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What are you reading?

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Maynard replied on Thu, Sep 27 2012 11:43 PM

Clayton:

Attention Readers: I've contemplated the idea of writing a "conspiracy action genre" fiction (think Da Vinci Code but completely different of course) piece. I have some really, really wild ideas for the setting and some plot surprises that I'm sure would keep people guessing and maintain suspense. However, I'm a firm believer that it is really character development and character-conflict that draws people into a story and keeps their attention. To this end, I'm curious if anyone would be willing to share their favorite fiction characters that really just reached out and grabbed them: real, three-dimensional characters; characters with Shakespearean depth and subtlety. Character conflicts that are completely believable and engrossing.

Clayton -

 

I suggest reading Dostoevsky's The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov. Steinbeck often has characters I tie to people in my real life (e.g. Cathy from East of Eden I once attributed to a manager of mine named Cathy, a real bitch with a power trip). I personally got attached to Chris McCandless in Into the Wild. His main conflicts weren't with other characters, but with situations in life, and the observance of others; not unlike Alyosha Karamazov. I wish I could go on, but time is limited.

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I'd recommend William Gaddis, The Recognitions. And I think you'd enjoy it for more than just the well-drawn characters.

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I'd recommend William Gaddis, The Recognitions. And I think you'd enjoy it for more than just the well-drawn characters.

From Wikipedia:

"The story loosely follows the life of Wyatt Gwyon, a Calvinist minister's son..."

Good suggestion.

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I forgot a good one.  Paul Atreides.

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Loppu replied on Sat, Sep 29 2012 1:11 PM

Ok, so there are books that cover the practical side of anarcho-capitalism from one end to the other. I'm referring to a books like For a New Liberty by Murray Rothbard. What do you think is the best book in this category? My question is pointed towards everybody.

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Morris and Linda Tannehills' Market for Liberty is probably a good start.

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I review W.H. Hutt's The Theory of Idle Resources: "Hutt's Classical Theory of Unemployment." Great monograph, but I argue that while Hutt's criticisms of Keynes are on the mark, he completely ignores a more fundamental theory put forth by Keynes.

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From Wikipedia:

"The story loosely follows the life of Wyatt Gwyon, a Calvinist minister's son..."

Good suggestion.

Is that sincere or snark? I guess I miss your reference...

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I'm finishing up a book on Casanova, then I am going to read Egalitarianism as a revolt against Nature.

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Is that sincere or snark? I guess I miss your reference...

The reference is to Clayton's religious upbringing.

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Ah! Had no idea. Yeah, I hope he reads it then.

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Loppu replied on Fri, Oct 26 2012 8:34 AM

I don't have anything better to do, so I might just ask this, quite useless question here: How many books do you read in year on average? How many books have you read during this year?

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Tally replied on Fri, Oct 26 2012 10:38 AM

I agree with you. Especially your remarks about Jim and his co helped me unravel this myth , Eh...I told him to write my essay. Will you do me a favour? I can tell you why I did not go to that blog and when it happened.

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Finished ethics of liberty last night along with rand's anthem.

finishing mises liberalism and starting for a new liberty this weekend.

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Clayton replied on Sat, Oct 27 2012 3:16 PM

I'm reading The Essays of Michel, Lord of Montaigne. In 17-th century King's English (lol). He's witty and profound. A very rare combination.

Clayton -

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Precis of Bayesian Rationality: The Probabilistic Approach to Human Reasoning

I am currenty exploring various theories explaining human action under uncertainty (which means always). Most of them turn out rather shallow conceptually, quickly switching to mathematical encoding and symbolic manipulation.

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That's something that interests me too.  Are you finding that they are reaching correct conclusions though?  Can you explain a little on how they are applying the mathematics or how they justify switching to math?  Also have you read anything in particular worth reading yet?

