Thursday, September 4, 2014

Economic Education Resources

#DailyTip 241 Don't trust the news media or public schools. Learn real economics, real history, and the proper role of federal government.       
The above Daily Tip for Preppers posted a few days ago on Twitter (for a list of all daily tips, visit the Daily Tips page of this website). Sounds like get advice, but it begs a question: How do you learn real economics, real history, and the proper role of federal government? After all, the two main sources if information, the media and the educational system, are heavily biased towards progressive and collectivist ideology.

Books

 Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? by Richard J. Maybury. Short (about 190 pages), easy-to-read (aimed at high school level), and NOT boring (written as a series of letters from an uncle to his nephew), this is the perfect book for someone wanting to learn about real economics, but finds most economic books intimidating or boring. A great place to start your economic education.

A Capitalist Manifesto, by Gary Wolfram, economics professor at Hillsdale College. Subtitled "Understanding the Market Economy and Defending Liberty," Wolfgram's book explains and defends capitalism, free markets, and limited government. Short (142 pages), a bit more academic than Maybury's book (above) but still easy-to-read, it is also a great book for those wanting to learn economics without being overwhelmed or bored. A great place to continue your economic education.

Economics in One Lesson, by Henry Hazlitt. This is a classic introduction to economics from the perspective of the Austrian school by one of its leading proponents. "Hazlitt’s focus on non-governmental solutions, strong — and strongly reasoned — anti-deficit position, and general emphasis on free markets, economic liberty of individuals, and the dangers of government intervention make Economics in One Lesson, every bit as relevant and valuable today as it has been since publication." --from the book's description on Amazon.com. A bit longer (227 pages) than the first two books on this list, and more academic, it is still not a difficult read and will be accessible by most adults.

The Road to Serfdom, by F. A. Hayek. Want to really understand what the heck has happened to the US economy and political/social landscape? Read this book. From the Amazon.com description: "An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, The Road to Serfdom has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in 1944—when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program—The Road to Serfdom was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy."

The Forgotten Man, by Amity Shlaes. Perhaps no other topic has been so intentionally distorted by progressives/collectivists to bolster their worldview than the topic of the Great Depression. This is a great book to set the record straight as to the real causes, consequences, and history of the Great Depression. A thick book (well over 400 pages), but it reads more like an historical novel rather than a stuffy, technical economics text.

Reading the first two books (Maybury's and Wolfram's) will give you a better understanding of real economics than the vast majority of folks today (and definitely a better understanding than the typical liberal economics professor). Then, reading Hazlitt's and Hayek's books gives you a "graduate level" understanding of economics. Shlaes book will then correct the distortions, misinformation, and downright lies about a pivotal event in economic history.

If you then want to get a "real world understanding" of the way economics and business actually work, an interesting place to start is with Jim Roger's books Investment Biker, Adventure Capitalist, and Street Smarts. These read as modern adventure stories with lots of real world examples of business and economics in action, from a guy who has proven he knows what he is talking about.

UPDATE: @Zero_Gov suggested I add The Law, by Frederic Bastiat, and Man, Economy, and State, by Murray Rothbard. Excellent suggestions, so consider them added! The Law is a short (my copy, published by FEE - see below - has 77 pages), very important read. Though familiar with Murray Rothbard, I have not yet read Man, Economy, and State, but have now added it to my long list of books to read. Thanks, @Zero_Gov!

Internet Resources

Ludwig von Mises Institute The Mises Institute is the world’s largest, oldest, and most influential educational institution devoted to promoting Austrian economics, freedom, and peace in the tradition of classical liberalism. --from their About page

Foundation for Economic Education -  FEE’s mission is to inspire, educate and connect future leaders with the economic, ethical and legal principles of a free society. --from their About page

Hillsdale College - offers an excellent free online economics course. More than just a few videos to watch, the course includes required readings and tests in order to earn a certificate.

Learn Liberty - Covers both economic and political issues from a classical liberal viewpoint (free markets, limited government, individual liberty). Lots of educational videos and other resources. As an example, please watch one of their videos embedded below:

Top Three Common Myths of Capitalism



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