The Making of Modern Economics Wins 2009 Choice Award

My book The Making of Modern Economics has just won the Choice Book Award for Outstanding Academic Title for 2009. Choice is the reviewing journal for academic libraries. I was delighted by this surprise announcement, especially for a 2nd edition!

Winner of 2009 Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title

Winner of 2009 Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title

Some of the unique characteristics of The Making of Modern Economics:

1. A major critique of Karl Marx’s theories of capitalism, labor, imperialism and exploitation, and why most of his predictions have utterly failed. (Many former Marxists report that that this chapter alone converted them to the free market.)
2. Two chapters on Keynes and Keynesian economics, what one economist has called “the most devastating critique of Keynesian economics ever written.”
3. Five full chapters on the Austrian and Chicago schools of free-market economics. It is the only one-volume history of economics written by a free-market economist (all previous histories had been written by socialists, Keynesians and Marxists).
4. How Keynes saved capitalism — from Marxism!
5. Over 100 illustrations, portraits, and photographs.
6. Provocative sidebars, humorous anecdotes, even musical selections reflecting the spirit of each major economist.

Choice Review: “With a supreme, lively blend of economics and sociology, Skousen has magnificently managed to put flesh, blood, and DNA on the skeleton of economics in this survey of great economic thinkers. This new work is must reading for economists who want to acquire professional depth and richness. Essential. All economics collections and all levels of readers.”

Description: Here is a bold, updated history of economics–the dramatic story of how the great economic thinkers built today’s rigorous social science. Noted financial writer and economist Mark Skousen has revised this popular work to provide more material on Adam Smith, Marx, and Keynes, and expanded coverage of Joseph Stiglitz, “imperfect” markets, the financial crisis of 2008, and behavioral economics.

Available in hardback and paperback on Amazon.com.

Other quotes about The Making of Modern Economics:

“Mark’s book is fun to read on every page. I have read it three times, and listened to it on audio tape on my summer hike. It deserves to stay in print for many decades. I love this book and have recommended it to dozens of my friends.” — John Mackey, CEO/President, Whole Foods Market

“I champion Skousen’s new book to everyone. I keep it by my bedside and refer to it often. An absolutely ideal gift for college students.”– William F. Buckley, Jr., National Review

“Mark Skousen has emerged as one of the clearest writers on all matters economic today, the next Milton Friedman.” –Michael Shermer, Scientific American

“Both fascinating and infuriating….engaging, readable, colorful…”–Foreign Affairs

“Provocative, engaging, anything but dismal.”–N. Gregory Mankiw, Harvard University

“Lively…amazing…good quotations!” –Journal of Economic Perspectives

“One of the most original books ever published in economics.”–Richard Swedberg, University of Stockholm

“Lively and accurate, a sure bestseller. Skousen is an able, imaginative and energetic economist.” — Milton Friedman, Hoover Institution

“Having no previous interest in economics, I was honestly surprised to find your book so captivating.” –Haila Williams, Production Manager, Blackstone Audio Books

“Skousen gets the story ‘right’ and does it in an entertaining fashion, without dogmatic rantings.” –Peter Boettke, George Mason University

“One of the most readable ‘tell all’ histories of the 20th century.”–Richard Ebeling, Hillsdale College

“I couldn’t put it down! The musical accompaniments for each chapter are a wonderful touch. Humor permeates the book and makes it accessible like no other history. It will set the standard.”–Steven Kates, chief economist, Australian Chamber of Commerce

“The most fascinating, entertaining and readable history I have ever seen. I highly recommend it for translation abroad.”–Ken Schoolland, Hawaii Pacific University

“My students love The Making of Modern Economics! Mark Skousen makes the history of economics come alive like no other textbook.”– Roger W. Garrison, Auburn University.

“It’s unputdownable!”–Mark Blaug, University of Amsterdam

“Skousen is the only economist I know who I can understand. He writes for the common man!” — Dr. Laurence Hayek, U. K.

“Mark Skousen has a genius for explaining complex issues in a clear way and connecting ideas. He is the Henry Hazlitt of our time.” –Steve Mariotti, President, NFTE

“Mark Skousen is a great economist, great philosopher, great entrepreneur, and great friend. He should win the Nobel in economics.” — Steve Forbes

Available in hardback and paperback on Amazon.com.

Who’s to Blame for ObamaCare? Two Conservatives!

