The bottom line: A complete and well-developed discourse on Austrian economics.
Murray N. Rothbard’s Man Economy and State is a sweeping presentation of Austrian economic theory. In fact, one could call this the “Bible” of Austrian economics given the books breadth, complexity, and no-stone-left-unturned philosophy.
Rothbard essentially deduces the theory behind Austrian economics and then guides you along as he practically applies such theory to the real world, and illustrates the implications said philosophy has on economic policy. Although the issues he deals with are very complex, the author by no means burdens you with economic jargon, making the subject matter very accessible. By necessity, Rothbard debunks the dangers and fallacies inherent in more mainstream economic systems (e.g. Keynesian) and care is taken to depict the differentiation points in minute detail. I would dare say if you were to read only one book on Austrian economics, this is it.
With this in mind, it quickly becomes clear for the author that economics is the main engine that fuels society, and thus human action forward or human miscalculation backward finds a root in economic policy. This may be true to an extent, but Rothbard may overreach when, for example, the prevalence of violence has as its root cause in economic matters. One of the greatest values of Man, Economy and State is that Rothbard assumes no prior knowledge on the part of the reader, so fundamental economics is explained prior to Austrian theory. It goes without saying that one ought to have sincere dedication to this text as it is very, very long (1400+ pages) and the book is by no means a “quick” read (I started it 2013!). However, be prepared to be illuminated as this is one of the most profound economic treatises ever written.
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal