Mises Daily – January 10, 2011

January 10, 2011

Mises Daily

Like The Biggest Videos, Ebooks, and Academy Courses of 2010 on Facebook

Other Dailies
Teaching an Online Mises Academy Course
by Stephan Kinsella

Following the Efficient-Markets Hypothesis into Absurdity
by Robert P. Murphy

The Biggest Videos, Ebooks, and Academy Courses of 2010
by Briggs Armstrong on January 10, 2011

For the first time ever, we published Top 10 lists for daily articles and best-selling books, but after they were released we caught a lot of flack for leaving out the ebooks, videos, and Academy courses. Here is an attempt to right that wrong by providing readers with a list of the most popular ebooks (by download), videos (by views), and courses (by registration).

Progress occurs at an astonishing rate at the Mises Institute; new ebooks and videos are uploaded every week, and new Academy courses are always being offered. An incredible amount of work happens behind the scenes to make all of this content available to the world. Though we give away thousands of hours of media and hundreds of ebooks, the zero price does not mean they are not all immensely valuable. In fact, their zero price is precisely because they are all far too valuable to be locked away behind the iron curtain of intellectual-property regulations that only serve to restrict and slow the flow of ideas.

However, zero price does not mean zero cost. There are many scarce resources that must be devoted to the creation and hosting of these nonscarce, infinitely reproducible ebooks and videos; it is only through the generous donations of Mises.org users and supporters that new material can be made available in the future. I hope that you will enjoy reviewing some of the most popular content brought to you by the Mises Institute in 2010, and I hope that you will make a tax-deductible donation so that 2011 will see even more new content.

Top 10 Videos

The Mises Institute hosts many conferences every year that feature some of the most brilliant speakers alive today. True to its goal of advancing liberty and economic education, the institute makes every lecture available in its entirety online for free. This is by no means an easy task. Audio and video quality is one of those things that goes completely unnoticed as long as it is good, but when it has the slightest problem, everyone notices. This is why the Mises Institute’s director of media, Chad Parish, is one of the unsung heroes of Mises.org. He is absolutely meticulous about quality, only producing the very best; he even finds himself editing some videos frame by frame.

As much work as Parish does in recording and preparing the videos, none of it would be possible were it not for the generous donors to the Mises Institute. These are the people who make it possible to rent the venues, pay for the equipment, and compensate the speakers — along with countless other behind-the-scenes activities integral to the finished product. If you enjoy watching these videos, please consider making a donation of any size to help continue to make new ones available in 2011. Now for our list of the most-watched videos created in 2010.

1. “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, When Is the Next AIG to Fall” — Marc Faber

The man some call “Doctor Doom” was the keynote speaker at the Mises Circle in Manhattan. When Faber speaks, people listen — and for good reason. He has made himself, and those for whom he manages money, wealthy by betting against the consensus — famously advising people to sell stocks one week before the S&L Crash of 1987. In this 67-minute speech Faber discusses topics ranging from Krugman to Fed strategy to monetary policy to developing economies, even giving some guidance about what to own in 2010. In this video, we get a rare, in-depth analysis from Faber, rather than the usual three-minute sound bites so often heard on financial news.

2. “Prepare for the Worst” — Ron Paul

It seems fitting that our number-2 slot features the congressman known as “Dr. No.” This talk was given at the annual Mises Circle in Houston, sponsored by Jeremy Davis, and discussed the ideological revolution to come. He received thunderous applause after saying “It’s me against the State,” referring to one of the many times he found himself on the lonely side of a 432-to-1 vote in Congress. He also gave his thoughts on the tea party, the Federal Reserve, a Fed audit, and those who stand against the free market and personal liberty. Dr. Paul is, without a doubt, at his best when he has an open mic and time to expound upon his ideas and beliefs. Note: it’s not too late to register the Mises Circle in Houston (and see Ron Paul in person) this year.

3. “New Deal: History, Economics, and Law” — Thomas E. Woods Jr.

Thomas Woods and Jeffrey Tucker discuss Dr. Woods’s online Mises Academy class on the New Deal. Woods explains what the Mises Academy is and gives an overview of the topics that were covered in the course. Tucker and Woods also discuss the broad range of students, across the world, that Woods is able to teach right from his home study. Unfortunately, the New Deal course is over, but it will be offered again in coming semesters, so be sure to watch the video now to get an idea of what it’s all about.

4. “Keynesian Predictions vs. American History” — Thomas E. Woods Jr.

This speech was given at the same conference as our number-2 video from Ron Paul. Woods reminds us of a long history of failed predictions made based upon Keynesian economic theory. Keynesians predicted a massive depression and widespread unemployment resulting from the end of WWII, that the United States would fall behind the Soviet Union, and the list goes on. Woods uses historical fact to refute each prediction in turn. If you are new to Austrian Economics, you may recognize Dr. Woods from his frequent appearances on a national cable-news show hosted by the guy from our next most popular video.

