This book was published in 2007, before the Great Recession. It definitely reads that way. Very capitalist, very Christian, very neo-liberal.
I enjoyed learning more about Adam Smith. I feel like Skousen does a good job painting the importance of his ideas as an invention that drove the Industrial Revolution.
According to Skousen, Marx is the devil incarnate, and his ideas are a dangerous disease infecting the minds of intellectuals and workers. Skousen takes a strange interest in painting Marx and Keynes as deranged, sexual deviants, etc. (“The Truth about Keynes’ Homosexuality” is a section in this book.)
Skousen treats economics as a mostly solved science, and argues constantly that Marxism is essentially dead, only kept on life support by “sociologists, anthropologists, literary theorists”, and other cronies.
I really appreciate understanding where all the economic schools come from and how they differ:
- classical school (Adam Smith): a free market allows for division of labor by way of the invisible hand
- Marxian school: invented the word capitalism, pointed out the class conflict and exploitation inherent to using capital to organize labor
- neoclassical school: solved the problem of relative subjective utility, which explained how demand sets prices
- monetarist school: inflation is caused by the expansion of credit; if the money supply doubles, prices will double; thus inflation of the money supply is not a big problem
- Austrian school: money is non-neutral and can be viewed as a commodity, and inflation can cause instability
- Cambridge school (Keynes): public investment can stave off the effects of the business cycle
I’ll finish it off with this quote from the conclusion:
Competition within an industry is not necessarily reduced when it is limited to only a few large companies. … Competition is strong even among only a few large firms. Monopolistic firms tend to keep prices competitive because of the ever-present threat of entry by other large firms. The world is “as if” fully competitive.
That should give you a good impression of the slant we get from Skousen.