“There will never be peace in the world as long as Communism exists. We are in a war to the death, and not of our choosing.” — Fred Koch 1960
Fred Koch, the father of libertarian billionaire Charles Koch, wrote those words in a pamphlet entitled “A Business Man Looks at Communism.” He had first-hand experience doing oil business in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, witnessing poverty, brutality and atrocities under Communism.
He also was prophetic when he wrote on p. 18, “At the proper time you will see that Venezuela is as Communist as Cuba.”
Fred Koch was pessimistic about the fight against Marxism-Leninism. He did not foresee the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 or the fall of Soviet socialist central planning in 1991.
But he was right about one thing — The Marxist Communist threat is still alive; world peace is elusive. Russia may have officially renounced the Soviet state, but Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, is an authoritarian and brutal dictator and the greatest threat to peace and prosperity since World War II. The outcome of this battle in Ukraine is still to be determined.
Meanwhile, the Russian invasion has destabilized economies and the markets, and threatened the future of globalization. International trade used to expand every year, but since 2020 has been on the decline.
The Russian war has also ignited a major bull market in oil, precious metals and other commodities.
It is also a stimulus to the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us against some 60 years ago.
As Randolph Bourne, an anti-war writer during World War I, warned, “War is the health of the state.”
Military conflict will increase the pressure on our financial resources at a time when we are vulnerable. The national debt is already over $30 trillion due to profligate spending by Republicans and Democrats. More inflation is on our way.
The Next Threat: Communist China
If Russia succeeds in annexing the Ukraine, will this turn of events embolden China to invade Taiwan?
China has already violated its treaty with Britain and taken over Hong Kong, the former bastion of economic liberty. Until recently, Hong Kong was ranked the #1 territory in the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom Index.
I just finished reading a sobering book, “Today Hong Kong, Tomorrow the World,” about China’s crackdown and its plan to end freedom everywhere. It is available here on Amazon.
The author, Mark L. Clifford, is a veteran journalist who lived in Hong Kong for over 20 years.
Hong Kong used to be my favorite destination in Asia. I was fascinated by its history, how a rock with no drinking water and precious little food sources, could become the richest territory in the world after World War II. It was the perfect model of how a country should operate with limited government, the rule of law, free trade and low tax rates. It has not changed its tax policy in 70 years, and still has a flat tax policy with no tax on capital gains, interest or dividends.
Now, I won’t even set foot in this beloved city for fear of being treated as an enemy of the state.
The Communist Chinese continue to threaten to take over Taiwan, but are bidding their time, waiting for the right opportunity to strike. Will the United States defend Taiwan — the only true Republic of China — and risk World War III?
For investors, the best strategy is a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, technology, real estate, energy and precious metals.
‘A Devastating Critique of Marxism’
The Marxist/Communist attack on capitalism has infiltrated college campuses, Hollywood, the halls of Congress and the boardroom.
Marxists and the New Socialists argue that capitalism benefits only the rich, encourages materialism and greed and causes gross inequality and environmental destruction.
How to fight back?
Chapter 6 of my book “The Making of Modern Economics” is called “Marx Madness: How Marx Plunged Economics into a New Dark Age” and has been called “the most devastating critique of Karl Marx’s theories ever written.” This chapter alone has converted many Marxists into free-market advocates.
A student at the University of the Philippines, a hotbed of Marxism, typed up the entire chapter and emailed it to all his friends. The Marxist professors were so mad they banned my book from the library. Yet it stopped the Communist Party from gaining a foothold on campus.
‘Skousen’s Textbook is by Far the Best’
Speaking of my textbook, I received the following letter last week from Jeff Myers, president of Summit Ministries in Colorado Springs:
“My mission is to prepare students for the onslaught of socialistic and Marxist college educators. This involves reading a lot of textbooks so I can understand what they are facing in class. I’ve read the top textbooks in economics today and The Making of Modern Economics by Mark Skousen is by far the best. Honestly, there isn’t even a close second. Skousen’s book vibrantly brings history’s economic thinkers to life, coherently explains key economic concepts and builds a foundation for free thinking and economic flourishing.”
Thank you, Jeff.
The New, Fourth Edition of ‘Making of Modern Economics’ is Out!
I’m happy to announce that the brand-new fourth edition of “The Making of Modern Economics” has just been published by the prestigious publisher Routledge (publisher of the works of Friedrich Hayek). Guess who the hero is of my book?
It is now the most popular history textbook of the great economic thinkers used in the classroom. As Roger Garrison, professor at Auburn University, states, “My students love it. Skousen makes the history of economics come alive like no other textbook.”
It is the only history textbook that reads like a novel, with a hero (Adam Smith and his “system of natural liberty”) who constantly comes under attack by the socialists, Marxists and Keynesians. He is sometimes left for dead but then is miraculously resuscitated by the French laissez-faire school of thought, the Austrians, the supply-siders and the Chicago School of economics.
Spoiler Alert! It even has a good ending when the Adam Smith model triumphs with the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet socialist central planning model.
The fourth edition updates the dramatic story with the challenges of modern monetary theory, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, minimum wage debates, the new socialists and more.
Click here for more information.
The book is award-winning. It has won the Choice Book Award for Academic Excellence, and it was ranked #2 Best Libertarian Books in Economics by the Ayn Rand Institute (behind Henry Hazlitt’s “Economics in One Lesson”).