I wrote the following article for Human Events, but apparently it was too controversial and was removed after about 100 e-letters of commentary, both favorable and critical. Read here’s the original op-ed, uncensured.)

by Mark Skousen

This week the Senate grinches stole Christmas. The Obama Nation is getting Obama Care.

It’s easy to blame the sixty Democrats, as the Wall Street Journal does, for “the worse bill ever.” It solemnly declares: “These 60 Democrats are creating a future of epic increases in spending, taxes and command–and control regulation.”

True enough. But what’s the root cause of this disaster?

Sorry, friends, it’s not the Democrats, nor the American people who elected them.

The real culprits are two “conservative” Republicans who ran the show the previous eight years: George W. Bush, and his “master political strategist” Karl Rove. If it weren’t for these two fools in the White House, the Democrats wouldn’t have sixty Senators, including a professional comedian from Minnesota, to close off debate and ram down our throats a bill worse than Hillary Care.

The fact is that the Bush & Rove comedy act pushed through a litany of ruinous government policies that led to the lowest approval numbers in history:

–the undeclared and costly War in Iraq and its stepchild the unconstitutional Patriot Act.
–the monstrous No Child Left Behind Act that dramatically increased federal intervention in private education.
–the Prescription Drug Act that gave the American people another benefit-corrupted entitlement and unfunded liability.
–large and growing deficits and national debt (according to the Cato Institute, George W. Bush was the biggest spender since LBJ: http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2009/12/19/george-w-bush-biggest-spender-since-lbj/)
–the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, largely due to their failure to reform government-sponsored agencies Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

The supply-side tax cuts were probably the only major piece of economic legislation that Bush/Rove deserve credit for, but even then, they blundered in not making the tax cuts permanent. So now even if the Republicans take back Capitol Hill in the 2010 elections, all President Obama has to do is veto an extension of the Bush tax cuts, a voila, taxes will increase automatically.

In short, we are paying a heavy price for the “compassionate conservativism” of Bush/Rove.

Once Obama Care becomes law, like Medicare and other “Great Society” programs, it will never end. We will be stuck with national health care for the rest of our lives.

And how are Bush and Rove rewarded? Fortunately, we aren’t seeing much of George Bush, who is quietly in retirement in Texas.

The tragedy is Karl Rove, who has been rewarded by conservatives. He’s treated like a triumphant general on Fox News almost every night, and was signed on as a regular columnist in the prestigious Wall Street Journal.

Shame.

In liberty, AEIOU,
Mark Skousen

Book Review: The Making of Modern Economics

Click here to purchase The Making of Modern Economics by Mark Skousen

Click here to purchase The Making of Modern Economics by Mark Skousen

From an online book review on BillyBush.Net:

I recently finished “The Making of Modern Economics” by Mark Skousen.  I found this book quite intriguing.  It provides a powerful foundation and historical background to economic thought by offering the histories of the individuals that most contributed to modern schools of economics and public policy.

Investment Advice on Citigroup from Mark Skousen

“Citigroup (NYSE: CStock Charts and Research Links4.840.14) used to be the world’s #1 bank; it is now ranked #15 after the financial crisis,” points out long-standing investing and trading expert Mark Skousen.

Despite the financial institution’s troubles, the advisor ranks the bank as a speculative buy in his premium Hedge Fund Trader service. Here’s his review on IStockAnalyst.

When the Rich Get Poorer, Watch Out Below

“Any major shift in the financial status of the rich could have big implications…..Over the last century, the worst years for the rich were the early 1930s, the heart of the Great Depression.” — New York Times, August 21, 2009

On Friday, the New York Times had a cover story, “After 30-Year Run, Rise of the Super-Rich Hit a Sobering Wall.”

The financial crisis has hit the rich hard — the net worth of rich Americans has fallen an average 24% in the past year, according to a new Merrill Lynch Wealth Management report. The number of people with investable assets over $1 million has fallen from 3 million to 2.5 million. They have lost big money in real estate and stocks, their two biggest holdings. Even the price of Mei Moses Art Index has fallen 32% in the past six months.

Free Market Health Care Is The Answer

“Capitalism is turning luxuries into necessities.” — Andrew Carnegie

Watching the shouting matches occurring at the town hall meetings across America, do you ever wonder why nobody holds town hall meetings or writes complaining letters to Congress about food and housing?

