The Sovereignty of the People

This is Chapter 4 of Alexis de Tocqueville’s classic book, ‘Democracy in America’, first published in 1835. Here’s a question: how much have things changed since then?

I, Pencil

Milton Friedman once said about this classic essay from 1958, ‘I know of no other piece of literature that so succinctly, persuasively, and effectively illustrates the meaning of both Adam Smith’s invisible hand—the possibility of cooperation without coercion—and Friedrich Hayek’s emphasis on the importance of dispersed knowledge.’ Nuff said.

The Use of Knowledge in Society

This essay by Friedrich Hayek, first published in 1945, is in our view the most important essay in the history of economics. It argues that central planning cannot work because the knowledge of people’s needs and capacities is dispersed throughout society, and the most effective mechanism to put that knowledge to use is the price system in a free market.

The World Outside and the Pictures in our Heads

Walter Lippmann’s seminal book, Public Opinion, was published in 1922, but reads like it was written for 2017. Here’s the opening chapter of the book, which describes, long before the advent of social media, “the insertion between man and his environment of a pseudo-environment.”

Politics and the English Language

Bad language and poor thinking are often both the cause and effect of each other. George Orwell’s classic essay illustrates why, and explains what we can do about it.

Why Plunder Beats Labor

Why are Indians more into rent seeking than profit seeking? Why do so many of us prefer ‘plunder’ over ‘labor’? Frédéric Bastiat’s masterpiece, The Law, was written in France in 1850– but there may be no modern book with a better diagnosis of what ails us.

The Growth of the Passion

We live in an age of post-truth, fueled by social media. This is unique to our times, right? Nuh-uh! It’s all been done, and to give you an eerie sense of deja vu, we present an excerpt from The Psychology of Jingoism by John Atkinson Hobson, published in 1901.