Henry Hazlitt had left the New York Times in an ideological disagreement over post-war economic policy. Once he left, he was free to speak his mind on the important issues of the day, among which the Marshall Plan.
This is his blockbuster argument against the idea of putting post-war Europe on the US dole. He made the case that aid would forestall rather than generate economic recovery. This is the first time this historic and still-powerful book has been available since its publication in 1947.
"L ET US begin by recapitulating the principles and conclusions we have reached so far:
1. As the United States produces only 12 per cent of the world's food supply, it is clear that America cannot feed the whole world.
2. The need for outside help to restore Europe's capital structure has been greatly exaggerated. Its unused resources for creating its own capital are very great.
3. Help from outside to any country goes eventually to relieve the least urgent needs which the government of that country then decides to meet.
4. Food relief and financial help from the United States will be futile unless the country aided discontinues policies which unbalance its trade and discourage or prevent production.
5. As a contribution to revival, the economic policies followed by a country are much more important than any foreign loan.
6. The United States cannot consistently recommend sound policies to foreign governments as a condition for loans, when it is not following such policies itself. It can preach effectively only by example. And it can do more for world revival by making its own economy sound and strong and free than by trying to put temporary props under economies built on the treacherous foundations of totalitarian controls.
7. Inter-governmental loans increase and prolong governmental restrictions on the economy both in the borrowing and in the lending country.
8. The bulk of our past and prospective government "loans" to foreign governments are little better than thinly disguised gifts.
9. It is not true that the United States needs foreign loans to keep full production and employment at home. It is not true that we can get rich by giving our goods away."
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."