After all, food and housing are even more important than medical help.  Most Americans don’t need to go to the doctor every day, but you do need to eat every day and live under a roof.

Read the entire article on Human Events Online.

Five Americans Inducted Into Free Market Hall of Fame

Las Vegas, Nevada (July 11, 2009): Five American prominent writers and economists –Henry Hazlitt, Murray Rothbard, Rose Wilder Lane, H. L. Mencken, and Booker T. Washington — were inducted into the Free Market Hall of Fame at the Saturday night banquet at FreedomFest. This year’s conference attracted over 1,700 attendees.

Each year FreedomFest honors individuals who have made a significant contribution to the cause of economic liberty. The first induction ceremony was held last year, and the recipients were Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith; French writers J.-B. Say and Frederic Bastiat; Austrian economists Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, and Friedrich Hayek; American writer Ayn Rand; and American economist Milton Friedman.

Mark Skousen, producer of FreedomFest, announced this year’s inductees, followed by comments by Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine.

Five Inductees into Free Market Hall of Fame in 2009

Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993) was the premier libertarian journalist and popularizer of Austrian economics in the 20th century. He used his position as financial editor of the New York Times and columnist for Newsweek to editorialize against Keynesian economics, the New Deal, and the imperial powers of government. His book, Economics in One Lesson, has sold over a million copies and become a classic. He was a founding vice-president of the Foundation for Economic Education, and early editor of The Freeman.

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.” — Henry Hazlitt

Murray N. Rothbard (1826-1995) was the dean of Austrian school of economics during the latter half of the 20th century, and a scholar who made major contributions to economic theory, history, and philosophy. He was the author of numerous books, including Man, Economy and State (1962), America’s Great Depression (1963), and The Ethics of Liberty (1982). His pamphlet, “What Has the Government Done to Our Money?” inspired a new generation of libertarians and the hard-money movement. Rothbard was a vociferous critic of Keynesianism and all forms of government intervention.

By Murray Rothbard:

“The establishment of Central Banking removes the checks of bank credit expansion, and puts the inflationary engine into operation.”

“It is easy to be conspicuously ‘compassionate’ if others are being forced to pay the cost.”

Rose Wilder Lane (1886-1968) is the author of Discovery of Freedom, a classic in libertarian literature. She is best known for her laissez faire political writings and the many stories she and her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, wrote about growing up on the prairies of America, where she learned the difference between individual initiative and government welfare. As a newspaper reporter and freelance writer she traveled throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, Egypt, the Middle East, and Russia. In her travels she experienced firsthand the effects of communism, socialism, and fascism, and observed that rigid organization and central planning have a stifling and stultifying effect, to the point that “very few men have ever known that men are free.”

“Individualism, laissez faire and the slightly restrained anarchy of capitalism offer the best opportunities for the development of the human spirit.” — rose Wilder Lane

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) was America’s favorite libertarian journalist, essaying, satirist and bon vivant of the the 20th century. He wrote the classic work, The American Language, and is regarded as one of the most influential American writers and prose stylists of his age. Known as the “Sage of Baltimore,” he was a skeptic and critic of all forms of government mischief.

By H.L Mencken:

“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”

“A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.”

“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

Booker T. Washington (1856 – 1915) was an American educator and the dominant leader of the African-American community in the early 20th century. Author of a classic autobiography, “Up from Slavery,” he supported education, self-help, and economic independence in the private enterprise system as the best way to escape poverty and achieve political equality. Born to slavery and freed by the Civil War in 1865, Washington became head of the new Tuskegee Institute, and built a personal organization that gained the support of wealthy industrialists as well as middle class blacks in pursuit of equality through “patience, industry, thrift, and usefulness.”

“The individual who can do something that the world wants done will, in the end, make his way regardless of his race.” — Booker T. Washington

Vote for your favorite free market supporter at www.freemarkethalloffame.com.

FreedomFest is an independent conference held annual in Las Vegas and billed as “the world’s largest gathering of free minds.” Next year’s conference will be held July 7-11, 2010, at Bally’s Events Center in Las Vegas. For more information, go to www.freedomfest.com.

