Talk:Henry Hazlitt

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Education?[edit]

Omitting his educational background is a flaw in an article about someone with a reputation as a philosopher and economist. Tex

I've touched on this in a one-sentence biographical sketch. GMcGath 23:17, 10 June 2006 (UTC)
Many thanks... Tex 02:38, 13 June 2006 (UTC)


He doesn't even have a bachelor's degree, so I don't think its legitimate to call him an economist. He is an economic commentator, or something similar, but not an economist. --OneWorld22 00:30, 17 November 2006 (UTC)

You don't have to have a degree to be an economist. Please note this excerpt from the economist article:
A professional working inside of one of many fields of economics or having an academic degree in this subject is an economist, and any person within any of these fields can properly claim to be one, although the broad range of matters coming under this designation makes it a practical impossibility for any individual to master all of them (this is the same as for almost all other fields of knowledge such as medicine or engineering).
There are plenty of notable sources that cite Hazlitt as an economist. For instance, in the Mises Institute's "What is Austrian Economics?"[1] it is stated that:
Yet Hazlitt made his own contributions to the Austrian School. He wrote a line-by-line critique of Keynes's General Theory, defended the writings of Say, and restored him to a central place in Austrian macroeconomic theory. Hazlitt followed Mises's example of intransigent adherence to principle, and as a result was pushed out of four high-profile positions in the journalistic world.
In the 23 August 2004 edition of National Review, Hazlitt is described as "the great economist." In his "Farewell to Henry Hazlitt,"[2] in The New American, Mark D. Isaacs describes Hazlitt as a "largely self-educated economist." According to a Mises.org biography of Hazlitt[3],
When Mencken decided to turn the journal over to a new editor, he named Hazlitt, calling him the 'only competent critic of the arts that I have heard of who was at the same time a competent economist, of practical as well as theoretical training.' And, Mencken added, 'he is one of the few economists in human history who could really write.'
Sounds like a lot of notable people seemed to think that Hazlitt was an economist and not just a "commentator." DickClarkMises 20:47, 17 November 2006 (UTC)


Naturally Austrians consider him an economist- he is definitely a member of their school of thought (as are you it seems, DickClarkMises). If you think someone with a high school degree can be an economist, this makes the title virtually meaningless.

Also, if you look at the sources, they are all conservative or libertarian. This is definitely a biased point of view. Just look at National Review, Mencken, Mises, Mises Institute, etc. The New American is a publication of the John Birch Society, a far-right wing group. You can see the bias on The New American here [4]. If you can find anyone from the middle or the left that thinks he is an economist, then you might have an argument, but otherwise, you've just shown that ideological allies support their friends.
I think that Hazlitt has made a contribution to economics, but it is unfair to describe him as an economist simply because he supports your views. If a Keynesian with a high school degree started commenting on economics, then would you consider him an economist too? OneWorld22 06:46, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
Here on Wikipedia we are supposed to cite notable sources for assertions. It doesn't really matter if you disagree with the positions of those describing Hazlitt as an economist. The question, rather, is whether such notations are notable by Wikipedia standards. Mencken's quote is cited elsewhere, but I was first aware of it from the Mises.org article, which is why I cited that above. And yes, I would argue that someone can lack a formal degree in economics and still be an economist. Again, please read the definition given in the economist article. After all, few would dispute that Adam Smith was an economist, and yet your definition would preclude his description as such since his formal education was in moral philosophy. It is not official Wikipedia policy to restrict labels such as "economist," "philosopher," etc. to only those who have formal degrees in such fields, and I'm not sure why you think such a rule ought to be instated for Hazlitt. Notable sources have said in no uncertain terms that Hazlitt contributed not just to the dissemination of economic ideas, but to a particular school of economic thought. It seems pretty open-and-shut to me, although I hope we can get input from other editors. DickClarkMises 08:33, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
I should also mention that if you are aware of any notable sources that dispute Hazlitt's role as an economist, please cite them. If there is a notable dispute about this, it may be important to note that in the article. DickClarkMises 08:36, 19 November 2006 (UTC)


