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The ISI Experience

Understanding and Defending True Economic Liberty

Since our economic crisis began, the attacks on income inequality, corporate power, and the capitalist system in general have grown louder and fiercer. The condemnations have come not just from protest rallies but from Congress and the White House itself.

Whether these folks know it or not, their critique of capitalistic inequality sounds a lot like the boilerplate socialistic rhetoric that was common before the Berlin Wall came down in 1989. Could it be that socialism—or such milder labels as statism or corporatism—is making a comeback in America?

For those dedicated to the advancement of economic liberty, now is the time for a vigorous rearticulation of the principles of a true free-market economy. But what exactly does that mean, especially these days in the wake of billion-dollar government bailouts of banks, airlines, and automakers? Is that the workings of a free market, or the kind of crony capitalism that deserves the scorn of Americans on the both the Right and the Left?

This month, ISI provides much-needed answers to these pressing questions by highlighting some of the best economic thinking from our extensive library of liberty. We begin with Ludwig von Mises and his classic "Capitalism vs. Socialism," where the great Austrian economist lays out the key differences between a planned and a consumer-oriented economy. Next is a piece by ISI scholar Steven Hayward on the fortieth anniversary of Friedrich Hayek's seminal Road to Serfdom, which continues to remind its readers of the grave dangers socialist thought poses to the spirit of liberty. In our video selection, best-selling ISI author Thomas E. Woods Jr. makes a powerful case for the vital connection between economic liberty, prosperity, and individual virtue cultivated by religious community. Finally, we end with two chapters from ISI Books' recent offering Back on the Road to Serfdom: one by noted journalist Tim Carney on modern manifestations of crony capitalism, the other by economic historian Brian Domitrovic on that fateful year of 1913, when the federal government was given the tools of modern economic planning—the income tax and the Federal Reserve Board.

We hope you enjoy this month's selections. The fate of economic liberty is in your hands.