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Delusions of Power: New Explorations of the State, War, and Economy

4.30  ·  Rating details ·  30 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Taking a close look at the dense fabric that our government weaves between war, state power, and economics, this collection of essays reveals the growing authority—and corruption—of the American state. Covering topics from the Lyndon Johnson presidency to the provocatively titled article “Military-Economic Fascism” on the military-industrial-congressional complex, it argue ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Independent Institute (first published January 1st 2012)
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Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most of the ideas in the polemics and essays in this book I've already come across in some detail, mostly from Mises archives and other Independent Institute publications. Nevertheless, Higgs is the man and he's always worth a read.

"The essays and reviews gathered (in revised form) in this book, all of which were written in the past few years, reflect the radical position at which I arrived. Several of them question the very existence of the state as we know it. I am accustomed to having my arg
Ion Sterpan
Ch 1

A long term view of the social contract:

As the story goes, when individuals contract out from the state of nature, they give up liberties to a public entity in exchange for security.
Higgs points out that over time, after the contract is concluded, the public entity takes more and more of the remaining liberties and provides less and less of the promised security.
Symmetrically, he suggests, in a no-state world (an anarchy animated by the principles of the market), the amount of liberties not
Stefan Matias
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Having read both Higgs' Crisis and Leviathan and Delusions of Power, I'd say the latter is indubitably the more educational one. Packed with great insights about the nature of the State and arguments against its common defenses, as well as historical revisionism of key events in American history, in particular the various wars and economic crises, Delusions of Power is well worth a read. Like in Crisis and Leviathan, some parts can seem a bit dry with lots of statistics and figures, which requir ...more
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
This in not Higgs at his most scholarly. Many of these previously published essays first appeared in The Freeman, The Independent Review and various publications of the Mises Institute. And in some ways that’s a positive: this is Higgs at his most trenchant, telling it like it is:

“Lest anyone protest that the state’s true “function” or “duty” or “end” is, as Locke, Madison, and countless others have argued, to protect individuals’ rights to life, liberty, and property, the evidence of history cl
José Antonio Lopez
In this book Robert Higgs summarizes his ideas on why we have to challenge the existence of government. One by one he knocks down, as dominoes, the rationalization to preserve government. Many people can't imagine a world without government because we were raise, by government, to believe it is a necessary institution. If humans had the creativity to create governments, we have so to create its alternatives. Innovation has being restrained by the straw man discourse from governments. Like Dicken ...more
Logan Albright
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
A little disappointed in this one, after all the great things I've heard about Higgs. The first two essays were great, but I generally think it's a mistake for an author to collect miscellaneous articles, cram them together, and represent it as a unified book. The result lacks coherence, even if all the individual writings are fine.
Jared Lovell
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
A collection of essays by Robert Higgs setting forth from various aspects the utter folly of government planning. Definitely worth adding in the canon of good anarcho-libertarian literature.
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Robert Higgs is an American economic historian and economist combining material from Public Choice, the New Institutional economics, and the Austrian school of economics; and a libertarian anarchist in political and legal theory and public policy. His writings in economics and economic history have most often focused on the causes, means, and effects of government power and growth.