The Failure of the "New Economics" (1959) is a book by Henry Hazlitt offering a detailed critique of John Maynard Keynes' work The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money (1936).
Hazlitt embarked on this project because, in his view, although general critiques of Keynes and The General Theory had been made, no critic had completed a detailed, paragraph-by-paragraph, analysis of the work and accordingly followers of Keynes could argue that previous critiques were shallow and did not indicate an understanding of Keynes' revolutionary ideas.
Hazlitt's work represents the most detailed critical analysis of The General Theory ever undertaken from an Austrian perspective.
Economist Ludwig von Mises called it "a devastating criticism of the Keynesian doctrines."
“In the twentieth century, the most influential economist has been John Maynard Keynes, who swept the world of economics like an avalanche in 1936 with his General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, his teachings quickly becoming a new, entrenched economic orthodoxy.
Henry Hazlitt, in this vitally important and desperately needed book, throws down the challenge in a detailed, thoroughgoing refutation of the General Theory.
…Henry Hazlitt, a renowned economic journalist, is a better economist than a whole host of sterile academicians, and, in contrast to many of them, he is distinguished by courage: the courage to remain an “Austrian” in the teeth of the Keynesian holocaust, alongside Mises and F. A. Hayek.
On its merits, this book should conquer the economics profession as rapidly as did Keynes. But whether the currently fashionable economists read and digest this book or not is, in the long run, immaterial; it will be read, and it will destroy the Keynesian System. At the very least, there is now a new generation under thirty-five, to bring this message to fruition.”
- Foreword to The Failure of the New Economics, Murray Rothbard
Henry Stuart Hazlitt (November 28, 1894 – July 9, 1993) was a libertarian philosopher, an economist, and a journalist for various publications including The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, and Newsweek. He was the founding vice-president of the Foundation for Economic Education and an early editor of The Freeman magazine, an important libertarian publication. In 1946 Hazlitt wrote Economics in One Lesson, his seminal text on free market economics, which Ayn Rand referred to as doing a "...magnificent job of theoretical exposition." Hazlitt is credited with bringing his ideas and those of the so-called Austrian School to the American economics scene and his work has influenced the likes of economist Ludwig von Mises, novelist and essayist Ayn Rand, and 2008 Libertarian Party Presidential nominee and congressman, Ron Paul.
Hazlitt was a prolific writer, authoring 25 works in his lifetime.
Ludwig von Mises said at a dinner honoring Hazlitt: "In this age of the great struggle in favor of freedom and the social system in which men can live as free men, you are our leader. You have indefatigably fought against the step-by-step advance of the powers anxious to destroy everything that human civilization has created over a long period of centuries... You are the economic conscience of our country and of our nation."