Economic Thought Before Adam Smith
by Murray Rothbard

Volume 1 of An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought. 500 pages of insight into the history of economic and political thought. Published after his death. I suspect it was not quite finished. The footnotes are fewer than usual for him. Many quotations are not attributed. He makes a convincing case that Adam Smith set economics back 200 years. Smith promoted the labor theory of value, which led to Marxism, even though his mentor Frances Hutcheson and most European economists knew values are determined by subjective utility. Smith pushed static equilibrium and ignored the role of entrepreneurs. Smith had no methodology. His book is a mess.

One note I took from early in this volume: Natural Law is the object of science. If natural law does not exist, science is pointless.

Ethics in Aristotle’s and Rothbard’s minds consists of the natural laws of health. For Aristotle the health of the state is the standard of ethics. For Rothbard the health of the individual is the standard.

Year Read: 2007


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