Considered among the leading economic thinkers of the twentieth century, American financial journalist and writer Henry Stuart Hazlitt is perhaps best known for introducing the ideas of the Austrian School of economics to American thought. Through both his prolific literary career and editorial reviews of the revolutionary works of leading economists including Ludwig Von Mises and F.A. Hayek, Hazlitt made the fundamentals of of economics accessible to the expert and layperson alike.
Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Hazlitt worked as a financial and literary editor for a number of newspapers and magazines headquartered in Manhattan. He served as the principle editorial writer on finance and economics for The New York Times from 1934 to 1946 and wrote the signed column “Business Tides” which appeared in Newsweek from 1946 to 1966.
He later served as the editor-in-chief for the early free market publication The Freeman, widely considered to be an important forerunner to the conservative National Review (founded by William F. Buckley, Jr. in 1955) and created the oldest free-market think tank in the United States, the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), along with fellow economists Leonard E. Read and Donaldson Brown.
Unlike many other writers of his generation from the political right who considered communist and socialist ideals at some point in their development, Hazlitt never strayed from his classical liberal political views. A prolific writer, he authored twenty five works in his lifetime. His first book, Thinking as A Science was published in 1916 when he was only 21 years old. Heavily influenced by the work of Ludwig Von Mises who argued the case for pure laissez-faire capitalism, Hazlitt’s best-known work, Economics in One Lesson served as an introduction or free market economics for the American layperson, advocating for free trade and opposing price controls and stimulative government expenditures.
Published in 1946, Economics in One Lesson has been called Hazlitt’s “most enduring contribution” to economic theory with over one million copies sold and translations published in ten languages. Considered an “enduring classic” in conservative, free market and libertarian circles, the book received the highest praises from Hazlitt’s contemporaries. Ayn Rand called the work a “magnificent job of theoretical exposition”; F.A. Hayek said of it: “It is a brilliant performance. It says precisely the things which need most saying and says them with a rare courage and integrity”, and The Von Mises Institute referred to it as “…a brilliant and pithy work first published in 1946, at a time of rampant statism at home and abroad, it taught millions the bad consequences of putting government in charge of economic life. College students across America and the world still use it and learn from it. It may be the most popular economics text ever written.”
Hazlitt additionally published three works entirely dedicated to the subject of inflation, including his “masterpiece on money”, The Inflation Crisis, And How To Resolve it. Throughout the text, he argued the cause and effect of business cycles to be entirely dependent on the government’s power to print and the necessity of to revoking it.
As fellow journalist H.L. Mencken said, Henry Hazlitt was the only economist of his generation who could really write. 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. Our collection currently includes his most notable works as listed above in addition to a broad variety or rare landmark books in economic thought and theory.