Record Crowd at FreedomFest 2009

“This was the best FreedomFest yet.  Congratulations!” –John Mackey, CEO, Whole Foods Market

Highlights of FreedomFest 2009:

  • Nearly 1700 people attend this year’s FreedomFest (21% increase)
  • More than 200 register at the door
  • All Star Prediction Panel forecasts more pain ahead
  • Charles Gasparino, CNBC’s #1 reporter, calls for abolishing the SEC
  • Las Vegas Mayor steals show at Trial of the Century
  • Liberty Editors Conference is SRO
  • Amazing “mathemagician” is this year’s mystery speaker
  • Five historic figures inducted into the Free Market Hall of Fame
  • Steve Forbes attends all 3 days and dances to the music of the Beatles
  • Sing a libertarian version of John Lennon’s “Imagine”
  • Media coverage by C-SPAN, LA Times, Reasontv, Newsmax, and more!

Dear Friends of Liberty,

One attendee called this year’s FreedomFest a “phenomenon.”  Over 100 speakers, 95 exhibitors and 1700 attendees showed up at “the world’s largest gathering of free minds” July 9-11, 2009, at Bally’s Events Center in Las Vegas — a record turnout, 21% increase over last year.  (This number does not include several hundred supporters of Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty who attended FreedomFest on Friday and Saturday.)

They attended some 150 sessions on geo-politics, the economy, investments, philosophy, science & technology, art & literature, and healthy living.  As June Arunga said, “FreedomFest is a festival of ideas — exciting, new, and refreshing.

John Mackey calls it “The Trade Show for Liberty.”  Mark Mullins (Fraser Institute) identifies it as “the new Mecca for libertarians.”  I see it as the “focal point for free thinkers,” where independent thinkers and free minds break away from their busy schedule to come together once a year to learn, network, socialize, and re-energize their spirits.

The fight for freedom has never been more apparent since the end of the cold war.  As one attendee put it, “This is THE year to attend FreedomFest, when our freedoms and financial assets are threatened more than ever.

Given the deep recession and uncertainty this nation faces, I was surprised by the record turnout.  According to a local Las Vegas business leader, FreedomFest was the only conference this year with higher attendance.

Many more will see the Friday general sessions on C-SPAN (to be aired soon).

Attendees came from every state of the union, and as far away as Australia, Japan, Argentina, and Kenya.  Dozens of students took advantage of the $99 student discount rate.

You could feel the electricity as soon as you walked into the Exhibit Hall and the giant Laissez Faire Bookstore, run by Jim Peron and Jim Elswood.

One attendee told me, “FreedomFest changed my life and my entire way of thinking.

I learned a lot myself as a moderator, speaker, and attendee.  For every one who comes, FreedomFest is a personal creation, because so much is going on that no two people experience it the same way.  As Jerry Cameron says, “It’s like having access to all the greatest intellectual food in the world and you just couldn’t eat fast enough to sample it all!

Many buy the CDs of the entire conference every year just to keep up. (The first thing I do when I arrive is sign up for all the recorded sessions.  If you are so inclined, check out the list of audioCDs here, or call 1-866-254-2057 to order by telephone.)

The program was huge, with over 150 speeches, panels and debates. “Liberty Watch” published the entire program in its July issue. I recommend you subscribe to this top quality libertarian publication. Go to http://www.liberty-watch.com.

The World Economic Summit:

“The financial crisis is not over!”

The first day of the conference, entitled “Clear and Present Danger,” was devoted to the on-going financial crisis.  Many of the financial sessions were standing room only.  Charles Gasparino, CNBC’s #1 reporter, was our first keynote speaker.  He told the audience not to depend on the government to protect their wealth from losses or fraud.  “The SEC has failed to uncover a single major scandal in the past 30 years,” he said.  “It should be abolished.”

Other speakers throughout the conference included Steve Forbes, Larry Kudlow, Congressman Ron Paul, bestselling author Tom Woods (“Meltdown”), and John Fund.  Rick Rule (Global Resource Investments) moderated a panel on energy, telling attendees to expect oil & gas supplies to be tight in the future.  I gave a special 3-hour pre-conference seminar on “EconoPower:  Seven Power Tools for Investors, Managers, and Citizens” that was well attended.

In the “All Star Prediction Panel” last year, all the participants (Peter Schiff, Bert Dohmen, Fred Foldvary, Dennis Slothower) warned attendees about the impending crisis while the media was painting a rosy picture.  What were our prognosticators saying this year?  They remained pessimistic and recommended staying heavily in cash, gold, or foreign stocks.  Some are still shorting the market.  Bert Dohmen, editor of the highly-acclaimed Wellington Letter, remains bearish, adding as an example, “How can a company like Boeing stay in business when they have received only one major order so far this year?”  His breakout session attracted a large crowd.

