Book Hints

A selective mention of books received for review


We are pleased to note the publication of new editions of some free-market classics. New York University Press has brought out a new translation, by James Dingwall and Bert F. Hoselitz and with an introduction by Friedrich A. Hayek, of Carl Menger's Principles of Economics (New York: 1981, 320 pp., $20.00/$7.00). The publication of this book in 1871 is said to have launched the Austrian school of economics. Available from the same publisher is a new edition, translated by George Reisman, of Ludwig von Mises's 1933 Epistemological Problems of Economics (1981, 231 pp., $20.00/$7.00).

A new edition of von Mises's 1934 Theory of Money and Credit comes to us from LibertyClassics (Indianapolis, 1981, 526 pp., $11.00/$5.00), with a specially written foreword by a student of Mises and an influential figure in his own right, Murray N. Rothbard. Another book dealing with money is by Henry Mark Holzer, a gold-money advocate (and, incidentally, one of the attorneys for Walter Polovchak, the Russian boy seeking to stay in America against his parents' wishes). In Government's Money Monopoly (New York: Books In Focus, 1981, 223 pp., $19.95), Holzer recounts how and why the monetary system became a government monopoly.

On the private side of things, Robert Hessen of the Hoover Institution is the editor of an important collection of essays, Does Big Business Rule America? (Washington, D.C.: Ethics and Public Policy Center, 1981, 74 pp., $3.00), rebutting the interventionist recommendations of Charles E. Lindblom's Politics and Markets. President Reagan's budget director, David Stockman, authored the last chapter, "How the Market Outwits the Planners."

A more literary work on the Big Business theme is engineer-writer Samuel C. Florman's Blaming Technology: The Irrational Search for Scapegoats (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1981, 198 pp., $12.95). Many of the chapters first appeared as essays in Harper's, and the tenor of the book may be gleaned by one chapter heading, "Small Is Dubious."

A definitely unusual jump into philosophy, via science fiction, is Thought Probes, by Fred D. Miller, Jr., and Nicholas D. Smith (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1981, 358 pp., $11.95). Miller and Smith pose eight philosophical questions—such as "Does God exist?" and "Can you know what is right or wrong?"—and then present for each a short science fiction story that makes the problem come alive. The stories are followed by analyses of the problems from a philosophical perspective, such as an excerpt from Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia in the social ethics chapter, and a set of probing questions from the editors.

Other new books, by REASON contributors: The Romantic Love Question and Answer Book, by Nathaniel Branden and E. Devers Branden (Los Angeles: J.P. Tarcher, 1981, 260 pp., $11.95); The Graves of Academe, by Language columnist Richard N. Mitchell (Boston: Little, Brown, 1981, 229 pp., $11.95), as well as a paperback edition of his Less Than Words Can Say (1981, 228 pp., $5.95); Is Public Education Necessary? by Samuel L. Blumenfeld (Old Greenwich, Conn.: Devin-Adair, 1981, 257 pp., $12.95); Contract as Promise: A Theory of Contractual Obligation, by Charles Fried (Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Press, 1981, 156 pp., $14.00); Enterprise Zones: Greenlining the Inner Cities, by Stuart M. Butler (New York: Universe Books, 1981, 168 pp., $12.95); and by Oscar Newman, the urban planner whose work inspired our article on the private streets of St. Louis (Aug.), a novel called Unmasking a King (New York: MacMillan, 1981, 297 pp., $11.95).