Sunday, February 12, 2017

Essentials of Economics back in 'print'

Essentials of Economics | Foundation for Economic Education - from the foreword by Jeffrey Tucker:

"The enduring power of this book is due to the enduring power of economic logic. If it is done well, it applies in all times and places. And this book does economics extremely well. In times when economics is subject to vast political manipulation, when people have abused the science to push political agendas contrary to everything economics stands for, this book stands out as a clear, objective, and rational statement of the core of what economics teaches....

"Ballvé was teaching in Mexico when he heard Mises speak. They struck up a correspondence. After Ballvé felt that he had most of his questions answered, he sat down to write this short book. It was published in Mexico in 1956. It sold very well and went into several editions.

"Two additional names deserve special mention in the tale of how it came to the English-speaking world. The William Volker Fund, administered by its founder’s nephew Harold W. Luhnow, funded a translation. This was one of thousands of incredible projects pushed by the Volker Fund in those years. Without this act of benevolence, this book would have likely been forgotten....

"But there is another important act of entrepreneurship behind this work. Leonard Read (1898–1983) was head of the Foundation for Economic Education. His passion was finding literature that propagated economics to the intelligent layman. He had a remarkably independent mind and a good eye for literary value. He read through Ballvé’s work and decided that he would use the extremely scarce resources of the foundation to promote and distribute the book as widely as possible.

"This was a risky decision. Ballvé was an unknown in the United States. He had no academic position in the United States. He had no champions, money, or connections. There was no quid pro quo at work. Read would not be able to sponsor lecture tours by the author or otherwise turn him into a big star....

"It was an excellent decision. FEE distributed many thousands of copies, perhaps even many tens of thousands of copies....

"What Read had seen in this book others saw as well. The book does not require a great deal of time, but it covers a vast scope of topics. It is, in many ways, the perfect tutorial in what economics is and what it implies about our world. It is completely free of the tendency toward political posturing. Its lessons are broad enough to apply in all times and all places. For this beleaguered generation of freedom-minded individuals assaulted on every side by trends toward centralization, this tutorial is truly the light."

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