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Research Paper Example on Henry Hazlitt Contribution to Economics

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Harvey Mudd College
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Research paper
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Henry Hazlitt was born on November 28th, 1894 in Philadelphia. His father died when he was just five and was brought up by a stepfather. Dieterle, (2013). He never had the chance to have formal education due to his low-income family background. His life ambition was to become a philosopher. But he never had this opportunity; he had to leave school and find a job to support his mother who was a widow. In his search for a job, he secured a position on the wall street journal as secretary to the managing editor. Dieterle,(2013). As he worked, he developed the interest in the economics. He was mostly inspired by Philip Wicksteed's work, the common sense of political economy.

Henry Hazlitt belonged to the Austrian school of economic thoughts. This was a school that came in to being in the late 19th century with its primary focus on the methodological individualism. This was a concept that argued that individual actions and motivations for the social phenomena. Mises pg 11. This school of thought was the leading pioneer of the price theory, subjective theory of value and the formation of the calculation of economic problems, Rudy pg 94 (1994).

One of Hazlitt contributions that are still applauded up to date is his book economics in one lesson. The book was first published in 1946 by Harper. The book acted as an introduction to the free market. The famous count in the book that goes The art of economics consists of looking not merely at the immediate but at the more prolonged effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that system not only for one group but all groups. Hazlitt (1946). In this book, Hazlitt focuses on several issues including non-governmental solutions to economic problems, economic liberty of individuals, the free market and the dangers of government interventions to the open market.(misses institution, economics in one lesson). In this book, Hazlitt recommended and advocated for free trade; he was also opposed to the price control hence vehemently opposed it. He also suggested opposition to monetary inflation and simulative governmental expenditure.

His other contribution is the book from Bretton woods to world inflation. In this text. Hazlitt was opposed to the idea of fixing exchange rates and making the dollar a world currency. He argued that this would not last. He was of the view that every country should be responsible for their currency and believed that this was the only answer to curb inflation. Though his ideas were not bought by the system and even brought an end to his job at the New York Times, it was later vivid that his thoughts were indeed correct.

Hazlitt also wrote other books that touched on economic and poverty. The book, man vs. the welfare state, explained how dangerous the politicians who promise good thing through government are. Another book is the conquest of poverty where he takes an in-depth analysis of the poverty in the ancient times. He also touches on income redistribution and the relationship between population and poverty. In this text, he discusses the emergence of a middle class in the US and the weak laws of England that lead to the development of poverty among some citizens. He also explains the failure of several welfare programs. His recommendation about the issue of poverty and how to escape it is by developing a free nation. He advocates for freedom as the only way out.

In 1946, Hazlitt together with Leonard E. Read, Leo Wolman, David Goodrich, Donaldson Brown, Fred R, Fairchild, Cloud E. Robinson and Jasper Crane pioneered the foundation for economic education in the United States. This foundation mostly advocated for a free market. The foundation had several programs for students in all levels ranging from high school to graduate students. It also [provided sponsorships to various public lectures that were conducted by various thinkers. Through this foundation, several individuals were inspired and started centers to encourage more people. The crucial open center was started by Murray Rothbard as a libertarian movement, Gordon, (2010) pg 14. This was purely inspired by the foundation for economic education ideologies. Another organization that came as a result of the foundation was the Mont Pelerin society in 1947. Kim (2009). This foundation also received financial assistance from the FEE. The FEE was also the reason for the formation of the institution of economic affairs. Ronald (2008).

In conclusion, Henry Hazlitt can, therefore, be termed as the pioneer and legend of the economics studies. He layers the foundation for studying economics through his various publications with the most influential being the economics in one lesson. His participation in the foundations for economic education and publications in multiple magazines on economics earned him the tickets of being an important man as far as economics is concerned. His contributions have made a significant impact both to the economic sectors and the political arena. Having contributed all this in economics through his column in the various dailies, he is automatically one of the most influential journalists of his time.


Birner, Jack; van Zijp, Rudy (1994). Hayek, Co-ordination, and Evolution: His Legacy in Philosophy, Politics, Economics and the History of Ideas. London, New York: Routledge. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-415-09397-2.

Dieterle, D. A. (2013). Economic thinkers: a biographical encyclopedia.

Gordon, David (2010). Strictly Confidential: The Private Volker Fund Memos of Murray N. Rothbard (PDF). Auburn, AL: Ludwig von Mises Institute. p. ix, 1419. ISBN 978-1-933550-80-0.

Hamowy, Ronald, ed. (2008). The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Cato Institute. pp. 62, 217, 221, 335, 416, 417. doi:10.4135/9781412965811. ISBN 978-1-4129-6580-4. LCCN 2008009151. OCLC 750831024.

Ludwig von Mises. Human Action, p. 11, "Purposeful Action and Animal Reaction". Referenced 2011-11-23

Mises Institution (2014, August 18). Economics in One Lesson. Retrieved January 24, 2018, from

Phillips-Fein, Kim (2009). Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan. New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-05930-4.

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