Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Books

I did finally finish reading Dr. Andrew Bernstein's superb The Capitalist Manifesto. I have briefly commented on it here. The book particularly excels in its historical analyses of various aspect of the pre- and post-capitalist world. For example, it analyzes in detail the idea that the Industrial Revolution led to a decrease in the standard of living of poor people and shows that the opposite is the case. This book is really a must read for anyone who wants to understand the true history of capitalism, including its intellectual origins in the Enlightenment and its materials results. The polemical sections are also a gem, as the idea that capitalism leads to imperialism, war, and slavery is thoroughly debunked. In addition, the book relies on Ayn Rand's Objectivism as a moral and philosophical framework within which to evaluate and understand capitalism. While the moral justification for capitalism will be familiar ground to Objectivists, Dr. Bernstein keeps the reader engaged with numerous concrete examples. Also, don't miss the appendix, in which the lives of the great industrialists are described in exciting detail.

Presently I am still trying to get through Sandburg's Abraham Lincoln. I am just passed the point where Lincoln got elected and the South seceded. However, war has not broken out yet. I haven't quite gotten as far in this book by now as I had hoped.

I am on the second to last chapter of The Abolition of Antitrust by Gary Hull. The book consists of a series of essays covering the economic, historical, legal, and philosophical cases for the elimination of antitrust law. Particularly noteworthy, in my opinion, was the chapter by Richard M. Salsman entitled "The False Profits of Antitrust" in which he traces the attitude of economics and economists to profits, capitalists, and entrepreneurs over the last few centuries. According to Salsman the attitude is largely negative and profits (and thus capitalists) are expected ideally not to be there. This obscene view appears to still be the norm today.

I have a long list of books to read that will follow the above. Perhaps I will detail them in a future post.

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