This is my archive
Self Help; with Illustrations of Character and Conduct
An early Victorian self-help book for ordinary people - Smiles combines Victorian morality with sound free market ideas into moral tales showing the benefits of thrift, hard work, education, perseverance, and a sound moral character. He drew upon the personal success stories of the emerging self-made millionaires in the pottery industry (Josiah Wedgwood), the railway industry (Watt and Stephenson), and the weaving industry (Jacquard) to make his point that the benefits of the market were open to anyone.
The Commonsense of Political Economy
Contemporaneously with, though slightly following, Marshall, this book was one of the first “modern” textbooks leading from the 19th into the 20th century. Wicksteed substantively furthered the work of John Bates Clark on marginal productivity theory. Although Marshall’s Principles generally receives more attention, Wicksteed’s explanations are sometimes clearer, more precise, and more modern.
The Freedom of the Seas (Latin and English version, Magoffin trans.)
This edition of Grotius’ defence of the right of all nations (especially the Dutch) to use the international sea lanes for trade, was published during World War One by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace as part of their International Law series. It is interesting because it has the Latin and English translation on facing pages (best viewed in the facsimile PDF version).
Outlines of an historical view of the progress of the human mind
Condorcet wrote this while in prison awaiting execution by the Jacobins. It is an optimistic view of the progress the human race will undergo when political and economic liberty are gradually introduced.
An Elegant and Learned Discourse of the Light of Nature
An Elegant and Learned Discourse of the Light of Nature is a concerted effort to find a middle way between the two extremes that dominated the religious dispute of the English civil war in the seventeenth century. At one extreme end of the spectrum was the antinomian assertion that the elect were redeemed by God’s free grace and thereby free from ordinary moral obligations. At the other end of the spectrum was the Arminian rejection of predestination and assertion that Christ died for all, not just for the elect. Faced with the violence of these disputes, Nathaniel Culverwell attempted a moderate defense of reason and natural law, arguing, in the words of Robert Greene, that “reason and faith are distinct lights, yet they are not opposed; they are complementary and harmonious. Reason is the image of God in man, and to deny right reason is to deny our relation to God.”
Pictures of the Socialistic Future
Pictures of the Socialistic Future is Richter’s satire of what would happen to Germany if the socialism espoused by the trade unionists, social democrats, and Marxists was actually put into practice. It is thus a late 19th century version of Orwell’s 1984, minus the extreme totalitarianism which Orwell had witnessed in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia but which was still inconceivable to 19th century liberals. The main point of the book is to show that government ownership of the means of production and centralised planning of the economy would not lead to abundance as the socialists predicted would happen when capitalist “inefficiency and waste” were “abolished”. The problem of incentives in the absence of profits, the free rider problem, the public choice insight about the vested interests of bureaucrats and politicians, the connection between economic liberty and political liberty, were all wittily addressed by Richter, much to the annoyance of his socialist opponents.