430 pages, softcover
CRISIS AND LEVIATHAN: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government
by Robert Higgs*
Everyone knows that government has continually grown in size and scope during this century, but why has it done so? Is this growth inherent in the nature of government or because some social needs, or are there other causes? Higgs shows the main reason lies in government's responses to crises (real or imagined), either economic (e.g., the Great Depression) or military (e.g., World Wars I and II). The result is increased government which remains in place long after the crisis has passed. As government power grows, writes Higgs, it achieves a form of autonomy, making it difficult to decrease the size and power of the government, and resist its efforts to further increase its power and reach. One of the most important books ever written on the nature of government power, Crisis and Leviathan is a potent book whose message becomes more relevant with each passing day!
Insightful, compelling, and clear, Higgs breaks new ground in explicating the most important socio-political trend of our timethe growth of American government.
Ideas on Liberty
Crisis and Leviathan is a book of major importance, thoroughly researched, closely argued, and meticulously documented. It should be high on the reading list of every serious student of the American political system.
Political Science Quarterly
Crisis and Leviathan is an important, powerful, and profoundly disturbing book.
James M. Buchanan, Nobel Laureate in Economic Science, Journal of Economic History
What is most exciting and intriguing about Crisis and Leviathan is that Higgs is now working within the tradition of economic history exemplified by Schumpeter and Polanyi. Like them, and unlike the new economic historians, Higgs refuses to treat political, cultural, or ideological aspects of historical reality as irrelevant to the study of economic development.
Reviews in American History
Crisis and Leviathan is a thoughtful and challenging work.
How big governjment gets that way: It takes over new turf in time of crisis, then hangs on to much of it after the crisis over.
I can think of no more important reading than Crisis and Leviathan, aside from the Constitution itself.
The American Spectator
*Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow in Polictical Economy and Editor of The Independent Review at The Independent Institute in Oakland, California.