It becomes more and more apparent the more that Bernie Sanders opens his mouth, or his twitter account, that he is in dire need of an economics lesson. The man has been alive 74 years and he still hasn’t figured out how the American economy works. He seems to forget that capitalism makes the world go round. The man needs to read a book, and luckily for him, there are a ton of great economics books that could help right what he is clearly getting wrong. Here are a selected 12 books that would help Bernie wrap his head around this crazy thing called “economics”
1. Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman
How can we benefit from the promise of government while avoiding the threat it poses to individual freedom? In this classic book, Milton Friedman provides the definitive statement of his immensely influential economic philosophy—one in which competitive capitalism serves as both a device for achieving economic freedom and a necessary condition for political freedom. The result is an accessible text that has sold well over half a million copies in English, has been translated into eighteen languages, and shows every sign of becoming more and more influential as time goes on.
2. The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek
An unimpeachable classic work in political philosophy, intellectual and cultural history, and economics, The Road to Serfdom has inspired and infuriated politicians, scholars, and general readers for half a century. Originally published in 1944—when Eleanor Roosevelt supported the efforts of Stalin, and Albert Einstein subscribed lock, stock, and barrel to the socialist program—The Road to Serfdom was seen as heretical for its passionate warning against the dangers of state control over the means of production. For F. A. Hayek, the collectivist idea of empowering government with increasing economic control would lead not to a utopia but to the horrors of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
3. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations was recognized as a landmark of human thought upon its publication in 1776. As the first scientific argument for the principles of political economy, it is the point of departure for all subsequent economic thought. Smith’s theories of capital accumulation, growth, and secular change, among others, continue to be influential in modern economics.
4. How Capitalism Saved America by Thomas Dilorenzo
The anticapitalist arguments are pure bunk, as Thomas J. DiLorenzo reveals in How Capitalism Saved America. DiLorenzo, a professor of economics, shows how capitalism has made America the most prosperous nation on earth—and how the sort of government regulation that politicians and pundits endorse has hindered economic growth, caused higher unemployment, raised prices, and created many other problems. He propels the reader along with a fresh and compelling look at critical events in American history—covering everything from the Pilgrims to Bill Gates.
5. A History of Money and Banking in the United States by Murray Rothbard
In what is sure to become the standard account, Rothbard traces inflations, banking panics, and money meltdowns from the Colonial Period through the mid-20th century to show how government’s systematic war on sound money is the hidden force behind nearly all major economic calamities in American history.
6. Human Action by Ludwig von Mises
“Human Action: A Treatise on Economics” is the first comprehensive treatise on economics written by a leading member of the modern Austrian school of economics. Von Mises contribution was very simple, yet at the same time extremely profound: he pointed out that the whole economy is the result of what individuals do. Individuals act, choose, cooperate, compete, and trade with one another. In this way Mises explained how complex market phenomena develop. Mises did not simply describe economic phenomena – prices, wages, interest rates, money, monopoly and even the trade cycle – he explained them as the outcomes of countless conscious, purposive actions, choices, and preferences of individuals, each of whom was trying as best as he or she could under the circumstances to attain various wants and ends and to avoid undesired consequences. Hence the title Mises chose for his economic treatise, “Human Action.”
7. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
Considered among the leading economic thinkers of the “Austrian School,” which includes Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich (F.A.) Hayek, and others, Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993), was a libertarian philosopher, an economist, and a journalist. He was the founding vice-president of the Foundation for Economic Education and an early editor of The Freeman magazine, an influential libertarian publication. Hazlitt wrote Economics in One Lesson, his seminal work, in 1946. Concise and instructive, it is also deceptively prescient and far-reaching in its efforts to dissemble economic fallacies that are so prevalent they have almost become a new orthodoxy.
8. The Power of Economic Thinking by Mark Skousen
“The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else.” – John Maynard Keynes
When Keynes wrote these famous worlds in 1936, he never realized how far the new frontiers of economics would reach. He had no idea that today economists would be accurately predicting the outcome of national elections, telling investors to reduce their risk and maximize their returns through stock index funds, showing legislators how they could reduce crime by offering concealed weapon permits, or cleaning up the environment by auctioning off pollution permits.
9. Two Lucky People by Milton and Rose Friedman
“This engaging book recounts the life and contributions of one of America’s most influential writers and economists in the second half of the twentieth century. And her husband’s no slouch either. . . . An indispensable guide through the evolution of economic thought.”–Stephen Moore, National Review
10. In Defense of Global Capitalism by Johan Norberg
Marshalling facts and the latest research findings, the author systematically refutes the adversaries of globalization, markets, and progress. This book will change the debate on globalization in this country and make believers of skeptics.
11. The End of Prosperity by Steve Moore and Arthur Laffer
On the eve of a critical presidential election, Laffer, Moore, and Tanous provide the factual information every American needs in order to understand exactly how we achieved the prosperity many people have come to take for granted, and explain how the policies of Democrats Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Nancy Pelosi can cause America to lose its status as the world’s growth and job creation machine.
The End of Prosperity is essential reading for all Americans who value our nation’s free enterprise system and high standard of living, and want to know how to protect their own investments in the coming storm.
12. Liberty vs The Tyranny of Socialism: Controversial Essays by Dr. Walter Williams
In this selected collection of his syndicated newspaper columns, Walter Williams offers his sometimes controversial views on education, health, the environment, government, law and society, race, and a range of other topics. Although many of these essays focus on the growth of government and our loss of liberty, many others demonstrate how the tools of freemarket economics can be used to improve our lives in ways ordinary people can understand.
If you want another leg up over the liberals in your life, and Bernie Sanders, all of these books are available on Amazon and through other major book retailers.