As always during its long history, English common law, upon which American law is based, has had to defend itself against the challenge of civil law’s clarity and traditions. That challenge to our common-law heritage remains today. To that end, Liberty Fund now makes available a clear and candid discussion of common law. A Concise History of the Common Law provides a source for common-law understanding of individual rights, not in theory only, but protected through the confusing and messy evolution of courts and their administration as they struggled to resolve real problems. Plucknett’s seminal work is intended to convey a sense of historical development—not to serve merely as a work of reference.
Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution was a winner in the Scholarly/Reference category at the Chicago Book Clinic’s 2009 Book & Media Show.
In the vein of Charles Louis Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws (1748) and William Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765–1769), De Lolme’s account of the English system of government exercised an extensive influence on political debate in Britain, on constitutional design in the United States during the Founding era, and on the growth of liberal political thought throughout the nineteenth century.
Constitutionalism: Ancient and Modern explores the very roots of liberty by examining the development of modern constitutionalism from its ancient and medieval origins. Derived from a series of lectures delivered by Charles Howard McIlwain at Cornell University in the 1938–39 academic year, these lectures provide a useful introduction to the development of modern constitutional forms.
Contra Keynes and Cambridge is composed of three parts: Part I consists of two essays, the first being a recollection by Hayek of his time at the London School of Economics in the 1930s, followed by his contribution to an early debate about the paradox of saving; Part II reprints the full debates between Hayek and Keynes in Economica in the early 1930s, and Hayek’s exchanges with Sraffa that followed; Part III includes some of Hayek’s reminiscences on Keynes. F. A. Hayek challenged one of the world’s leading economists, John Maynard Keynes, and his economic theories, which sparked a spirited debate that has influenced economic policy in democratic countries for decades.
Anthony de Jasay is among the most original and independent thinkers on the relationship between the individual and the state. Through his published works he has challenged the reigning paradigms justifying modern democratic government. His deeply challenging theoretical works include The State, published in 1985; it is an analysis that views the state as acting primarily in its own interests and often in opposition to the interests of both society and individuals. He subsequently published a number of additional works, including Social Contract, Free Ride: A Study of the Public Goods Problem; Choice, Contract, Consent; Before Resorting to Politics; and Against Politics. His work has become known for its insightful, individualistic, and unconventional analysis of power, politics, and freedom.
Armen A. Alchian is one of the twentieth century’s great teachers of economic science and the co-author, with William R. Allen, of the classic textbook University Economics. Born in 1914 in Fresno, California, he studied at Stanford, finishing his Ph.D. dissertation in 1943. He became a full professor at UCLA in 1958. He is known as the founder of the “UCLA tradition” in economics, which emphasizes that individual behavior is self-seeking and rational and that this can have many unanticipated consequences. Alchian has become recognized as one of the most influential voices in the areas of market structure, the theory of the firm, law and economics, resource unemployment, monetary theory, and monetary policy.
Distinguished Professor of Economics at UCLA and the Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in Economics at the University of Chicago, Arnold C. Harberger has been a dominant force in the development of global economic policies. From India to Chile, from Panama to Azerbaijan, Harberger’s research and on-the-ground engagement with leaders of finance, industry, and government have shown the efficacy and wide-ranging importance of his approach to economics. Continually focused on the professionalism of his chosen discipline, Harberger is an exemplar of its application, and he remains a highly respected and relevant economist in the twenty-first century.
Ernest van den Haag was born in Holland and came to the United States in 1940. He has published a number of works, including The Fabric of Society; The Jewish Mystique; and Political Violence and Civil Disobedience. In 1975, he published Punishing Criminals: Concerning a Very Old and Painful Question, which established van den Haag as one of the leading voices in American criminology and led to his appointment as a visiting professor of Criminal Justice at the State University of New York in Albany and as the John M. Olin Professor of Jurisprudence and Public Policy at Fordham University. Professor van den Haag continues to pursue his concerns in criminal law and criminology as part of his greater interest in the free society.
One of the most original and influential historians writing on the American founding period, Forrest McDonald speaks here about his life and the development of his work. In candid reflections, McDonald analyzes his intellectual formation in Texas in the 1950s and how he came to write his landmark We the People: The Economic Origins of the Constitution, which upset the dominant, long-standing theory proposed by Charles A. Beard. His experience in the 1960s at Brown University and Wayne State University reveals a dramatic portrait of the American cultural tumult of the time.
Gary Becker is one of the most original and pathbreaking economists in recent times. When he was named the 1992 Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences, it was for “having extended the domain of microeconomic analysis to a wide range of human behaviour and interaction, including nonmarket behaviour.” Becker’s work led directly to the development of “human capital” theory and the economic analysis of discrimination, crime and punishment, marriage and the family, and the formation of habits. His studies have yielded fresh perspectives on the central problems in these areas, as well as new approaches to solving those problems. Becker is the University Professor of Economics and Sociology at the University of Chicago, and the Rose-Marie and Jack R. Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution.