CRUZ MARQUIS: Why ‘Economics in One Lesson’ Is as Readable Today as It Was in 1946.
Even though the “Sophisms” of many contemporary economists denigrated liberty, Hazlitt went against the stream by writing a book with the express purpose of knocking down the most persistent and pernicious fallacies in the field. He had the foresight to avoid making very particular arguments with the statistics, headlines, and quotations of the day, which may have disappointed readers decades ago, but is to the benefit of readers today. By not being bogged down with verbatims and numbers, he crafted flowing arguments which rebut the wider form of falsehood as opposed to specific instances. Did Hercules defeat the Hydra by attacking each head as it regenerated (specific economic falsehoods), or by attacking their source (generalized falsehoods)?
His premise was that economics contains everything needed to obliterate the generalized falsehoods, and from there all the specified ones: “The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate, but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy, not merely for one group, but for all groups.”
This is the lesson, no more and no less.
I read Hazlitt in my 20s and now want to see just how well he holds up in my 50s. Very well, I’m betting.