Murray Rothbard

Murray Rothbard
août 28
18:13 2017

Murray Rothbard (1926-1995).

. Man, Economy and the State (1962).


Traduit en français : L’homme, l’économie et l’état (2007)


Murray N. Rothbard’s great treatise Man, Economy, and State and its complementary text Power and Market, are here combined into a single edition as they were written to be. It provides a sweeping presentation of Austrian economic theory, a reconstruction of many aspects of that theory, a rigorous criticism of alternative schools, and an inspiring look at a science of liberty that concerns nearly everything and should concern everyone.


From Rothbard, we learn that economics is the science that deals with the rise and fall of civilization, the advancement and retrenchment of human development, the feeding and healing of the multitudes, and the question of whether human affairs are dominated by cooperation or violence.


Economics in Rothbard’s wonderful book emerges as the beautiful logic of that underlies human action in a world of scarcity, the lens on how exchange makes it possible for people to cooperate toward their mutual betterment. We see how money facilitates this, and allows for calculation over time that permits capital to expand and investment to take place. We see how entrepreneurship, based on real judgments and risk taking, is the driving force of the market.

. Ethics of Liberty (1982).


Traduit en français : L’éthique de la liberté (1991)


Murray Rothbard’s greatest contribution to the politics of freedom is back in print. Following up on Mises’s demonstration that a society without private property degenerates into economic chaos, Rothbard shows that every interference with property represents a violent and unethical invasion that diminishes liberty and prosperity.


First published in 1982, The Ethics of Liberty is a masterpiece of argumentation, and shockingly radical in its conclusions. Rothbard says that the very existence of the state — the entity with a monopoly privilege to invade private property — is contrary to the ethics of liberty. A society without a state is not only viable; it is the only one consistent with natural rights.

When it first appeared, the book was ignored by the scholarly world. Robert Nozick’s treatise, taking a much softer view, was heralded instead. Nozick has since moved on to social democracy. Meanwhile, Rothbard’s primary philosophical work went out of print and then virtually disappeared. Foreign-language editions have appeared, but the English version was unavailable.


But times have changed. For believers in liberty, Rothbard is an invaluable intellectual asset. At last, his most rigorous argument is available again, and in the stirring prose he is famous for.

In this volume, Rothbard first familiarizes the reader with Natural Law theory. After this ethical introduction, he goes on to address numerous ethical issues, showing how liberty is in the right in every case. In the final two sections, Rothbard enumerates the state’s role in society as inherently anti-liberty, and details the structure of alternate theories of liberty.


Il a fallu attendre Murray Rothbard et son livre Man, Economy and the State (with Power of Market) (1962) pour que la notion de « pouvoir d’achat » d’Irving Fisher (1911) soit en partiedémythifiée dans la section intitulée « The Fallacy of Equation of Exchange ».
« 13. The Fallacy of the Equation of Exchange

The basis on which we have been explaining the purchasing power of money and the changes in and consequences of mone­tary phenomena has been an analysis of individual action.
The behavior of aggregates, such as the aggregate demand for money and aggregate supply, has been constructed out of their indi­vidual components. In this way, monetary theory has been inte­grated into general economics.

Monetary theory in American eco­nomics, however (apart from the Keynesian system, which we dis­cuss elsewhere), has been presented in entirely different terms—in the quasi-mathematical, holistic equation of exchange, derived especially from Irving Fisher.
The prevalence of this fallacious approach makes a detailed critique worthwhile.

The classic exposition of the equation of exchange was in Irving Fisher’s Purchasing Power of Money.[…]

Fisher describes the chief purpose of his work as that of investigating “the causes determin­ing the purchasing power of money.” […]

but then comes this flagrant non sequitur:
“In short, the purchasing power of money is the reciprocal of the level of prices; so that the study of the purchasing power of money is identical with the study of price levels.”[…]

From then on, Fisher proceeds to investigate the causes of the “price level” […] » (Rothbard, op.cit. §13).

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