An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought - 2 Volumes

By Murray N. Rothbard
Economic Thought Before Adam Smith,
Volume 1: 8.5 x 11 inches, 572 pages. Large Print.
Purchase at CreateSpace or Amazon for $25 $18.
Classical Economics
Volume 2: 8.5 x 11 inches, 544 pages. Large Print.
Purchase at CreateSpace or Amazon for $25 $18.
Free electronic versions found at
Here is the last masterpiece by Murray N. Rothbard (1926-1995), the result of a lifetime of research and his crowning achievement.

Volume 1
This volume is the most extensive treatment from a modern Austrian perspective of the history of economic thought up to Adam Smith and, as such, takes into account the profound influences of religious, social, and political thought upon economics.

Murray Rothbard traces economic ideas from ancient sources and shows that laissez-faire liberalism and economic thought itself began with the scholastics and early Roman and canon law. The scholastics, he argues, established and developed the subjective utility and scarcity theory of value, as well as the theory that prices, or the value of money, depend on its supply and demand.

The Continental, or "pre-Austrian" tradition, was destroyed, rather than developed, by Adam Smith whose strong Calvinist tendencies toward glorifying labor, toil, and thrift is contrasted with emphasis in scholastic economic thought towards labor in the service of consumption.

Tracing economic thought from the Greeks to the Scottish enlightenment, this book is notable for its inclusion of all of the important figures in each school of thought with their theories assessed in historical context.

Volume 2
This volume is the first comprehensive treatment of classical economics from a modern Austrian perspective, an important history of nineteenth-century economic thought that discusses the key members of each school and reassesses their work.

Professor Rothbard's approach offers new perspectives on both Ricardo and Say and their followers. He suggests that Ricardianism declined after 1820 and was only revived with the work of John Stuart Mill. The book also resurrects the important Anglo-Irish school of thought at Trinity College, Dublin under Archbishop Richard Whatley. Later chapters focus on the roots of Karl Marx and the nature of his doctrines, and laissez-faire thought in France including the work of Frederic Bastiat.

Also included is a comprehensive treatment of the bullionist versus the anti-bullionist and the currency versus banking school controversies in the first half of the nineteenth century, and their influence outside Great Britain.