Author Charles Murray (American Enterprise Institute) was more optimistic in the long run.  In his luncheon address, he spoke of three factors that will work in favor of liberty — technology that liberates individuals from centralized institutions, a coming moral crisis among social democrats, and rediscovery of the role of freedom in imbuing life with meaning.

The Trial of the Century: Free-Market Capitalism on Trial

What caused the 2008 crisis: free-market capitalism or bad government policies?  Friday night was the “big event” with defending attorney Steve Moore (Wall Street Journal Editorial Board) taking on prosecuting attorney Jeff Madrick (Emmy-award winning author of “The Case for Big Government”), with star witnesses Steve Forbes, Charles Gasparino, John Mackey, and Doug Casey.

Colorful Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman was the Judge, and he stole the show with his irreverent remarks throughout the trial.  What a showman.  (He’s the former criminal defense attorney for the mob in Las Vegas!)  The ending took everyone by surprise (see the C-SPAN coverage to find out what happened).  The entire audience gave the judge and everyone involved a long standing ovation.  (Thanks to estate planning attorney Jeff Verdon for arranging for Mayor Goodman to come.)  As one attendee, Brandon Bond, said, “I’ve been attending these kinds of events for 30 years–and this one was the best ever!

Another attendee enthused, “The Trial of the Century was so good it should be made into a Broadway play!

Steve Forbes and John Mackey Attend All 3 Days

Steve Forbes has caught the vision of FreedomFest and makes a point of staying all three days.  At a luncheon on Friday, he spoke about his penetrating new book “Power Ambition Glory,” which applies Greek and Roman history to today.  He also appeared on several panels and spoke at the gala Saturday night banquet.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, is also a big fan who attends the entire conference.  He appeared on the always popular Libertarian Entrepreneurs Panel (with Newsmax president Chris Ruddy; Rick O’Donnell, president of the Acton Foundation for Entrepreneurial Excellence; and successful New York money manager Donald Smith).  In the debate between “Randian vs. Conscious Capitalism,” he noted significant differences between his philosophy of “conscious capitalism” and that of Ayn Rand.  “Randian capitalism is all about making profits; conscious capitalism is about seeking a greater purpose.”

John also spoke to a SRO audience about the “Whole Foods Longevity Diet:  How to Live to be 100 and Avoid Heart Disease, Cancer, Obesity, and Diabetes.”  John is a vegan.  Based on the findings of a group of health experts, he recommended reducing or eliminating meat and diary products from one’s diety, and emphasizing fruits and vegetables.  He surprised everyone when he said, “The more vegetables you eat, the more you lose weight.”  And according to John, eating vegetables and fruit is the least expensive diet.

The $100 Trillion Zimbabwe Dollar vs. the American Eagle Silver Dollar

There were lots of sessions for investors, entrepreneurs, and retirees.  In one of the tax planning sessions organized by Vern Jacobs, international tax attorney Marshall Langer spoke to a SRO crowd about “Saving Lots of Taxes by Moving to Another State or Country.”  When asked the crowd which part they were interested in, Langer was surprised that 90% said they were more interested in moving “offshore.”

Investing in gold and silver was as popular as ever.  In the closing panel, I showed a $100 trillion Zimbabwe dollar bill and asked the panelists, “Are we headed toward hyperinflation in the United States?”  David Boaz (Cato Institute), Steve Forbes, and Richard Viguerie didn’t think so, but Peter Schiff and Doug Casey thought it was a real possibility with the government bent on out-of-control spending and entitlements (Scott Tips of the National Health Federal and Michael Tanner of Cato warned attendees about the dangers of nationalized health care).

Rick Rule, president of Global Resource Investments, offered guidance in investing in mining and natural resource stocks in several well-attended sessions.  Other investment specialists included Frank Trotter (Everbank) on the future of the US dollar (not good), Keith Fitz-Gerald on what Chinese insiders are buying now (Taiwan stocks), Van Simmons (David Hall’s Rare Coins) on the benefits of private collecting….Lou Petrossi on finding good money managers, Martin Truax on income investing, Jon Nadler (Kitco) on investing in gold, Paul Wigdor (Superfund) on beating the market with futures, Michael Checkan (Assets Strategies International) on currencies and precious metals, Peter Zipper on banking in Belize, and Adrian Day on foreign markets.  Joe Bradley (Investors Hotline), Gary Alexander, Ron Holland, and Jon Golding served as moderators.