He is described in the wikipedia article on The Freeman as an economic journalist. (He was the editor of this journal). He is described by the AEI, a right-wing think tank, as an economic journalist, [5], and even The Mises Institute himself describes Hazlitt as an economic journalist, [6]. The Future of Freedom Foundation, a libertarian organization, describes Hazlitt as an economic journalist.[7] I propose that he be described as an economic journalist, as this is how he is considered.
Indeed, I couldn't find a source that discussed him from a moderate or left-wing source, except for Brad DeLong's blog, where Hazlitt isn't described as an economist. Perhaps this speaks to poor researching skills, but it seems like few who opposes his views seems to take him seriously enough to discuss him....
I would agree though that input from other editors would be welcome. OneWorld22 21:12, 19 November 2006 (UTC)
As an update, the former President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Texas, Robert D. McTeer, (who has a PhD in economics) describes Hazlitt as a journalist. [8]. I propose that the label be changed. The New York Sun is yet another right wing source. OneWorld22 22:14, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Hazlitt was a journalist. I am not denying that. He was also an economist. Notable economists cite his work, attribute theoretical contributions to him, and describe him as an economist. The titles "journalist" and "economist" are not mutually exclusive. DickClarkMises 14:47, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
I would be curious to see which serious economists cite his work. His Economics in One Lesson is simply a collection of critiques that had been made before, especially from Bastiat. And as for the Failure of the New Economics, I have never heard of it as a serious critique of Keynes. OneWorld22 22:52, 13 April 2007 (UTC)
Look, the New York Sun[9], National Review[10], The Freeman[11], Timothy Terrell at Wofford[12], this random economics professor from Florida[13], Congressman Ron Paul[14][15], the Heritage Foundation[16], the Mackinac Center for Public Policy[17], the Washington Policy Center[18], and Anthony Chen in the Journal of American History[19] all describe Hazlitt as an "economist." Every one of those sources is easily found by doing a google search for "economist Henry Hazlitt" and are from the first 80 results out of more than 1200. You have yet to show me a single notable, reliable source that disputes Hazlitt's being labeled as such. DickClarkMises 00:03, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
I would add that your wording above is problematic. You say of one of his books, "I have never heard of it as a serious critique of Keynes." Well, that doesn't really matter. He wrote it, and that is undisputed. Other people who are notable for writing about such things thought his efforts were enough to earn him the description as "economist" while no one notable--so far as we know--has contested their claim. Frankly, that is all that matters for an encyclopedia article that is supposed to be written from a Neutral Point of View and with No Original Research. DickClarkMises 00:12, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps we are not understanding each other. When I said "serious economist cite his work", I meant well-respected academic economists citing his work in academic journals, not simply mentioning him in op/eds. I highly doubt anyone considers Hazlitt highly enough to bother diputing his status as an economist. Honestly I am tiring of it as well. If you really feel that the term economist can be applied that lightly, then I suppose it will become so meaningless that it can be applied to any journalist in a business magazine who has written a few books. I for one think it's unfortunate, but I am not going to get in an edit war over it. OneWorld22 07:06, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Well, here is a piece by Gordon Tullock in the Eastern Economic Journal: [20]. Tullock is pretty well credentialed, I feel. In any event, this piece is rather informative on the issue in question. Tullock notes that Hazlitt was an economic correspondent for the NYT and he seems to lament that fact that Hazlitt was largely shunned by the "economic aristocracy." A citation of Hazlitt's theoretical work by Mark Skousen in his book on The Philosophy of Taxation and Public Finance can be found here: [21]. Skousen notes in another book, The Making of Modern Economics ([22]), that some economists indeed objected, as you do, that Hazlitt was not formally trained in economics. I would be happy enough to include a section in the article about this, although I am having trouble finding any other sources that raise this issue. I still think that it is a different thing to say that someone is an economist and to say that they are an academic. So far as I can tell, Hazlitt was the former but not the latter. DickClarkMises 14:05, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Philosopher? Economist?[edit]

Henry Hazlitt wasn't a philosopher or economist. Not because he wasn't educated or trained as one, but he didn't consider himself one. Hazlitt was a journalist and writer who clearly had an excellent understanding of economics and philosophy, and wrote on the subjects often. There's been discussion on this in the past, so I didn't change it outright. But if there aren't any strong objections, the opening sentence needs to be reworded to that effect. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Nathanm mn (talkcontribs) 15:08, 12 April 2007 (UTC).

