Book Hints

A selective mention of books received for review


Freedom House has released its annual yearbook, Freedom in the World—1982, edited by Raymond D. Gastil (1982, 379 pp., $35.00). It presents the results of a survey of civil and economic freedoms throughout the world. In addition to its country surveys and ratings, the 1982 edition presents several essays that emphasize economic freedom and its relationship to political freedom, economic growth, and development.

Also of interest to students of comparative economic systems is Steven Cheung's monograph, Will China Go Capitalist? (London: Institute of Economic Affairs, 1982, 63 pp., distr. by Transatlantic Arts, Albuquerque, N.M., $5.95 paper). Cheung argues that although China may never become officially "capitalist," it will eventually adopt a structure of private property rights that would function as in capitalism.

A look at the Soviet economy by Marshall Goldman, associate director of the Russian Research Center at Harvard, is more pessimistic about the prospects for change. In U.S.S.R. in Crisis: The Failure of an Economic System (New York: W.W. Norton, 1983, 210 pp., $15.00), Goldman demonstrates that the Soviet Union continues to adhere to a planning model set forth by Stalin in the 1920s and wholly inappropriate to current economic conditions. The result has been economic disaster for the Soviet Union.

On a different note, it is refreshing to see several academic texts that present the case for free markets and individual freedom. In Public Policy: Issues, Analysis, and Ideology (Chatham, N.J.: Chatham House, 1982, 310 pp., $8.95 paper), editors Ellen Paul and Philip Russo, Jr., recognize that public-policy analysis is not a neutral, objective task but that values are an integral part of such analysis. Their compiled essays cover a variety of public-policy issues presenting extremely divergent opinions. Included in that variety are essays by a number of staunch advocates of individual liberty and free markets such as Murray Rothbard, Tibor Machan, Thomas Sowell, and F.A. Hayek.

In Economic Development: Theory, Policy and International Relations (New York: Basic Books, 1982, 452 pp., $20.00), Ian M.D. Little discusses the limitations of ambitious government planning and external assistance in promoting development and provides a favorable reassessment of the working of markets. Another work directed mainly at academic audiences is Philosophical and Economic Foundations of Capitalism, edited by Svetozar Pejovich (Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books, 1983, 144 pp., $19.95) and consisting of a series of essays first presented at a Liberty Fund conference.

For those interested in philosophical debates prior to and immediately following the American Revolution, Liberty Press has published a two-volume set, American Political Writings During the Founding Era: 1760–1805 (Indianapolis, 1983, 1,417 pp., $28.50/$13.50). The editors, Charles Hyneman and Donald Lutz, have compiled 76 essays thought to represent the best writings of the founding era on the conception and establishment of republican government in America.

Education continues to be the focus of intense controversy and interest. Two recent publications present compelling evidence challenging myths surrounding private education. Inner-City Private Elementary Schools: A Study, by James G. Cibulka, Timothy J. O'Brien, and Donald Zewe (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 1982, 225 pp., $11.95 paper) and Catholic High Schools and Minority Students, by Andrew M. Greeley (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Books, 1982, 125 pp., $14.95) present vital new statistics on the growing role of nonpublic schools in providing educational opportunities, particularly in urban settings. Far from educating only the economic elite, private and parochial schools increasingly constitute the best route to upward social mobility for society's underprivileged. The authors convincingly demonstrate that poor and minority parents are willing to make enormous sacrifices to achieve quality education for their children.

As an ending note, a couple of monographs deserve mention. Roads and the Private Sector, edited by Eamonn Butler, analyzes a series of proposals to introduce private capital into road construction to provide an efficient road system (London: Adam Smith Institute, 1982, 102 pp., 2.4 pounds, paper). Transport Without Politics, by John Hibbs (Lancing, England: Institute of Economic Affairs, 1982, 95 pp., distributed by Transatlantic Arts, Albuquerque, N.M., $9.25 paper), analyzes the scope for competitive markets in road, air, and rail transport. Private Rights and Public Lands, edited by Phillip Truluck, combines works by a number of authors who look at the difference between public and private ownership of lands, assess the philosophical and legal implications of federal ownership, and present strategies for privatizing energy, wilderness, forestland, and rangeland resources (Washington, D.C.: Heritage Foundation, 1983, 95 pp., $4.00 paper).