Peter Schiff, president of EuroPacific Capital and author of the bestseller “Crash Proof,” was adamant that investing in foreign stocks and commodities was the best way to go, and that investors should “get out of the dollar.”

I suggested that the US government could readily shift to a sound money system by circulating its own gold and silver bullion coins.  I held up a American Eagle silver dollar, and gave one to each of the panelists.  I told the audience that the silver dollar is our symbol of sound money and freedom, and encouraged each attendee to buy one from the coin dealers in the exhibit hall to keep as a good luck piece, a tip, a gift, or a nice bonus to employees.

Douglas R. Casey, chairman of Casey Research, was controversial as usual.  His luncheon speech on “My Misadventures in the Third World” included an update on his efforts to privatize a small country and take it public on the New York Stock Exchange.  He said it’s now a real possibility.

Estate and tax planning is always a major topic at FreedomFest, with experts Jeff Verdon, David T. Phillips, Joe Gandolfo, Vern Jacobs, Marshall Langer, and Bill Black, among others.

Conservative marketing guru Floyd Brown led a 4-session series on powerful techniques in email, blogging, and other new media, with the world’s most successful experts. Richard Viguerie (American Target) spoke on “Magnify Your Business or Resign!”; Craig Huey on 16 strategies for business owners; and Marsha Friedman on her new book, “Celebritize Yourself”…and Nathan Tabor on “Building a Political Following on Twitter, Facebook and Blogosphere.”

Chris Ruddy (Newsmax) also moderated a popular panel, carried on C-SPAN, called “The Future of Conservatism,” with Richard Viguerie (American Target), Jon Utley (American Conservative), Tom Phillips (Eagle Publishing), and Tom Fuente (California Republican).

Sacred Text Project:  A Muslim Makes the Case for Pacifism!

Attendees had the unique opportunity to hear sessions by Jewish Mel Hecht, Christian minister Joseph Fuiten, Muslim Aslam Abdullah, Sikh Gurucharan Khalsa, and BYU Professor Dan Peterson shed light on their sacred scriptures, and then debate the role of religion in a no-holds-bar roundtable with Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic magazine and Scientific American.  Abdullah, director of the Islamic Center of Nevada, made the case for a peaceful coexistence with Muslim neighbors, and all the panelists seemed to be in a forgiving mood at FreedomFest.

In the exhibit hall each morning, Sikh Gurucharan Khalsa led about 30 individuals in yoga exercises.

Big Debates on Wal-Mart, Illegal Immigration, and the Fed

FreedomFest wouldn’t be complete without some great debates.  This year, “Wal-Mart, Good or Bad?” pitted Ohio professor Richard Vedder against anti-Wal-Mart activist Al Norman.  I was surprised to learn that many Wal-Mart employees are paid so little that they are subsidized with Medicaid, low-income housing, and other government welfare.  In “Immigration: Will Mexico Explode?,” Roberto Salinas (Mexico Business Forum) defended his country against Dr. Eric Olsen, a Tucson chiropractor.  In “Fed Up with the Fed?,” Gene Epstein (Barron’s economics editor) and Tom Woods took on Warren Coats (former IMF official) and John Fund (Wall Street Journal); and, as mentioned earlier, John Mackey (Whole Foods) and Michael Strong (FLOW) debated the Objectivists Ed Hudgins and Rob Bradley in “Randian vs. Conscious Capitalism.”

The Liberty Editors Conference is a perennial favorite, and every session was packed, with people hanging out the doors.  Speakers included Stephen Cox, Drew Ferguson, Jim Walsh, Randal O’Toole, David Friedman, and Jo Ann Skousen.  The panels were especially popular — on the Obama administration, the bailout, and a debate on religion and liberty.  There was also a spirited debate on “Anarchy vs. Limited Government,” with me defending limited government against anarchists David Friedman and Doug Casey.   I said that we now have a case study of how well anarchy does, since the African state of Somalia has had no central government since 1991.  (The results are a mix of private services and poor public services, and a deteriorating economy.)  I challenged Friedman and Casey to provide evidence of how utopian countries would deal with (1) disease control, (2) inefficiencies in public transportation and utilities, and (3) the justice system, i.e., how to deal with criminals who refuse to acknowledge private courts.  At one point, I heard David Friedman say that a criminal who refuses to come to court would be “forced” to do so.  That sounds like some form of government to me!

