Book Journal 1: Classical Liberalism and Gold

Paleo Retiree writes:

  • The Law” by Frédéric Bastiat. Alas, I came to this book too late in my poli-sci education. No disrespect meant, let alone any quarrels with its status as a classic of the libertarian tradition, but it didn’t advance any arguments that I haven’t run into and wrestled with many times before. That said, I still found the book a kick. There were two main reasons. One was the novelty factor: How often do you run across a Frenchman making the case for smaller, looser government? The other is the writing, which is a worldly joy. I listened to the book on audio, and mostly at the gym, so I was unable to jot down examples. But trust me on this: it’s one seriously elegant and spirited read.
  • Paper Money Collapse: The Folly of Elastic Money” by Detlev Schlichter. Every now and then I enjoy exploring the arguments of goldbugs; there’s something in me that responds well to the idea of hard money. And of the titles I’ve leafed through recently Schlichter’s book is the one I enjoyed most. It’s bold and vigorous in a hearty, Germanic-prof kind of way. As a presenter, Schlichter has a triumphant, heraldic tone that I find amusing, winning, and — I admit it freely — a little stirring. Not for the first time, I was struck by how much the goldbug critique of current financial arrangements overlaps with the critique advanced by the monetary-reform team, which I’m very sympathetic to. Detlev Schlichter blogs here.
  • Fixing The Dollar Now: Why U.S. Money Lost Its Integrity and How We Can Restore It” by Judy Shelton. A well-done basic case for hard money, written at the length of a long essay or pamphlet, that’s friendly in a well-organized, helpful-American way. For all its clarity it didn’t turn me on in the way Schlichter’s book did. Still: thumbs up — it’s a good, fast intro for anyone who’s curious about gold and/or the arguments that can be made in favor of a gold standard. Nathan Lewis — whose own book about gold (and whose views on urbanism) I like a whole lot — praises Shelton here.

About Paleo Retiree

Onetime media flunky and movie buff and very glad to have left that mess behind. Formerly Michael Blowhard of the cultureblog Now a rootless parasite and bon vivant on a quest to find the perfectly-crafted artisanal cocktail.
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2 Responses to Book Journal 1: Classical Liberalism and Gold

  1. Callowman says:

    I find Jim Rickards’ goldbuggy books useful, especially Currency Wars. Points for realism about politics, which isn’t always a strength among Austrians.

    As for Bastiat, I read it late, too, in English, in the early 2000s. The translation is excellent. I had been to a talk by James Shikwati, the anti-foreign aid activist from Kenya, and he said it was reading Bastiat that had inspired him to get interested in economics.


  2. Pingback: The Best of UR 2014 | Uncouth Reflections

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