Here’s what reviewers are saying:
“The most interesting and lively book on the history of economic thought ever written.” — Douglas A. Irwin, Dartmouth College, United Kingdom
“A story rarely told… It’s unputdownable!” — Mark Blaug, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
“Provocative, engaging, anything but dismal!” — N. Gregory Mankiw, Harvard University, The United States
“All histories of economics are BS — Before Skousen! Live and accurate, a sure bestseller.” — Milton Friedman
“Mark’s book is fun to read on every page. I have read it three times. I love this book and have recommended it to dozens of my friends.” — John Mackey (CEO, Whole Foods Market)
“Mark Skousen is a great economist, great entrepreneur and great friend. His book brings history to life, with concise and incisive sketches of flesh and blood individuals. Read it!” — Steve Forbes
Get 50% Off by Ordering it from the Author
Routledge charges $54.95, plus shipping, but you can buy it directly from the author for only $35. Each copy is autographed, dated and mailed for no extra charge if mailed inside the United States.
To buy your copy, go to www.skousenbooks.com.
Good investing, AEIOU,
You Blew It!
Was George III an Enlightened King or a Tyrant?
Americans familiar with the history of our founding have regarded George III, as “the cruelest tyrant of this age” (eighteenth century), “a sovereign who inflicted more profound and enduring injuries upon this country than any other modern English king” (W.E.H. Lecky, nineteenth century), “one of England’s most disastrous kings” (J.H. Plumb, twentieth century) and as the pompous monarch of the musical Hamilton (twenty-first century).
But British historian Andrew Roberts begs to differ in his new book, “The Last King of America: The Misunderstood Reign of George III.”
In 784 pages, he portrays George as intelligent, benevolent, scrupulously devoted to the constitution of his country and (as head of government as well as head of state) skilled in navigating the turbulence of eighteenth-century politics with a strong sense of honor and duty.
He was a devoted husband and family man, a great patron of the arts and sciences, keen to advance Britain’s agricultural capacity (“Farmer George”) and determined that her horizons should be global. He could be stubborn and self-righteous, but he was also brave, brushing aside numerous assassination attempts, galvanizing his ministers and generals at moments of crisis and stoic in the face of his descent — five times during his life — into a horrifying loss of mind.
According to Roberts, the list of crimes in the Declaration of Independence applied more to a British prime minister and his ministers than to the king, and was “largely Jeffersonian propaganda.”
Roberts concludes, “the people who knew George III best loved him the most,” and that far from being a tyrant or incompetent, George III was one of our most admirable monarchs.
Can this really be true, that George III was “neither ignorant nor a tyrant,” and that the king was “neither ignorant nor a tyrant” but rather a defender of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” — and somehow his ministers were the culprits, not the king, of the disastrous campaign against the American colonists?
Roberts undercuts his own argument when he states, “In every clash that was to come, however, the king declared himself a champion of the rights of the Westminster Parliament over his American colonies.” Such is not the approach of a flexible, thoughtful leader. George was incredibly stubborn.
What about the Egregious Mistreatment of American POWs?
Interestingly, Roberts’ book says nothing about the American prisoner of war (POW) scandal and mistreatment by the British. “American prisoners” and “prisoners” does not appear in the index.
Benjamin Franklin, as ambassador to France during the American Revolution, wrote the following in 1777 about the severe treatment of American POWs in England, suggesting that there were traditional rules about the treatment of prisoners during the American Revolution:
“I informed Mr. Hartley [David Hartley, British statesman, scientist, and member of Parliament who helped negotiate the peace and exchange of prisoners] that our prisoners in English jails complained of very severe treatment, contrary to every rule of war among civilized nations. Far from friends and families, and with winter coming on, they suffered extremely, were fed scantily on bad provisions, and were without warm lodging, clothes or fire; and not suffering to write or receive visits from their friends, or even from the humane and charitable among their enemies… Our people were not allowed the use of pen and ink, nor the sights of newspapers, nor the conversation of friends.”
He added, “I assured Mr. Hartley that prisoners in America were treated with great kindness, and were served with the same rations of wholesome provisions with our troops; comfortable lodgings were provided for them, and they were allowed large bounds of villages in a health air, to walk and amuse themselves in upon their parole.
“I petitioned him, and later Lord North, to find a trusty, humane, discreet person who would undertake to distribute what relief we could afford to those unhappy brave men, martyrs to the cause of liberty.”
Surely if Mr. Hartley and Lord North [prime minister during the war] knew about the awful conditions of the American prisoners, would not King George III be so informed?
Franklin worked constantly to exchange prisoners with the British after four years of “cruel captivity,” and eventually succeeded to some extent.
Even after the victory at Yorktown, Franklin wrote, “Despite the victory at Yorktown, there were still nearly a thousand of our brave fellows prisoners in England, and 200 in Ireland, who were destitute of every necessity, and died daily in numbers. All were committed and charged with high treason. Many had patiently endured the hardships of that confinement several years, resisting every temptation to serve our enemies.”
It wasn’t until May 13, 1782, before all American prisoners were finally released (actually not until 1783).
I’ve been reading historian Edward Burrow’s “Forgotten Patriots: The Untold Story of American Prisoners During the American Revolution” (2008) and he writes extensively about newspaper reports and Congressional reports exposing the mistreatment of American POWs, many of which were distributed widely in the United Kingdom and Europe.
I can’t image the King of England being ignorant of such nefarious activity, it was so brutal, 40% deaths in the prison hulks in New York… There are open letters to the Lord Mayor of London complaining about conditions… How could the King not know about these things?
Burrow simply says the King was “indifferent” toward the American POWs, which were treated as “traitors” and therefore did not need to be treated as POWs with certain rights.
In conclusion, I prefer this scene from the musical “1776.”