is much more enjoyable to listen to than MES is to read, so I would start with Mises first.  Even if you're not familiar with the historical allusions, you can still understand their import, because his expression is so forceful.  And each time you listen to it, its teachings will become more clear.  Just make it the Official Soundtrack of your car, and you won't be sorry!

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bboy:

Should I first read Rothbard's Man, State, and Economy or Mises' Human Action? I will have study guides for both.

Do not start with these things, economics for real people then economics in 1 lesson then man state and the economy
"Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gathered too much honey; I need hands outstretched to take it." -Thus Spake Zarathustra
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In my opinion you should read, like the guy above me said, a few genuinely introductory texts first.

Economics for Real People - Gene Callahan
Economics in One Lesson - Henry Hazlitt
How an Economy Grows and Why it Doesn't - Irwin Schiff [no jokes, it's actually really good and fun]
An Introduction to Austrian Economics - Thomas C. Taylor

Those are all good ones I've read.

I haven't read either Human Action or Man, Economy and State but the reason I haven't is because I can get them for free off my ex-Austro-libertarian (now apolitical neo-fascist, although somehow a quite lovely person) friend.

Combined with the economics-maths mush they're feeding me here, my good economics has almost withered away (most of the good reading I did was about a year ago). But I shall re-kindle it.

Anyway, read the basics first, and you'll find the more complex stuff easier. 

The difference between libertarianism and socialism is that libertarians will tolerate the existence of a socialist community, but socialists can't tolerate a libertarian community.

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Alex M replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 5:35 PM

Absolutely read Man, Economy, and State first. It's what got me started and I can't think of a better way to approach Austrian economics than from the ground up, beginning with the fundamental axioms and deriving the entire economic edifice from them. Sure, there's a lot of nuts and bolts, but it's an enjoyable ride from beginning to end and seems far better organized than Human Action (which I am halfway through). That said, I'm loving Human Action now, though I can't imagine what I'd be getting out of it had I not started with Rothbard.

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Conza88 replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 6:13 PM

Thedesolateone:
my ex-Austro-libertarian (now apolitical neo-fascist, although somehow a quite lovely person) friend.

Woah, time out. lol

Can you pm an explanation to that one?

Sorry don't want to threadjack.

Ron Paul is for self-government when compared to the Constitution. He's an anarcho-capitalist. Proof.
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Conza88:

Thedesolateone:
my ex-Austro-libertarian (now apolitical neo-fascist, although somehow a quite lovely person) friend.

Woah, time out. lol

Can you pm an explanation to that one?

Same here.

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bboy replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 8:35 PM

wow lots of good advice, again ty to all for the suggestions, i will start by reading Economics for Real People, then Thomas Taylor's Intro, listen to Economics 101 by rothbard, and finally begin on MES.

But now i want to know what Thedesolateone means by ex-Austro-liberatarian...because the way i see it is that once you realize the state is evil, theres no going back. It's analogous to The Matrix in my opinion.

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bboy:
But now i want to know what Thedesolateone means by ex-Austro-liberatarian...because the way i see it is that once you realize the state is evil, theres no going back. It's analogous to The Matrix in my opinion.

Yea I think he's got some s'plaining to do.

"Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gathered too much honey; I need hands outstretched to take it." -Thus Spake Zarathustra
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David. replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 8:40 PM

I also recommend Economics for Real People (Callahan) and Economics in One Lesson (Hazlitt). Very easy to read, very easy to understand. And better yet, Economics for Real People is available free online.

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bboy replied on Fri, Nov 27 2009 9:04 PM

The Late Andrew Ryan:

 

Yea I think he's got some s'plaining to do.

haha I lol'ed irl after reading ur quote from Watchmen.

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Yes! Finally someone appreciates my awesome sig!!!

"Lo! I am weary of my wisdom, like the bee that hath gathered too much honey; I need hands outstretched to take it." -Thus Spake Zarathustra
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David.:

I also recommend Economics for Real People (Callahan) and Economics in One Lesson (Hazlitt). Very easy to read, very easy to understand. And better yet, Economics for Real People is available free online.

I really enjoyed Economics in One Lesson and there appears to be a free, yet older, version available online (search Google for the title). I think I'll try Economics for Real People next.

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Conza88:

Thedesolateone:
my ex-Austro-libertarian (now apolitical neo-fascist, although somehow a quite lovely person) friend.

Woah, time out. lol

Can you pm an explanation to that one?

Sorry don't want to threadjack.

May as well do it here as so many people have asked.

I have met this fellow called Henry at college, who used to be a libertarian/Austrian, including once sending a 14-page letter to a local council leader whose views he disagreed with. I think what happened is he got so tired of the world being so wrong that he became cynical and apolitical. He's only partially a neo-fascists I think, and mainly says very provocative stuff to shock people, but I think he has some of the tendencies. I really wish he had stayed Austro-lib though; even at the libertarian society I'm the only Austrian, and I'm one of only two libertarians at my college.

He's a great guy though, lots of fun and very strange. I don't tell people he used to be a libertarian otherwise they'll have fuel in accusing it of leading people to nazism!

The difference between libertarianism and socialism is that libertarians will tolerate the existence of a socialist community, but socialists can't tolerate a libertarian community.

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A constant fear of mine; the fact that LewRockwell.com publishes such neo-fascists doesn't comfort me one bit.

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Lilburne:

If you commute, and you have a way to play digital media in your car, I would take this approach:

 

  1. Listen to Rothbard's Economics 101 lecture series 3 times.
  2. Listen to the audiobook of Human Action 2 or more times.
  3. Read Man, Economy, and State.

 

In Human Action, you won't get all the nuts and bolts you get in MES (like, for existence, Rothbard's full exposition on price formation).  But too many nuts and bolts are onerous the first time around.  With Human Action, you'll have the key principles eloquently expressed, and see the might edifice of the market economy loom up before your eyes, even if you don't see in precise detail how every single girder joins the next.  Human Action is much more enjoyable to listen to than MES is to read, so I would start with Mises first.  Even if you're not familiar with the historical allusions, you can still understand their import, because his expression is so forceful.  And each time you listen to it, its teachings will become more clear.  Just make it the Official Soundtrack of your car, and you won't be sorry!

Brilliant idea. I owe you a 12-pack of some of my fine, Canadian beer. :p

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