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Nov 28, 2004 11:23 pm


Henry Hazlitt



Henry Hazlitt was born on this day in 1894. Hazlitt was the Frederic Bastiat of the twentieth century. His journalist credentials were impressive and included stints at the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Perhaps because he was a journalist, not an academic, he was a master at presenting the case for free-market economics in plain and penetrating prose. His book, published in 1946, Economics in One Lesson, is a classic introduction to economics and the fallacies of government meddling through price controls and public works projects. It still has not been equalled.

One of Hazlitt's biggest fans was the great craftsman of the American language, H.L. Mencken. He called him"one of the few economists in human history who can really write."

A lesser known work of Hazlitt, a novel, Time Will Run Back, is one of my favorites. It is also prophetic. Written in 1951, it is set in the future when a Communist dictator rules the planet and all memory of" capitalism" has been wiped out. Despite this, it has an optimistic message. Eventually the market eventually reasserts itself through a process of discovery and the Communist society is transformed peacefully.

Hazlitt died in 1993, a year short of his one hundreth birthday.

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Roderick T. Long - 11/29/2004

There's a bug in the way the comments section ahndles URLs, but one can get around it via HTML coding. Here are Steven's URLs again:

Hazlitt's Foundations of Morality: http://www.lfb.com/index.php?deptid=&;parentid=&stocknumber=PH6243&page=1&itemsperpage=24

Leland Yeager's Ethics as Social Science: http://www.lfb.com/index.php?deptid=&;parentid=&stocknumber=PH8451&page=1&itemsperpage=24

By the way, I've done a book review of Yeager's book here: http://www.mises.org/journals/qjae/pdf/qjae6_1_7.pdf


Sheldon Richman - 11/29/2004

The November issue of The Freeman is dedicated to Henry Hazlitt. You can see selected articles here. Contributors include Richard Ebeling, David Henderson, Don Boudreaux, Bettina Bien Greaves, Jude Blanchette, Charles Baird, and yours truly. There are also some articles by Hazlitt, including his never-published recollections about the first Mont Pelerin Society meeting.


Steven Horwitz - 11/28/2004

Thanks for that post David. I think you are right on about HH, perhaps the most undervalued contributor to the libertarian revival this century. I would also recommend his *Foundations of Morality* as one of his really important contributions. It's not going to be a Randian's cup of tea, but it makes a very powerful and different moral case for the market. Check it out here: http://www.lfb.com/index.php?deptid=&;parentid=&stocknumber=PH6243&page=1&itemsperpage=24

Interested readers might also check out Leland Yeager's *Ethics as Social Science* for a more recent version of a similar argument:
http://www.lfb.com/index.php?deptid=&;parentid=&stocknumber=PH8451&page=1&itemsperpage=24

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