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I hate the quick switch to symbolic formalisms exactly because the theorems they provide are of dubious value. Otherwise I would not have issues with math (not all Austrians hate math). The switch to formal treatment is usually not explicitly justified, but I think that's ok - there are a lot of standard self-evident reasons for using formal treatments.

I've just started reading the Precis, so it's hard to tell, but so far it looks much better that the other papers at least in its structure - there seems to be enough explanation of the background and related work. Will see what is their actual result.

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I finished reading After the Welfare State (recommend it), and I'm reading Anatomy of the State.

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I have to say, I've stopped reading What Religions Don't Want You to Know. Got to just under the halfway point. Book has no direction or central theme. The author, RK Sidler, disects the different religions including some of the stranger ones such as scientology and Christian Science. He also discusses some of the obscure denominations of Christianity such as Jehovah's Witness, Unification Church, etc. Then Sidler starts refuting the arguments of evolutionists by presenting a ridiculous incoherent case of random mutations, genetic mutations, DNA strands, etc. The authors starts off as a theologist and then becomes a biologist. The book (kindle version) is available for cheap, but is a complete waste of time. Does anyone have an alternative recommended reading suggestion?

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idol replied on Fri, Nov 9 2012 3:26 PM

I don't have anything better to do, so I might just ask this, quite useless question here: How many books do you read in year on average? How many books have you read during this year?

I read anywhere between 30-50 on my own. Add another 20 if you count schoolwork. 

I'm reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I've been seeing so many Galt references and I decided I had to read it. 

By the way, for anyone who has read it, is Bohm-Bawerk's Capital and Interest still relevant? In other words, does it refute theories still around and expound a theory still held? 

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Currently I'm reading Markets, Not Capitalism edited by Gary Chartier and Charles Johnson. It's actually pretty refreshing and contains lots of great information and food for thought.

I'm about halfway through it, but it has several articles written by earlier anarcho-socialists. It's interesting to read people like Tucker and have them sound very similar to modern "right-libertarians" with the exception of one point: The labor theory of value. Once you drop that, then they end up falling right in line. Individualist Socialists are closer to right-libertarians than they know.

There's also some good information and references about how big business/corporations were a large force for centralization and regulation in the Progressive era, and a good peice about how Mises's calculation arguement can be applied to large heirarchical institutions like large corporations, and that the trend in freed markets would be towards smaller buisiness, and not "Wal-Marts and no government".

It's a great book to get your head out of the "Mises.org Bubble" if you ever feel like you're stuck in it.  

So, LogisticEarth, did you finish the book? How was it?

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Here is my review of Joseph Stiglitz' The Price of Inequality.

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Neodoxy replied on Sun, Dec 23 2012 2:22 AM

I've been reading de Soto's book "Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles" and even though I've only read about a third of the book all I can say is "wow". This has to be the most underrated works in the "Austrian Library". It explained ABCT in a concise and clear way that was both theoretical and easily applicable to the real world, covered many of the exact stages and causal mechanisms of the crisis and some of their effects, deals wonderfully with empirical examples, tackles deficiencies in modern theories and measurements, and covers a remarkable amount of ground.

All other attempts at explaining the business cycle which I've seen expressed in other works absolutely pale in comparison to what de Soto manages to do in this work. While a certain background in economic terminology is needed before you can tackle this book, the treatise doesn't employ that much jargon and is pretty readable at just about any level, although some things could be described in more detail. It's not a perfect book, but it's still pretty awesome.

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Baconian Probability and Hume’s Theory of Testimony
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Raoul replied on Sun, Dec 23 2012 6:00 AM

There's a great question I don't manage to solve: how must "Jesus Huerta de Soto" be abbreviated ? 

- Soto

- de Soto,

- Huerta de Soto ?

 

Not a native speaker - you may correct my spelling errors.
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Neodoxy replied on Sun, Dec 23 2012 11:26 AM

I have no idea but de Soto rolls of the tounge much more easily than Huerta de Soto. It doesn't help that I don't know how to say "Huerta" (I'm sure if Jonathan comes back he can help here)

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My problem with Huerta de Soto's book is his grasp of opposing theory is limited, and some people consider his history dubious (I prefer not to pass judgment, since I really don't know). I think I'd rather point someone to a book like Man, Economy, and State.