5. “What Ever Happened to the Constitution?” — Judge Andrew Napolitano

Host of Freedom Watch on the Fox Business Network, Judge Andrew Napolitano, appeared as a surprise speaker at Mises University 2010. To describe the crowd’s reaction upon seeing Judge Napolitano emerge from behind the curtain to deliver his speech as excitement would be an understatement to say the least. The Judge discussed the intentions with which the US Constitution was created and how the government has systematically expanded its power since before the ink was even dry on the parchment. He called out the Patriot Act, government healthcare, and bank bailouts not only as being unconstitutional but also as being antithetical to human liberty and man’s natural rights. This is certainly one of the Judge’s finest speeches. During the last portion of his talk, he walked down the aisle taking questions from students and even putting a few students on the spot with pop-quiz questions of his own.

6. “How Bernanke Is Using the Printing Press to Win Friends and Influence People” — Robert Murphy

Douglas French gave the introduction to this Robert Murphy speech in April at the Mises Circle in Pheonix; in it, French mentions that Murphy was completing an economics textbook. In the intervening months, Lessons for the Young Economist has become the fifth-best-selling book on Mises.org. Murphy’s speeches are one of the few things more interesting than his many books and articles — unless you count his legendary karaoke performances! In this speech, Murphy puts aside the broader economic implications of Helicopter Ben printing trillions of dollars and focuses on the political benefits Ben Bernanke has received for doing so. This examination provides telling insights into the Fed chairman’s incentives and gives us a clue for the direction he is likely to take in the future.

7. “Making of the Keynes-Hayek Rap: Economic Theory Meets Popular Culture” — John Papola

If you haven’t seen the “Fear the Boom and Bust” rap on YouTube by now, you are probably living under a rock. There are hundreds of reports of students who sent the video to their college economics professors only to discover that it was the first the professor had heard of F.A. Hayek. The rap video, which quickly went viral, has introduced thousands of people to Hayekian or Austrian economic theory. Our number-7 slot features the Hayek vs. Keynes video’s cocreator, and MTV producer, John Papola. Papola explains the creative process behind the video’s creation and discusses the reasons why he felt it was important to make. He even shares the audio from his rendition of “Keynes: Stayin Alive,” an idea that predated his legendary rap video.

8. “The Command Economy: Surging Forward into the Past” — Charles Goyette

Author of the New York Times best seller, The Dollar Meltdown, Charles Goyette has been a supporter of Murray Rothbard and Ron Paul for over a quarter of a century and is a giant in his own right. His many years in radio has made him extraordinarily adept at holding an audience’s attention and imparting wisdom. In this lecture, he discusses the absurd ideas that various experts throughout history have concocted as government programs designed to create prosperity. We laugh at the blunders and ludicrous schemes of the past, yet the American public is still being duped by the same hairbrained ideas in shiny new wrappers.

9. “Currency Failures from Argentina to Zimbabwe: A Brief History of Inflation” — Timothy Terrell

This speech, given in December by Timothy Terrell, was an overnight hit and it is little wonder why. Americans are being told by the government that it is actively seeking to increase the inflation rate and that it is for our own good. The Fed assures everyone that they can stop inflation on a dime and that we have absolutely no reason to worry about hyperinflation. History proves otherwise. Terrell’s speech covers cases of hyperinflation during the past century, spanning countries all over the globe. In each case, the source of the skyrocketing prices was easily identified, printing money. With the Fed printing trillions and freely admitting that it is doing its very best to increase inflation, this video should serve as a powerful warning.

10. “War and Inflation: Financing the Empire” — Thomas DiLorenzo

“One can say without exaggeration that inflation is an indispensable intellectual means of militarism. Without it, the repercussions of war on welfare would become obvious much more quickly and penetratingly; war-weariness would set in much earlier.” Thomas DiLorenzo says this quote from Mises’s Nation, State, and Economy perfectly captures the theme of the lecture he gives in this video. DiLorenzo, known for his captivating speaking style and ability to explain seemingly difficult topics in clear, easily grasped terms, explains why war and inflation tend to go hand-in-hand. He points out that wars are expensive and taxes are very unpopular, but governments can pay for wars through the hidden tax known as inflation. DiLorenzo highlights several incidents of war funding via monetary manipulation in American history, dating all the way back to the Revolutionary War. The parallels to today’s wars and the Fed’s monetary policies couldn’t be more clear and foreboding.

Top 5 Mises Academy Classes

The online Mises Academy was born in 2010, and it is already growing remarkably fast. The Mises Institute has managed to utilize the very latest in technological advancements to bring a new way of learning to people across the world.

