Thursday, February 12, 2009

Review Surfing the Bimodals

Review surfing at is a hoot sometimes. I was doing that today since I've been reading Henry Hazlitt's book "Economics in One Lesson" mainly to remind myself of how economically illiterate most people are and what is scarier most politicians. So in that frame of mind I found a few books on Amazon dealing with the recent and past lunatic economic behaviors. The two books I found were Meltdown: A Free-Market Look at Why the Stock Market Collapsed, the Economy Tanked, and Government Bailouts Will Make Things Worse by Thomas E. Woods Jr. which has 10 reviews and New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR's Economic Legacy Has Damaged America by Burton W., Jr. Folsom which has 22 reviews.

I virtually always check out the reviews, especially the negative ones. The positive ones are going to have a few prompted by friendship with the author or the point of view, but the negative ones are always either 1) mindless, or 2) full of venom and hence often more informative. Amazon reviews are from 1 to 5, sort of a Likert scale. Books with no very ideological flavor and which stir no great passions will have a range of reviews 5's 4's 3's 2's and an occasional 1.

They might look like a little bar chart.
3 XX
1 X
while the ideological ones are always bimodal having a lot of high grades and a lot of low grades and nothing much in between. That was the case with these two books.

Meltdown had 9 5* and 1 1* reviews.
New Deal or Raw Deal? had 15 5*, 2 2* and 5 1*
You can go look at them yourself. I think it is self-evident along with Henry Hazlitt that government spending is money displaced from it's proper role as the resources of those who earned it. Government has proper roles, but one of them is not taking people's money so the government can spend it indiscriminantly as they please. That is ultimately tyranny.

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