Thursday, March 21, 2013

More on Hazlitt

I'm at James Madison Univesity today to give a talk so time is a little compressed...

I had so much fun last week searching for contemporary examples of the issues Hazlitt discusses in One Lesson. So let's continue in the same vein for a bit:

"Stabilizing" Commodities: The Sugar Program means taxpayers/consumer lose when prices are high and when prices are low.

Government Price-Fixing: Hey Taxi!

What Rent Control Does: Well for one it lets rich people live in cheap apartments.

Do Unions Really Raise Wages? Yes for union workers but they are putting themselves out of work in the long run.

The Assault on Savings: The Kroog again!

Leaving One Lesson aside, I wanted to recommend Hazlitt's little dystopic novel, Time Will Run Back.  Here is's description:

It begins in a fully socialist society in which the new leader, who finds himself in that position only by accident, begins to rethink the economic basis of the system. He first begins to wonder whether the economy is doing well at all, and how they might discover this. This sets the leadership on a path to thinking about prices and calculation, and the very meaning of productivity.
Trading is introduced when the leadership can't see anything wrong with the idea of trading rationing tickets, and shortly markets appear, and everyone seems to be better off as a result. So on it continues. Slowly, piece by piece, he dismantles central planning and replaces it with a market system. All the while, the characters engaged in a Socratic-style discussion about the implications of money, exchange, ownership, markets, entrepreneurship, and more.

I'm a big fan of libertarian-themed dystopic literature generally especially of the young adult variety (like The Shadow Children series, The Hunger Games trilogy, or many of Cory Doctorow's books).

<shameless plug> My wife has an unpublished novel, tentatively titled Counteract, in the young adult/dystopic/libertarian genre herself. You can read the first chapter here by joining her "fan club." If you like, please share with your friends--especially your agent and publisher friends!</shameless plug>

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