by Murray Rothbard
(Contents by Publication Date)
The academic contributions of Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995) are legion, but he also had a passion for public persuasion. A free society can only be sustained if the general public is aware of the vital importance of the market and the terrible consequences of statism. That's why Rothbard hoped to convince everyone about the virtues of the free economy. For Rothbard, educating the public was strategically necessary and morally obligatory. It was also lots of fun.
From 1982 to 1995, The Free Market was home to Rothbard's monthly explanation of economic events. He presented theory and policy in clear, sprightly prose while never sacrificing intellectual rigor. Keeping with Mencken's rule, Rothbard's clear writing was a product of his clear thought. Even when discussing subjects like interest rates and excise taxes--subjects economists typically take pains to make unbearably boring--Rothbard teaches and entertains at the same time.
The Free Market essays are a crucial part of the legacy he has left us. As he skewers both parties in all branches of government, and all their connected interests, we see a principled Austrian School economist at work. No matter how specialized and distant from reality the economic profession becomes, Rothbard proves it is always possible to communicate truth more broadly. In this area, as in so much else, Rothbard shows us the way.
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
1. The Austrian School, named for the country of its founding, views freely moving prices, unhampered markets, and private property as the keys to economic prosperity and social cooperation. (See "Why Austrian Economics Matters," [Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1994] and "The Austrian Study Guide" [Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, continually updated].) [p. 12] [p. 13] [p. 14] [p. 15]