In the short time that the Academy has been available, students from over two dozen different countries have been able to learn from Austrian legends including Thomas DiLorenzo, Douglas French, David Gordon, Stephan Kinsella, Peter Klein, Robert Murphy, and Thomas Woods.

The online-lecture environment enables students to learn directly from these brilliant scholars and to watch the lecture video archives or read the online course texts indefinitely. This makes it easy to catch up on a missed section or go back and review what they learned, even after the course ends.

The Mises Academy is revolutionizing the way professors teach and students learn, and more courses are added every semester. What follows are the five courses that received the highest student enrollments.

1. Understanding the Business Cycle — Robert Murphy

The inaugural Mises Academy course, Understanding the Business Cycle, was a surprise smash hit, surpassing everyone’s wildest expectations for the first course ever to be offered in an online environment by the Mises Institute. This course, taught by Dr. Robert Murphy, was brilliantly laid out; it comprehensively covered all of the issues necessary to fully grasp the business cycle. The course isn’t currently being offered but likely will be again soon.

2. Principles of Economics — Robert Murphy

This course was another huge success from Dr. Murphy. It was designed by Murphy to be appropriate for everyone from high-school students to adults who wish to gain an understanding of what economics is and how the economy really works. It covers the importance of private property and the dangers of the unintended consequences of government intervention. The course uses Murphy’s new, best-selling textbook, Lessons for the Young Economist, which can be downloaded for free in PDF or ebook format or purchased from the store in physical form. Best of all, this course is already being offered again; the first day of class is January 26, so be sure to register!

3. New Deal: History, Economics, and Law — Thomas Woods

Historian and New York Times best-selling author Dr. Thomas Woods taught his first Mises Academy course on the topic of the New Deal. Woods devoted a week to each of the following topics: the 1920s boom and bust, Herbert Hoover’s record, New Deal programs, the evolution of the Supreme Court, international parallels, opposition to FDR, and finally the economic consequences of WWII.

This isn’t the standard version you find in high-school history books, which characterize Roosevelt as something just short of the second coming of Christ; Woods throws out all of the propaganda and gets at the truth about this period in American history.

4. The Road to Serfdom: Despotism, Then and Now — Thomas DiLorenzo

After Glenn Beck famously devoted an entire show to F.A. Hayek’s legendary book, The Road to Serfdom, the Mises Academy received countless emails demanding that a course be offered on this important book. The Mises Institute found the perfect man for the job, Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo.

Over a five-week period, DiLorenzo guided students through the Hayek’s great work and through world history while drawing parallels to the current state of political and economic affairs. Even if you missed out on this special course, it’s not too late to take a course with Dr. DiLorenzo. Register now for his course on Lincoln which begins on January 18.

5. Nullification: A Jeffersonian Bulwark Against Tyranny — Thomas Woods

Dr. Woods is one of the most prolific libertarian authors alive today, and he has just released his latest book, Nullification. The topic was so new to people that they demanded a full course on the subject. It is easy to see how this course could be so popular: where else can students around the world register to learn from a best-selling author who delivers weekly two-hour live lectures streaming from his home study? This course on nullification just ended in December, and it concludes our list of the 5 most popular courses offered in the Mises Academy during 2010. We fully expect 2011 to be an even bigger year, with many new students hailing from around the globe; be sure to keep an eye on the course page to find out what courses are being offered.

Top 10 Free Book Downloads

As most Mises.org readers know by now, every single book for which the Mises Institute has the rights is available for everyone to download in its entirety. Jeffrey Tucker and Stephan Kinsella have led the fight against the tyranny of intellectual property and in so doing have rescued countless works from decades of obscurity and given them back to the world. Mises.org hosts hundreds of complete works in both ePub and PDF formats, and a great many of these books are also available for purchase in their physical form in the Mises Store. What follows is a list of the top 10 books downloaded during the year. As Jeffrey Tucker is so fond of saying, “How can we expect to sell any books if we don’t give them away for free?”

1. Human Action — Ludwig von Mises

It is little wonder that Mises’s magnum opus should be the most frequently downloaded electronic book of the year. The importance of this book couldn’t be overstated, especially in the current political and economic environment; this is why it is so crucial that there be no artificial barrier between those wishing to gain knowledge and the works in which such important ideas are contained. Lest anyone still doubt the brilliance of Mises Institute’s model of giving away electronic copies of all of its books, see for yourself that the two physical versions of this book were both among the Top 10 sellers of the year; this is not a coincidence.

2. Bourbon for Breakfast — Jeffrey A. Tucker

A pattern is beginning to emerge: this book, like Human Action, enjoys Top 10 sales as well as a very high ranking in downloads.

Bourbon for Breakfast is truly fun to read and certainly less of a daunting challenge than the likes of Human Action. This book is loaded with lessons that Tucker has gleaned from everyday life. His view of daily life events is as unique as his writing style. This book offers a peak into the mind of one of the great forces behind the daily operation and success of the Mises Institute’s web presence.

