Man, Economy, and State


Murray N. Rothbard‘s great treatise Man, Economy, and State and its complementary text Power and Market, are here combined into a single edition as they were written to be. It provides a sweeping presentation of Austrian economic theory, a reconstruction of many aspects of that theory, a rigorous criticism of alternative schools, and an inspiring look at a science of liberty that concerns nearly everything and should concern everyone.

The Mises Institute‘s new edition of Man Economy, and State, united with its formerly sundered companion volume Power and Market, is a landmark in the history of the Institute. It takes this book out of the category of underground classic and raises it up to its proper status as one of the great economic treatises of all time, a book that is essential for anyone seeking a robust economic education.

This new edition will take your breath away with its beauty and quality. It’s remarkable that a book this thick could lay so flat and be so durable with super-solid binding. It somehow turns out not to be unweildy. Get it with the Study Guide and you will have what you need.

The captivating new introduction by Professor Joseph Salerno that frames up the Rothbardian contribution in a completely new way, and reassesses the place of this book in the history of economic thought. In Salerno’s view, Rothbard was not attempting to write a distinctively “Austrian” book but rather a comprehensive treatise on economics that eschewed the Keynesian and positivist corruptions. This is what accounts for its extraordinarily logical structure and depth. That it would later be called Austrian is only due to the long-lasting nature of the corruptions of economics that Rothbard tried to correct.

For years, the Mises Institute has kept it in print and sold thousands of copies in a nice paperback version. Then we decided to take a big step and put out an edition worthy of this great treatise. It is the Scholar’s Edition of Man, Economy, and State—-an edition that immediately became definitive and used throughout the world. The footnotes (which are so brilliant and informative!) are at the bottom of every page. The index is huge and comprehensive. The binding is impeccable and its beauty unmatched.

Students have used this book for decades as the intellectual foil for what they have been required to learning from conventional economics classes. In many ways, it has built the Austrian school in the generation that followed Mises. It was Rothbard who polished the Austrian contribution to theory and wove it together with a full-scale philosophy of political ethics that inspired the generation of the Austrian revival, and continues to fuel its growth and development today.

From Rothbard, we learn that economics is the science that deals with the rise and fall of civilization, the advancement and retrenchment of human development, the feeding and healing of the multitudes, and the question of whether human affairs are dominated by cooperation or violence.

Economics in Rothbard’s wonderful book emerges as the beautiful logic of that underlies human action in a world of scarcity, the lens on how exchange makes it possible for people to cooperate toward their mutual betterment. We see how money facilitates this, and allows for calculation over time that permits capital to expand and investment to take place. We see how entrepreneurship, based on real judgments and risk taking, is the driving force of the market.

What’s striking is how this remarkable book has lived in the shadows for so long. It began as a guide toHuman Action, and it swelled into a treatise in its own right. Rothbard worked many years on the book, even as he was completing his PhD at Columbia University. He realized better than anyone else that Mises’s economic theories were so important that they needed restatement and interpretation. But he also knew that Misesian theory needed elaboration, expansion, and application in a variety of areas. The result was much more: a rigorous but accessible defense of the whole theory of the market economy, from its very foundations.

But the publisher decided to cut the last part of the book, a part that appeared years later as Power and Market. This is the section that applies the theory presented in the first 1,000 pages to matters of government intervention. Issue by issue, the book refutes the case for taxation, the welfare state, regulation, economic planning, and all forms of socialism, large and small. It remains an incredibly fruitful assembly of vigorous argumentation and evidence.

A major advantage of Man, Economy, and State, in addition to its systematic presentation, is that it is written in the clearest English you will find anywhere in the economics literature. The jargon is kept to a minimum. The prose is crystalline and vigorous. The examples are compelling. No one has explained the formation of prices, the damage of inflation, the process of production, the workings of interest rates, and a hundred of topics, with such energy and clarity.

Over years, students have told us that this book is what made it possible for them to get through graduate school. Why? Because Rothbard takes on the mainstream in its own terms and provides a radical, logical, comprehensive answer. If you have read the book, you know the feeling that comes with reaching the last page: one walks away with the sense that one now fully understands economic theory and all its ramifications.

It is a shame that the authentic edition of the classic that Rothbard wrote fully 40 years ago is only now coming into print. And yet the good news is that, at last, this remarkable work in the history of ideas, the book that makes such a technically competent, systematic, and sweeping case for the economics of liberty, is at last available.


Man, Economy, and State .pdf file

More from Murray Rothbard


37 thoughts on “Man, Economy, and State

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