Henry Hazlitt was not mainly a theoretician. He was a financial journalist, commentator, and interpreter of current events. In this sense, he was one of a kind: a learned economist with both feet in the real world of politics, financial markets, and the economics of everyday life.
The Inflation Crisis and How to Resolve It , newly in print in hardcover at a low price, is his masterpiece on money. The book reappears just in time: we are in the midst of an inflation crisis even if the effects are not yet fully felt.
By inflation, he didn’t mean rising prices. He meant the tendency of government and the central bank to print money in pursuit of prosperity. In this sense, no book could be more directly related to our own times, as Bernanke and Company use and abuse the power of the Fed as never before.
He begins with an overview of what inflation is and covers the abysmal record of government money management. He clearly explains the cause and effect: first comes the printing and then come the business cycles and price increases. He explains that the only real cure for all of the effects is to treat the cause: end the government’s power to print. For this reason, Hazlitt favors a gold standard.
From a reader point of view, Hazlitt’s book is pure pleasure. As Mencken said of him, he was the only economist of his generation who could really write. He is clear as a bell, and why? Because he had a passion for explaining economics to every living person. He did not think that economics should be left to the academy or to investment firms.
This book came out in 1978 and it’s been thirty years out of print. It is one that the Mises Institute wanted to have in print for many years, and it is an event to celebrate that it is finally here, in a beautiful edition at a rock-bottom price.
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."