Edit: I think "Huerta de Soto" is his entire paternal last name. His maternal last name is "Ballester," or something like that (took a quick look on Wikipedia). So, it'd be Huerta de Soto, Jesus (similarly, mine would be Finegold, Jonathan, even though I tend to include "Catalán").

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Neodoxy replied on Sun, Dec 23 2012 11:43 AM

Jonathan,

When you are talking about his "grasp of opposing theory", which theories are you talking about? All of them or non-full reserve banking or monetarism/Keynesianism? As for the history, are you talking about the history of business cycles or of banking/thought history?

Also, thank you for the clarification of the name

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Regarding the first question, I have in mind specifically his criticism of free banking. Actually, when I was giving my lecture in Madrid (Huerta de Soto had spoken a couple of hours before me) on banking regulation someone in the audience asked me on Huerta de Soto's take on free banking, and I literally said that much of his criticism was a strawman (actually, I said he didn't understand it). I don't intend to start a debate (and I won't take part in one here), but I thought it'd be an interesting tidbit to share. I'm much more sympathetic with his criticism of Keynesianism, but he doesn't spend as much time understanding others' theories as much as he does his, which is normal — we get the same feeling when non-Austrians criticize Austrian theory.

As for the second question, I'm referring to his history of opinions towards fractional reserve banking. I believe "Lord Keynes" (the blogger) wrote a post criticising this part of the book.

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Bert replied on Sun, Dec 23 2012 1:24 PM

I guess I should utilize this thread before the forum closes.  For philosophy I'm halfway through I Am a Strange Loop, but it's been a month since I last read it.  I'm thinking of re-reading Anthony Kenny's A New History of Western Philosophy as I never finished it, but I'm thinking of trying out the "Very Short Introduction" books put out by Oxford.  My friend told me the Hegel one was pretty good, and they are pretty cheap for around $8.  The one for Hegel is around 150 pages, Marx 120 pages, Foucault 150, Heidegger 160 pages, etc.  I feel that in a way I could get more out of these than a book on the history of philosophy in general (Kenny's book is about a thousand pages spanning as much as he can fit, compared to something that concentrates more on specific individuals).

Anyone read the Intro books before?

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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Raoul replied on Sun, Dec 23 2012 2:42 PM

Yes, thanks for the clarification, guys.

Not a native speaker - you may correct my spelling errors.
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z1235 replied on Sun, Dec 23 2012 6:05 PM

Neodoxy:
I've been reading de Soto's book "Money, Bank Credit, and Economic Cycles" and even though I've only read about a third of the book all I can say is "wow".

It's the second Austrian book I had read (after Rothbard's "The Case Against the Fed") and I can't say enough good things about it. It has also been published in many languages (more than any other austrian book, except for a few, I think) so it has not been under-rated. 

It's not a perfect book, but it's still pretty awesome.

It's as perfect as a book could be. 

 

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I've noticed that one section of Huerta de Soto's book has quite a lot of math that I can't even begin to understand. Is the math necessary to understanding the book,or not?

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I'm not at home, so I don't have a physical copy, but where is the math? I don't remember.

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Jonathan, in what book or articles can I find the best exposition of free-banking theory, in your opinion? 

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It's in Chapter 4, particulary the pages 209-253

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Jonathan, in what book or articles can I find the best exposition of free-banking theory, in your opinion?

Hands down, Selgin's <i>The Theory of Free Banking</i>.

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It's in Chapter 4, particulary the pages 209-253

Oh okay, I remember that. It's been a while since I've read the book. Some of that is straightfoward arithmetic, but I glazed over it the first time I read the book too. If you take an intermediate macro class you'll learn that stuff again (maybe not exactly the same). But no, it's not crucial for the gist of the book.

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