So, I really want to read these works. And I've got them on my kindle and everything. However, I'm afraid that if I read them now, I won't understand what they're saying half the time. I started reading Man Economy and State, but it's such a long book, and it would take me a long time to read. What I'm wondering is, how much economics shoul one know before reading these books? What specific books should be read?
Failure of the New Economics is good, but don't drop MES for it. Honestly, you will most likely come away with the idea that Keynes was sloppy but not necessarily completely wrong. Hazlitt's critiques are very specific and sometimes don't hit home entirely, like on the multiplier chapter. Though the burden of proof is indeed on Keynes, Hazlitt sometimes relies on this too much. It could have been more of a 'big picture' argument and not lost out on quality.
You might try "Where Keynes went wrong" by Hunter Lewis. A less zoomed in approach. I'd say wait till you finish MES to tackle anti-Keynesianism. The biggest problem of Keynesianism can be found in understanding ABCT anyways!
On Socialism: you wouldn't have to read it if you were reading Human Action...
The Anarch is to the Anarchist what the Monarch is to the Monarchist.
Could always read "Econ in One Lesson" by Hazlitt, dip your toes in economic theory.
I guess I should probably give a bit more information about what I already know and understand, as well as what I've read.
So far I have read:
Economics in One Lesson
How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes
What Has Government Done to Our Money?
How Capitalism Saved America
End the Fed
and possibly a few more I can't think of right now.
I'm most concerned with the problem of terminology.
Terminology? Though I haven't read it, I'd say Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell might be a good intro based on the index. I read Economics by Glenn Hubbard cover to cover last year and I thought it was actually a pretty objective book and good introduction to a lot of economic concepts that you'll hear mainstream economists talk about quite a bit. It helps you make some sense out of them. Now I'm in intermediate classes and I hate the books I'm reading because "potential government policies" are thrown in all the time.
Keynesianism is a very intricately woven tissue of fallacies. I honestly don't know how economists came to accept it but I would say the move towards methodological positivism and instrumentalism are to blame, as they do not necessitate a theory's premises to be realistic, only its predictions to be fruitful. Economists often can provide short-term predictions (although Keynesians can't even do this) that pan out well but which collapse over the long-term.
Freedom of markets is positively correlated with the degree of evolution in any society...