An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought: - download pdf or read online

By Murray N. Rothbard

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Roman law classically developed in the first to the third centuries AD. Private law developed the theory of the absolute right of private property and of freedom of trade and contract. While Roman public law theoretically allowed state interference in the life of the citizen, there was little such interference in the late Republic and early Empire. Private property rights and laissez-faire were therefore the fundamental heritage of the Roman law to later centuries, and much of it was adopted by countries of the Christian West.

Also see Moses I. Finley, 'Aristotle and Economic Analysis', in Studies in Ancient Society (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1974), pp. 32-40. 1 31 The Roman law: property rights and laissez-faire One of the most powerful influences in the legal and political thought and institutions of the Christian West during the Middle Ages was the Roman law, derived from the Republic and Empire of ancient Rome. Roman law classically developed in the first to the third centuries AD. Private law developed the theory of the absolute right of private property and of freedom of trade and contract.

The wisest course is to keep the government simple and inactive, for then the world 'stabilizes itself' . As Lao Tzu put it: 'Therefore, the Sage says: I take no action yet the people transform themselves, I favor quiescence and the people right themselves, I take no action and the people enrich themselves ... ' Deeply pessimistic, and seeing no hope for a mass movement to correct oppressive government, Lao Tzu counselled the now familiar Taoist path of withdrawal, retreat, and limitation of one's desires.

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An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought: Volume I: Economic Thought Before Adam Smith by Murray N. Rothbard


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