Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government Paperback – Jan 1 2013
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From Library Journal
Higgs, a political economist, analyzes how the American federal government has come to exercise so much control over individuals and the marketplace in this century. Essentially he proposes that government control, which increases during a war or economic depression, continues after the crisis, with each increase influencing the prevailing ideology, making further increases more acceptable to the public. The process involves government taking on new functions more than expanding traditional ones. Because of this ratchet-like movement toward ever bigger government, Higgs is somewhat pessimistic about the survival of individual rights and a free society. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. David Steiniche, Social Sciences Department, Missouri Western State College, St. Joseph
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“A book of major importance, thoroughly researched, closely argued, and meticulously documented. It should be high on the reading list of every serious student of the American political system.” —Political Science Quarterly
“An important, powerful, and profoundly disturbing book.” —James M. Buchanan, Nobel Laureate in Economic Science, Journal of Economic History
“A thoughtful and challenging work.” —Harper’s
“Insightful, compelling, and clear, Higgs breaks new ground in explicating the most important socio-political trend of our time—the growth of American government.” —FreemanSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The book is more significant now than ever, since its publication in the 1980s. Government has grown substantially, especially the various "wars" on drugs and terror that have greatly increased the size of government and US government involvement in several aspects of domestic life and foreign affairs.
The scholarship is particularly good - mountains of empirical evidence, all relevant to his thesis, are well documented and presented concisely in this book. The book is straightforward and easy to understand; it should be accessible to economists and intelligent non-economists alike. If you've wanted to understand how government insidiously (or naturally) becomes larger regardless of constitutional constraints, read this book. It might fill you with rage, but maybe you can put that rage to good use. Are the ideas of limited government destined to be considered a failure in the far future, or can leviathan be chained down? If this is all government is about, in the United States or anywhere, do we really want a government at all?
Read this book. Libertarians will consider it a great read and invaluable intellectual ammunition; everyone else should read it, if for nothing else, to better understand the nature of the beast.
Within weeks of the initiation of the U.S. effort the administration has announced steps that will curtail the civil liberties of citizens and visitors alike, even circumventing the right to proper trial. There appears to be a good chance that U.S. citizens will be required to carry so-called national ID cards.
Higgs explains why this should come as no suprise since war is the grand historical excuse offered by politicians to increase their powers and diminish those of their subjects, whatever the merits of their original objectives. This is one of the essential books in the literature of liberty, and it could not be more pertinent as a siren and antidote to the threat to freedom posed by ever-larger government.
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