This is a great book to have on whatever ebook reader you use, because the chapters are short and can be read in any order. On your subway commute to work you can learn about the time he went to jail after rolling through a stop sign; during lunch you can learn about “Fortune Cookie Economics”; and you can learn how to “hack” your showerhead on your way home.

3. Lessons for the Young Economist — Robert P. Murphy

When I took microeconomics in college, my professor used an online textbook as the required reading for the class. I had to shell out $100 to the publisher for the right to access the book and at the end of the semester my logins expired, rendering the book inaccessible. I can say with absolute certainty that Murphy’s book — permanently available for free, I might add — is not only much better written but also more easily understood and far more comprehensive. This book is one of the most important and useful texts ever designed for novices. It is also worth noting that it too ranks among the 10 best sellers in the Mises Store.

4. Pictures of the Socialistic Future — Eugen Richter

The Mises Institute has rescued this novel from utter obscurity. This is the first edition featuring new typesetting since it was first translated in 1893! The author saw what was to come with an accuracy that would be the envy of Nostradamus. Richter’s understanding of socialism, in a time before its implementation was anywhere near its zenith, is a testament to his genius. Download this book today, and by tomorrow you will realize you just can’t live without a physical copy.

5. America’s Great Depression — Murray N. Rothbard

It is little wonder that this would be among the most downloaded books of the year; with the current state of the economy, it would be shocking if it weren’t on the list. Rothbard smashes the still widely held fallacious notions that the Great Depression was a failure of capitalism and that FDR’s New Deal saved the nation from its greatest crisis. More truth can be found in a single chapter of this book than in all public-school history textbooks combined.

6. Man, Economy, and State, with Power and Market — Murray N. Rothbard

Here again we see a book that was a best seller in the store finding itself among the most frequently downloaded texts. Though Rothbard originally set out to write a study guide for Mises’s Human Action, it quickly became one of the most important economics books in its own right. Anyone who has ever read this book can attest to the utter clarity of language, a rare thing among economic treatises. Widely regarded as one of Rothbard’s greatest and most important works, it certainly deserves to be at the top of anyone’s reading list.

7. The Case for Legalizing Capitalism — Kel Kelly

People just can’t get enough of the works of Kel Kelly — and for very good reason indeed! In an interview with Jeffrey Tucker, Kelly discussed The Case for Legalizing Capitalism, his first book, and he gave us insight into his purpose for writing it. He set out to provide a rebuttal for all of the many attacks leveled against free markets and to do so completely in layman’s terms, free of the jargon often used by economists to befuddle the public. He was astonishingly successful in this endeavor. This book can be understood by anyone. It is the kind of book that you want to keep with you at all times just in case you find yourself needing to defend free enterprise. Fortunately it can be downloaded to smart phones and ebook readers and kept close at hand at all times without the need to lug around a heavy paper book.

8. Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought — Murray N. Rothbard

A decade ago, owning this book, which many consider to be the most accurate and complete account of the history of ideas on economics spanning over several millennia, would have cost over $200 (not inflation adjusted). Now anyone with internet access can possess this masterpiece for free with the click of a mouse. This is why the Mises Institute is so important: no one else was able to take what was once virtually unattainable and make it infinitely available at an infinitely lower price. Now anyone can benefit from Rothbard’s genius and painstaking research.

9. Walk Away — Douglas French

This short, 77-page monograph makes me want to act like the Gideons and buy a huge stack to hand out to everyone I pass on the street. Fortunately, I can save the time and money by just sending people the PDF. So what makes this book so special? It is the first of its kind to be published by the Mises Institute; it deals with a real-world, practical problem faced by millions of homeowners; and it has the power to permanently improve the lives of entire families. Though French doesn’t expressly advocate the practice of people walking away from their mortgages when they find themselves hopelessly underwater, he does contend that it is a morally acceptable option within the libertarian ethical framework. This quote from the final page sums it up particularly well, “No obituary will ever read, ‘He was a good and ethical man. He died broke, his family suffered, but he never missed a payment to Fannie Mae.'”

10. Against Intellectual Property — Stephan Kinsella

This monograph has played a huge role in reshaping how Austrians and libertarians view the artificial, government-granted monopolies on ideas. Kinsella is a practicing patent attorney, and he recently finished teaching an online class on the subject in the Mises Academy. He points out that intellectual-property legislation can only stifle innovation, competition, and progress. He advocates the complete abolition of patents, copyrights, and the like.

It is through adopting this philosophy that the Mises Institute has made available, free of charge, all of these books.

Briggs Armstrong holds a degree in accounting from Auburn University and is a staff member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Send him mail. See Briggs Armstrong’s article archives.

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