Major Media and Think Tanks at FreedomFest

We had representatives from most of the major financial media at FreedomFest, including the Wall Street Journal (Steve Moore and John Fund), Barron’s (Gene Epstein), and Investors Business Daily (Terry Jones and Michael Ramirez).  Think tanks and freedom organizations were well represented:  Ed Feulner and Teri Ruddy from Heritage: David Boaz, Dan Mitchell, Richard Rahn, and Michael Tanner from Cato; David Nott, Matt Welch, and Brian Doherty from Reason; Larry Reed from FEE; Julian Morris (IPN in London); Robert Enlow from the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice; Charles Murray from AEI; Byron Scholmach from the Goldwater Institute; John Taylor from the Virginia Institute; and Holly Jackson from State Policy Network (SPN).

Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty at FreedomFest

Over 1,200 attendees came to the Bally’s Events Center Friday night, July 10, to hear bestselling author Tom Woods and Congressman Ron Paul update us on the machinations of Death Star (Doug Casey’s name for Washington).  Paul is not optimistic about prospects in Washington, but was buoyed by the strong turnout in Las Vegas.

Unusual Speakers at FreedomFest

There’s always something for everyone at FreedomFest, even for those who don’t care about politics or money.  We had a science fiction mini-series with Jo Ann Skousen on “Fantasy, Science Fiction and Romance,” commenting especially on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Brian Doherty on Robert Heinlein.  They also participated in a popular panel on libertarian science fiction/fantasy with L. Neil Smith and J. Neil Schulman.

NYTimes columnist and GMU Professor Tyler Cowen answered the question, “Does Capitalism Destroy Culture?”  He concluded that global capitalism actually encourages a variety in products and services, including language and cultural differences.  Missouri history professor Steven Watts spoke on “Fantasyland, Walt Disney, and the American Dream,” followed by “Playboy, Hugh Hefner, and the American Dream”…..and Don Hauptman gave details on Ayn Rand’s famous Playboy interview, based on his purchase of the original documents with Rand’s own hand-written notes.

We also had several sessions on healthy living, including talks by John Mackey, and George and Mimi Murdock.  The Murdocks spoke on “How to Avoid America’s Impending Health Catastrophe,” and recommended the book “The China Study.”

French Canadians Julie Barlow and Jean-Benoit Nadeau spoke on their bestsellers “Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t be Wrong” and “The Story of French”…..David Wang explained the unusual connection between Confucius and America’s Founding Fathers (especially Franklin and Jefferson)….C-SPAN filmed Alex Green on his new book, “The Secret of Shelter Island”…..FIRE president Greg Lukianoff on “Unlearning Liberty: FIRE on Campus”….Dick Bishirjian (Yorktown University) on the profit potential of “for profit” education….This year we celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of two famous individuals, so we had Michael Shermer speak on Charles Darwin, and Hillsdale Professor Tom Krannawitter on “Vindicating Abe Lincoln Against his Libertarian Critics”….Santa Clara Professor Fred Foldvary defended Henry George and his single tax on land….Troy Dayton and John Mackey teamed up to discuss “Should Drugs be Legalized?”….Nelson Hultberg, author of “The Golden Mean,” on the need for a third party….And last but not least, our mystery guest speaker was Harvey Mudd Professor Art Benjamin on “The Joys and Mysteries of Mathematics.”  He held the crowd spellbound, and sold dozens of his books and tapes.

Each Room Dedicated to a Fallen Patriot

Each year we dedicate the rooms at FreedomFest to a free-market leader who has recently passed away. This year the rooms were dedicated to: Sir John Templeton; former Congressman Jack Kemp; Habitat for Humanity founder Millard Fuller; Anti-Communist crusader Fred Schwarz; conservative leader Paul Weyrich; investment writer Larry Abraham; private education enthusiast Marshall Fritz; ISIL founder Vince Miller; coin dealer Burt Blumert; and FEE managing editor Beth Hoffman.

