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the forgotten man

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earwax
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Her book is more anecdotal accounts. It references a lot of interesting factoids, but in no way is it a solid analysis. You might check out America's Great Depression by Murray N. Rothbard for a better examination. I'm also getting Raymond Moley's books After Seven Years and The First New Deal - Moley was an architects of the New Deal who became a bitter opponent.

Edited by brian0918
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The Forgotten Man is an interesting read, but as brian said it's not a tight analysis. Also, Shlaes comes at the history of the Depression from the perspective of a modern conservative. As a conservative, her views on the Depression are primarily pragmatic so you're not going to get a principled defense of Capitalism based on a philosophy rooted in reason. For example, she doesn't stand against government regulation of the economy, she just stands against "too much" regulation.

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I do not know much about economics so I am trying to familiarize myself with complex nature of the subject. I have not read anything by or about Rothbard. But a quick bit of looking around on the web brought up his article 'Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult.' The thing is, if you know an author is not informed or lying about a subject one is quite familiar with then how can you trust him to give you accurate information on a subject you are not familiar about? Is Rothbard good on economics but bad on his take on Ayn Rand? Is he like Noam Chomsky.... good on linguistics but crazy on politics.

Unfortunately the Raymond Moley books are out of print. How are you coming by those books? Ebay?

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  • 1 month later...
The thing is, if you know an author [such as Murray Rothbard] is not informed or lying about a subject one is quite familiar with then how can you trust him to give you accurate information on a subject you are not familiar about? Is Rothbard good on economics but bad on his take on Ayn Rand?

This is an excellent question. Murray Rothbard is in a special category of dishonesty. Whether it be insisting that the United States was the "most warlike, most interventionist and most imperialist" (i.e., more than Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia) [1] or downplaying the extent of the holocaust to retroactively justify a non-interventionist policy for WWII [2], Rothbard seems capable of deigning to anything so long as he think it helps him promote liberty. That being said, I think we have good reason to believe that he would exaggerate or distort facts about the causes of the Great Depression, even if he already has an incriminating case against Statism.

Thus, if you are to read his book, I would do so with extreme caution.

If you want to read about the role the New Deal played in elongating and exacerbating the Great Depression, then I highly recommend both Burton Folsom's New Deal or Raw Deal? as well as Jim Powell's FDR's Folly. You can read my reviews of these books here and here.

[1] See page 11, note 13 in George Reisman's Capitalism.

[2] This was told to me by an economics professor who studied under Rothbard for many years.

Is he like Noam Chomsky.... good on linguistics but crazy on politics.

A friend of mine who was an undergraduate student in linguistics and a student of Objectivism told me that he thought Noam Chomsky had a Kantian approach to linguistics, thus making him a lousy linguist as well. However, I lack the technical knowledge to be able to evaluate this claim.

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  • 7 months later...
A friend of mine who was an undergraduate student in linguistics and a student of Objectivism told me that he thought Noam Chomsky had a Kantian approach to linguistics, thus making him a lousy linguist as well. However, I lack the technical knowledge to be able to evaluate this claim.

That would be interesting to hear more about. I know it is a bit offtopic, but does anyone know which linguists are more suitable to study? Linguistics is my minor, but I am still not sure as to which school of thought seems to be the most rational.

Regarding Rothbard, I read the book about the Great Depression. So far it's been just a couple of pages, but I will let you know what I think. He was an Austrian School economist, so he must have some value, despite his ugly views on politics.

Edited by Bastian Hayek
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