The law perverted! The law—and, in its wake, all the collective forces of the nation—the law, I say, not only diverted from its proper direction, but made to pursue one entirely contrary! The law become the tool of every kind of avarice, instead of being its check! The law guilty of that very iniquity which it was its mission to punish! Truly, this is a serious fact, if it exists, and one to which I feel bound to call the attention of my fellow citizens.
— Frederic Bastiat, The Law
One of the many, many inspiring details of the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong, now powering into its fourth week, is the spontaneous creation of protest libraries, shelves of books right on the street for any and all protesters to borrow and read.
In that same spirit, I offer the following ebooks, free for download around the world, for those brave freedom protesters.
Possibly the most important is the short work by Bastiat, quoted above, The Law. I don’t know of a Chinese-language edition, but this English translation is very clear and easy to follow. You can get it from the Mises Institute or, if that’s blocked, from Project Gutenberg.
The next work, also in English but not Chinese (unfortunately) is economist Ludwig von Mises’s brilliant Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth, which you can also get from the Mises Institute, or from the Internet Archive.
Why is it brilliant? Mises demonstrated, barely three years after the founding of the Soviet Union, when the entire world seemed to believe that socialism was the way of reason, and the destination for the entire world in the future, that socialism is, in fact, impossible. A world without the mechanism of prices is one in which no individual can determine where to best spend his time, or to what ends to put his resources.
And as the Soviet Union was falling apart in the late 1980s, members of the Politburo admitted, among each other and behind closed doors, that they should put up a statue to Mises, because they came to realize that he had been exactly right. Don’t Just take my word for it, listen to what Gorbachev’s ex-economic adviser Yuri Maltsev says. (Warning, thick Russian accent and slight echo in the recording.)
The Mises Institute has also had a number of works translated into Chinese for free download. They are:
- Lessons for the Young Economist by Robert P. Murphy
- Liberty and Property by Ludwig von Mises
- Making Economic Sense by Murray Rothbard
- Anatomy of the State by Murray Rothbard
(Of course, there are also English-language versions of all of these to download, if you prefer.)
All the books are in the open ePub format.
Murray Rothbard was an anarchist, and I am not, but he was also very smart, and his thought is worth exploring even if you end up disagreeing with him on some things. Ludwig von Mises, despite the institute named after him, was not an anarchist.