As promised last week, we will begin a study of simple economic terms that will be aimed at equipping average Joes to perhaps be elevated to Regular Joes. Today would be a good day to simply introduce you to some free resources in order to give you the ability to study at your own pace.
One of my favorite web sites is the Ludwig von Mises Institute (pronounced MEE-zus). However, if you’re unfamiliar with the site, or unfamiliar with Austrian economics, then your first perusal may be a bit daunting or overwhelming. Not to fear. The site has more information than you could exhaust in a month of intensive study. But this is good, for it provides us with an opportunity to work our way through some basics while at the same time offering some more complex thought for those who wish to dig more deeply into the subject.
Once at the site I’d encourage you click on the first tab, “Daily.” From there you can chose what form you’d like to receive their daily blog entries. Some of these can be rather dry. Others you just might not be interested in. But most of them offer challenging thought for us to consider. You don’t have to agree. Sometimes I don’t. And, I surmise that not all of the lecturers agree on all topics. Some of this is subjective. However, the underlying principles are constant. Therefore, the more we listen to those who are attempting to apply Austrian economics to their perspective on life, labor, economics, finances, etc., the more we will learn to think for ourselves in regard to how these all interact and interrelate. So I’d recommend signing up for Mises Daily, whether it’s text, email or audio.
Next I’d encourage you to read the “About” page. There’s no sense in me regurgitating all this valuable information here when you can simply click and read what you’d like to learn. If you have the time to read it, you might sign up for their blog as well. I check in periodically and have a feed that posts the highlights in case I want to read a particular entry.
This brings up a very important point. Don’t overwhelm yourself. It’s very easy to do, especially when you’re interested in something. However, if you get too much too fast you can easily become overwhelmed. Drinking water from a fire hydrant can be incredibly overwhelming. This is why I’m attempting to guide you through small bits at a time. Don’t be worried about saying, “enough” and just stopping or stepping back. Glean what you can from what’s presented. If you’re not getting it now, you will eventually.
With this in mind, let me leave you with this. At the very right of the tab bar you’ll see “Wiki.” This is the Mises Wiki site. Here you’ll find a lot of help with any definitions you need in order to understand whatever it is you’re reading, in terms of economics. Last time we focused on the meaning of capitalism. Here is their definition.
Capitalism is an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market. Modern Capitalism is essentially mass production for the needs of the masses.
In order to make sure I don’t forget, I want to also encourage you to purchase or download this lengthy book, Man, Economy, and State, by Murray N. Rothbard. You could read the writings of Mises, who isn’t terribly difficult to understand. However, if you’re anything like Another Joe, you’ll find Rothbard easier to read and understand. He seems to speak more on the level of the common man rather than the genius, even while conveying ideas on a genius level at times. Human Action by Mises is a pretty decent introduction too (download here), though for us novices my recommendation is Rothbard.
This seems like a good start for our journey. You have a few tools now that you can work with. We’ll be referring to these two books once in a while I”m sure. As often as I can, I’ll try to use current events to help us apply knowledge. This is one of the best methods for teaching us how to think. And I’ll stagger these entries a little, so as to leave enough time in between them for you to take a break or catch up. I’ll be having my regular entries peppered throughout as well, which will keep me from being able to post every day.
Enjoy the reading and make any comments you can below. It’d be excellent if we could get some dialogue going on these topics to help each other think through the issues at hand.
Thanks for reading.