5 Books For Your Consideration Before the 2016 Elections

With all the online buzz regarding the 2016 presidential elections here in the Philippines, I've decided to shift the focus of my content on sharing sources of information instead of adding to the bickering and drama in their game of thrones. For this specific post, I chose books that I hope could provide the same interest in rethinking our concepts of governance and public policy. This selection of 5 in no particular order, I believe, show a great deal of where my writings in this blog are coming from and hopefully provide the same kind of enlightenment for you.

1. Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt


This book starts with questioning popular economic beliefs from that of an average person's perceptions even to the fundamentals of what most economic scholars have been taught and practice. It all begins with a narrative about a broken window and then delves into the world of government policies in taxation, trade, and other matters. Many of the proposals may seem off or controversial but it asks that we consider not just what is seen or apparent but also the unseen or unintended consequences of public policies. 

Full website version (and PDF / audiobook download) available here via FEE.org: http://fee.org/resources/economics-in-one-lesson-2/

2. How An Economy Grows And Why It Crashes by Peter Schiff


If you find the previous book daunting, this one (although not as comprehensive), is simplified in a comical narrative. So simple, in fact, that the story starts with the life of Able, Baker, and Charlie who lived on an island. Being that the author is known for predicting the financial crisis of 2007-2008 (see Peter Schiff Was Right), the story evolves from comical analogies of how a market economy works to a satirical portrayal of how the recession came to be. This is usually a first among my recommendations as the illustrations and the story itself is entertaining and is easy to consume.


3. Choice in Currency by F. A. Hayek



This critique of the government's monopoly on money was written by Nobel laureate F. A. Hayek in 1976. His point, though, is not to promote one single specific type of currency but instead to take away government monopoly on money. If the government's fiat currency (ie. the US dollar) is truly valuable, then why not allow it to compete in a marketplace? Historically, gold and other precious metals have been known to be a practical and valuable currency. Also, as disruptive technologies like Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies emerge, I believe that the concept of people's choice in currency is becoming easier to grasp. It's a good introduction in sparking interest on what the role of government or central banks should be with people's choice (or lack thereof) in money.

Full PDF, EPUB, and HTML available here: https://mises.org/library/choice-currency-0


3. The Anti-Capitalistic Mentality by Ludwig Von Mises



There are many critiques of "free market" capitalism aside from the Marxist's perspective. Ludwig Von Mises looks at different angles and critiques of capitalism as seen by many, especially by many intellectuals and scholars. He takes on not just political philosophies but also moral arguments against free and voluntary exchange. Most importantly, he shows what "free market capitalism" is and what it is not. He provides arguments and evidence that you may find interesting. It is also noteworthy that I used to have many criticisms of capitalism too but this book helped me understand that  most of what I actually objected to are the effects of a centrally-planned market economy and not the capitalism Mises advocated. It's a very interesting read that I highly recommend.

Full PDF and Epub Available here: https://mises.org/library/anti-capitalistic-mentality

4. Defending the Undefendable by Dr. Walter Block


Yet another controversial piece, Dr. Walter Block takes on "victimless crimes" or acts that don't necessarily interfere with the liberties or properties of others (many attribute this to the Non-Aggression Principle). Many see these controversial acts or practices as moral pretext to place limits on people's civil liberties, especially when the acts are placed in contexts where there are, in fact, victim/s and coercion. Yes, this book will raise many eyebrows and you may not necessarily agree with all acts defended but there are many sound arguments that are worth reading to see a different perspective.

PDF, Epub, and audiobook available here: https://mises.org/library/defending-undefendable

5. A Foreign Policy of Freedom by Ron Paul


In Ron Paul's consistent attempt to uphold the US founders' advise to trade with nations and avoid entangling alliances, this book contains his speeches in the US congress about important foreign policy decisions from 1976 to 2006. Often regarded as isolationist, his statements, documented in this book, from the death of Mao Tse-Tung to dealing with Iran in 2006 show the wisdom of non-interventionist foreign policy. He has often warned that even intervention, whether monetary aid or actual deployment of troops, lead to what the CIA refers to as "blowback" or unintended consequences. Definitely worth the read especially as the tension among entangling alliances in the middle east (not just of the US) are resulting in more hatred and violence. 

PDF and Epub available here: https://mises.org/library/foreign-policy-freedom



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