Delusions of Power
Delusions of Power

Delusions of Power

New Explorations of the State, War, and Economy


336 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Paperback, Hardcover, ebook: EPUB, ebook: PDF, Mobipocket

Paperback, $21.95 (US $21.95) (CA $24.95)

Publication Date: May 2012

ISBN 9781598130454


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Taking a close look at the dense fabric that our government weaves between war, state power, and economics, this collection of essays reveals the growing authority—and corruption—of the American state. Covering topics from the Lyndon Johnson presidency to the provocatively titled article “Military-Economic Fascism” on the military-industrial-congressional complex, it argues that the U.S. government consistently exploits national crises and then invents timely rhetoric that limits the rights and liberties of all citizens for the benefit of the few, be they political leaders or various industrialists in the areas of defense and security. As its title suggests, this book presents a clear narrative of trends and events—from the United States’ entry into World War II to the origins of income tax—causing individuals to question whether those in power are truly blind to the effects and causes of their policies.


"An important book for our time on the nature of political power. Robert Higgs describes the government's use of wars and real and fabricated crises to expand its power. It is history well-told and should be thought-provoking to all, whatever their political preferences."  —Stanley L. Engerman, John H. Munro Professor of Economics and professor of history, University of Rochester

"There is no economist today who has thought more seriously than Robert Higgs about the relationship between the state and the economy. His examinations of the state are grounded in historical scholarship, rigorous analytics, and in a lively and blunt style. In the process, the reader will see many historical myths exploded and sacred cows skewered. Delusions of Power is a must read for anyone who wants to understand the permanent-war economies that have been created in the 20th and 21st centuries."  —Peter J. Boettke, professor of economics, George Mason University

"Even James Madison asked throughout his lifetime 'In a free society, what is the proper relationship between individuals and the state?' Few scholars in American history have contributed more to the freedom side of that inquiry than Robert Higgs... In Delusions of Power, Professor Higgs has assembled a lifetime of wisdom and analysis about this continually-asked question; and future generations will look here for the courageous intellectual fire-power with which to challenge the federal beast that consumes our freedoms every day." —Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, senior judicial analyst, Fox News Channel

"Lively throughout and based on deep historical knowledge, Delusions of Power can be read profitably by anyone interested in the fundamental controversies of economics and politics."   —Timur Kuran, professor of economics and political science, and Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies, Duke University

Author Biography

Robert Higgs is senior fellow in political economy for the Independent Institute and the editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal, the Independent Review. He is also the author of several books, including Against Leviathan, Competition and Coercion, Neither Liberty Nor Safety, Resurgence of the Warfare State, and The Transformation of the American Economy 1865–1914, and the recipient of numerous awards, such as the Gary Schlarbaum Award for Lifetime Defense of Liberty and the Lysander Spooner Award for Advancing the Literature of Liberty. He lives in Covington, Louisiana.

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