Free Market Hall of Fame at Gala Saturday Banquet

Every night was filled with events at FreedomFest:  On Thursday, Everbank sponsored a speakers dinner and Newsmax an attendees dinner; on Friday, Campaign for Liberty sponsored a Ron Paul reception and program in the Bally’s Events Center.

The capstone of the conference was the gala Saturday night banquet, led by emcee extraordinaire Chip Wood. After CNBC’s Larry Kudlow spoke for 20 minutes on the current state of the nation, five American writers and economists were inducted into the Free Market Hall of Fame:  Henry Hazlitt, Murray N. Rothbard, Rose Wilder Lane, H. L. Mencken, and Booker T. Washington.  After each name was announced, Chip Wood rang the Liberty Bell.  Following the ceremony, Steve Forbes paid tribute to the five inductees.

Then band leader Billy Tragesser led the audience in the singing of the FreedomFest anthem, “Freedom and Gold,” sung to an Irish tune attributed to an old pirate song.

The grand finale was the appearance on stage of the world’s #1 Beatles tribute band, “Yesterday.”  From the first chord of the first song, a large crowd immediately gathered on the dance floor and didn’t quit until an hour and a half later, dancing and singing to the classics of the Fab Four. I’ve never seen anything like it at a libertarian or conservative event.  Even Steve Forbes got out there and did a jig.

Everyone sang along with the band singing a libertarian version of John Lennon’s “Imagine”:

Imagine there’s no taxation
It’s easy if you try
No IRS below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living to be free.

Imagine no politicians.
Telling us what to do.
No forms to fill out for.
And no inflation too
Imagine all the people
Living without Social Security.

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday they’ll join us
And liberty will have won.

Imagine no regulations.
I wonder if you can
No need for laws to control us
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Competing in the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday they’ll join us
And liberty will have won.

Next Year’s Big Event:  “Declare Your Own Independence.”

We’ve already set the dates for the 7th annual FreedomFest, which promises to be bigger and better than ever before: July 7-11, 2010, at Bally’s/Paris Resort in Las Vegas.  Just think7-11 in Vegas.

We think next year’s FreedomFest will sell out (we have a maximum capacity of 2000).  So you might want to take advantage of the “early bird” special ($100 off the retail price).

We’ve also planned several other events for the coming year:

  • Our post-Davos World Economic Summit January 31-February 2 at the Atlantis Hotel on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.  For more information, call Tami Holland, our conference coordinator extraordinaire, at 1-866-266-5101, or email her at tami@freedomfest.com.


In liberty, AEIOU,

Mark

Mark Skousen
Producer, FreedomFest
“The world’s largest gathering of free minds”
www.freedomfest.com
7-11 in Las Vegas (July 7-11, 2010)

Happy Fourth of July…

…What We Have to Celebrate and The Trial of the Century!

We are expecting over 2000 people to come to this year’s FreedomFest. Come join us! You can sign up at Bally’s Events Center in Las Vegas on Wednesday evening 6-8 pm, or come early for my pre-conference “EconoPower” seminar. Register at (866)266-5101 or at www.freedomfest.com.

And you don’t want to miss our Trial of the Century when we put free-market economics on trial…you’ll never guess the line-up we have for the judge, prosecuting attorney and defense lawyer, not to mention the star witnesses!

Las Vegas Mayor the Honorable Oscar Goodman as THE JUDGE
Stephen Moore, WSJ Editorial Board, as THE DEFENSE
Jeff Madrick, Emmy-Award Winning Economist, as THE PROSECUTION
STAR WITNESSES: Steve Forbes, Publisher, Forbes Magazine; Charles Gasparino, #1 Wall Street Reporter on CNBC; John Mackey, CEO, Whole Food Market; Doug Casey, Chairman, Casey Research Advisory.

I got this email from Australian friend Ron Mann today: “FreedomFest is developing into the most effective international free-market gathering and you have me wondering why I spend so much time at ‘lesser events’.”

Either we hang (out) in Vegas, or we all hang separately, to paraphrase Ben Franklin. Our financial freedoms and our financial assets are at stake.

Keep up-to-date about FreedomFest on www.twitter.com @TheFreedomFest or on Facebook!

More details about the conference at www.freedomfest.com.

In liberty, AEIOU,

Mskousen

See the POSTER for the TRIAL OF THE CENTURY!