Thoughts on economics and liberty

Economics: an Introduction for the General Reader, by Henry Clay

Steve Kates, in his book that I discussed the other day, has strongly recommended Henry Clay's pre-Depression book, Economics: an Introduction for the General Reader.

First published in 1918, this book appears to have gone  through innumerable reprints and was therefore presumably widely read by the educated classes prior to the depression. In appears to be one of the last introductory texts of classical economics before economics was taken over by Keynes. I'll be very interested in reading this book.

Even after Keynes's 1936 book was published, Clay's book apparently continued to be popular, with a print edition coming out in 1951 (there might have been other editions as well – google doesn't necessarily document all editions).

Recently, this book has been revived by Nabu Press (2011) but a few original (used book) prints are still available through Amazon. 

As a first step, I've taken the scanned 1929 version that was available on archives.org and OCRd it, then lightly cleaned up the text to create a Word document. (I prefer Word versions which are easier to read and cut-paste (for citation) if I like a particular text.)

Should you be interested, here are the results of my work (about 5 hours spent on this task).

1. Original scan, truncated, and text-recognised PDF 21 MB

2. OCRd Word version 1.7MB

3. OCRd PDF version 1.6 MB

I'll send off the link to this blog post to Steve Kates for him to use/disseminate among his students. And, time permitting, I'll now try to carefully read what Clay has to say. If Kates found this to be a great book, it must be really good.

I invite you to read it and provide your thoughts, as well.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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