In Principles of Politics, first published in 1815, Constant explores the subjects of law, sovereignty, and representation; power and accountability; government, property, and taxation; wealth and poverty; war, peace, and the maintenance of public order; and freedom, of the individual, of the press, and of religion.
Raoul Berger was the foremost scholar of constitutional law to defend the doctrine of originalism in our day. His works Impeachment, Executive Privilege, and Government by Judiciary set the standards for subsequent work in the field of constitutional interpretation and influenced both expert and public opinion during some of the worst constitutional crises of the late twentieth century. In this program, Berger’s thought is set in the context of his long and rich life from his earliest days as a young Russian emigre in Chicago, to his first career in music, and his eventual fascination with the legal underpinnings of a free society. Combining original footage of his life, his personal reflections, and commentary, Liberty Fund presents a Profile in Liberty: Raoul Berger.
The twentieth century witnessed the unparalleled expansion of government power over the lives and livelihoods of individuals. Much of this was the result of two devastating world wars and totalitarian ideologies that directly challenged individual liberty and the free institutions of the open society. Other forms of expansion in the provision of social welfare and the regulation of the economy, while more benign in their objectives, nevertheless posed significant challenges to personal freedom. Few individuals did more to both extend our understanding of the economic processes of the free society and alert us to the dangers inherent in the growth of political power than the Nobel laureate economist and social theorist Friedrich A. Hayek. In over half a century of writing and teaching, he showed why national socialism was the very antithesis of capitalism, why communism was an economic and political philosophy ultimately doomed to failure, and why we must be wary of government intervention if we are to preserve the freedoms that make democracy and prosperity possible.
Since 1970, Antonio Martino has authored 13 books and more than 150 papers and articles on economic theory and policy. This modern collection of writings is from Martino’s practical and theoretical perspective, as he has personally encountered many of the economic and political issues presented in these essays.
Public Finance in Democratic Process is James M. Buchanan’s monumental work that outlines the dynamics of individual choice as it is displayed in the process of public finance.
Public Principles of Public Debt is one of James M. Buchanan’s most important and influential books. The radical idea he conceived was that our reliance on public debt has amassed a sort of orthodoxy that is commonly—and needlessly—assumed by taxpayers, by politicians, and by economists themselves.
First published in 1941, The Pure Theory of Capital has long been overlooked. This volume offers a detailed account of the equilibrium relationships between inputs and outputs in a time-filled economy. Hayek’s stated objective was to make capital theory—which had previously been devoted almost entirely to the explanation of interest rates—“useful for the analysis of the monetary phenomena of the real world.” His ambitious goal was nothing less than to develop a capital theory that could be fully integrated into business cycle theory. Hayek’s manifesto of capital theory is now available again for today’s students and economists to discover.
This is the final volume in Jouvenel’s magnum opus, the trilogy that begins with On Power, moves to Sovereignty, and concludes with The Pure Theory of Politics. In this volume, Bertrand de Jouvenel proposes to remedy a serious deficiency in political science: “the lack of agreement on first principles, or ‘elements.’” The author’s concern is with political processes as they actually exist, not as they are conjectured to be in hypothetical models.
By examining the thought of four seminal thinkers, Shirley Robin Letwin in The Pursuit of Certainty provides a brilliant record of the gradual change in the English-speaking peoples’ understanding of “what sort of activity politics is.” As Letwin writes, “the distinctive political issue since the eighteenth century has been whether government should do more or less.” Nor, as many historians argue, did this issue arise because of the Industrial Revolution or “new social conditions [that] aggravated the problem of poverty” but, Letwin believes, because of the “profoundly personal reflection” of major thinkers, including Hume, Bentham, Mill, and Webb. David Hume, for example, believed that to “reach for perfection, to seek an ideal, is noble, but dangerous, and is therefore an activity that individuals or voluntary groups may pursue, but governments certainly should not.”
Forty years after its original publication, Liberty Fund brings back to print Henry Veatch’s path-breaking popular presentation of virtue ethics. This modern interpretation of Aristotelian ethics is a natural for undergraduate philosophy courses. It is also an engaging work for the expert and the beginner alike, offering a middle ground between existential and analytic ethics.
The Rationale of Central Banking was first published in England in 1936. Vera Smith spent her professional career in a variety of research positions. She wrote articles and books on money, banking, economic development, and the labor market and translated into English books by Wilhelm Röpke, Oskar Morgenstern, and Fritz Machlup.
Rationalism in Politics established the late Michael Oakeshott as the leading conservative political theorist in modern Britain. This expanded collection of essays astutely points out the limits of “reason” in rationalist politics and criticizes ideological schemes to reform society according to supposedly “scientific” or rationalistic principles that ignore the wealth and variety of human experience.