I've been a freedom lover forever and a Ron Paul guy since 2007, but over the last couple of years I've been trying to deepen my understanding of the ethics of libertarianism and the power of Austrian economics.
So far I've worked through: Free to Choose, Economics in One Lesson, Bastiat's Law, Road to Serfdom, (most of) Human Action, The Freetax Book, Against IP, End the Fed, The Revolution, and a few essays and videos here and there.
This site has a MASSIVE database of essays and freely published books and it's all so daunting. I was hoping for recommendations of must-reads that are available here, preferably as ePub as I have a brand new N&N nook simple touch (which I love!). My next read is probably going to be It's a Jetsons World, but I'm looking for input.
I would also be interested to hear what some of the better reads are on here. I might start with Economics in One Lesson.
Excluding what you've already read:
1. Man, Economy, and Sate (Rothbard)
2. Socialism (Mises)
3. For a New Liberty (Rothbard)
4. Prices and Production (Hayek)
5. The Fatal Conceit (Hayek)
6. America's Great Depression (Rothbard)
7. Why Wages Rise (Harper)
All higher level reading with the exception of 3 and 7.
How "higher"? Would these be too much for someone new to economics?
If you're looking for libertarian ethics, I don't know if there has been a better summarization than Ethics of Liberty by Rothbard. Granted it's not like he has the final word on the matter whatsoever (I don't think I believe in Natural Rights and his case for it is not very explanatory IMO), but he lays out the concepts very systematically.
I would listen to a lot of the audio and video content on this site before purchasing more advanced reading material. Browse some of the great threads on this forum and when you aren't sure you understand a point do a google search limited to site:mises.org to get Mises Daily articles and blog posts that include the search topic.
The whole point is that the advanced material is a lot easier to digest when you understand the terminology and the building blocks upon which the arguments rest. It's hard to ponder the logic of an argument (or the weaknesses of an argument) if you're busy pondering the language and the relationships between concepts.
Welcome to the Mises forum! Check the links below for the recommendations:
For economics in general, see here. (at that link, you can click most of those images and be taken to a place to either download the book and/or purchase it. If it's not obvious, look for the phrase "resources page")
After looking there,
And finally, check out these lists:
You should read some mainstream economics too, so you will understand more what Austrians are criticising about.
"How "higher"? Would these be too much for someone new to economics?
There's no way that one is really going to understand the content of MES without reading either Menger's Principles, Human Action, or prefferably both. It's very well written though.
Socialism by Mises is fairly easy to comprehend on its own except that the finer points of the calculation argument won't be understood unless one has read the relevant chapters in Human Action.
For a New Liberty is ok for any reading level, I read it without a problem in 10th grade. Magnificent introduction to libertarianism and actually economics as well by introducing the mixture of economics with politics that characterizes much of modern libertarian thought.
Prices and Production is on a very high reading level and parts are practically impossible to understand without having read AT LEAST Human Action and understanding a good deal of broader economic theory and debate because it's hard to understand much of what he's critiquing. I would honestly reccomend Human Acion, MES, and an economic history before thinking of tackling P&P
The Fatal Coneit isn't that high-level. At least have some exposure to socialist ideologies and basic economics before.
America's great depression can be understood on a very basic level with practically no economic knowledge, but the theoretical chapters at the begginning of the work will be MEANIGNLESS and the real implications of the various interventions will be misunderstood. I would suggest having read Mises' view on the business cycle and prefferably rothbard's in MES because then the real cause of the crisis, and more importantly the affects of resulting interventions had in stagnating prices.
Why Wages Rise is a little known 50's pamphlet that is an excellent, wonderful, introduction to Austrian wage theory.
Does that answer your question?
Thanks for answering. I'll take all of that into consideration.
That's a good list to try to understand this site.
1) I would say the "core" would be Human Action and Man Economy State
2) And other very serious canidates would be: Socialism, Theory and History, A Theory of Money and Credit, Prices and Production, Capital and It's Structure, America's Great Depression, Capital Socialism and Democracy.
I wouldn't really know how to "rank" or recommend these in any order: i guess it depends on goals. For me, I could see Theory and History and Socialism being the two more "serious" important books - but who knows
One could probably put Menger's Principles of Economics as important as Human Action in it's own way too - butI don't think it is necessary to read right away for the purposes of this site.
As far as th ethical / political outlook of this site I guess For a New Liberty is probably it's indisputable corner stone.
3) That stated the one criticism/question I have is why did you list The Fatal Conceit?
"As in a kaleidoscope, the constellation of forces operating in the system as a whole is ever changing." - Ludwig Lachmann
"When A Man Dies A World Goes Out of Existence" - GLS Shackle
How could I have left out Theory and History???? That's one of the best books I've ever read, an amazing elaboration upon the Austrian method (although in no way complete) and is definetely tied for number two!
I quite liked The Fatal Conceit and I think it integrates quite well with the rest of Austrian theory.
I agree that Menger's work is of a great historical importance, and can help to reaffirm Austrian theory, but the fact is that if one understands the bulk of Human Action then Principles is more or less redundant, whereas everything else that I listed there could add essence to what one has already read.