After a cursory search, I stumbled across this notable source, from the National Review wherein Hazlitt is explicitly described not only as an economist, but as a "great economist": [23]. This appellation is not notably controversial, so far as I know. Could you cite a reliable source stating that calling Hazlitt an "economist" is controversial or incorrect? More directly related to your assertion above, could you produce a source that bolsters your claim that Hazlitt "didn't consider himself" to be an economist? Please see also the earlier discussion that took place on this talk page. DickClarkMises 18:22, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
This New York Sun book review also describes Hazlitt as an economist: [24]. DickClarkMises 19:15, 12 April 2007 (UTC)
Okay, regarding the question of whether or not Hazlitt was a "philosopher," please see the following quote from the mises.org bio:
In the mid-sixties, Hazlitt turned his attention to the ethical basis of capitalism. Thus his book The Foundations of Morality, which Hazlitt has said is his proudest achievement, is the final product of a lifetime of thinking about philosophy.
Remember, a philosopher is "a person devoted to studying and producing results in philosophy." And since "philosophy" can mean any of the following, it seems clear to me that a narrow definition that would restrict the term to, say, instructors of philosophy, is outside of the standard usage of the word:
1. An academic discipline that is often divided into five major branches: logic; metaphysics; epistemology; ethics; and aesthetics.
2. A comprehensive system of belief.
3. A view or outlook regarding fundamental principles underlying some domain.
a philosophy of government
a philosophy of education
4. A general principle (usually moral).
The term used is actually "libertarian philosopher," a label which I would say is quite apt per the third definition above and the numerous books that he wrote on the libertarian philosophy. Since he did write at least one treatise on ethics, specifically, though, it seems safe to label him as a "philosopher" under the first definition, too. DickClarkMises 01:05, 14 April 2007 (UTC)
Hazlitt is referred to as both an "economist" and "philosopher" by Mises, Mencken, Rand, and a host of other highly notable persons, themselves regarded as true "economists" and "philosophers." Indeed, the famous economist and philosopher Ludwig von Mises called him the "economic conscience of the nation" per cited sources in article.Pelagius2 (talk) 20:46, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Add to this the fact that "When he finally left Newsweek, the magazine replaced Hazlitt with [no less than!] three university professors: 'free-market monetarist Milton Friedman of the University of Chicago, middle-of-the-roader Henry Wallich of Yale, and Keynesian Paul A. Samuelson of M.I.T.'" per the cited material in the article.Pelagius2 (talk) 21:27, 17 February 2011 (UTC)
Someone has once more changed this without referring to this discussion. The assertion is made by the editor that "most economists" would not call him an "economist," but no citation is given for this assertion. Hazlitt was published in peer-revied academic journals of economics. Pelagius1 (talk) 02:54, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Undoing Revisions[edit]

There appears to have been no discussion of the changes made to Henry Hazlitt recently. There have also been considerable improvements and additions in recent days. Having checked all of the recent changes, including citations, I can see that there have been alterations involving logical and chronological rearrangement and wording that are substantial -- but also that none of the original factual material or the citations supporting them have been omitted. Indeed, the citations of the same material have been added to and the material cited best supports the factual material covered in the article. For this reason, I am reverting the changes which alter this by Gabriele499, assuring her that all of the original sources are still cited in the article and more material is now to be found, even if it has been reorganized.Pelagius2 (talk) 03:51, 12 March 2011 (UTC)

"Best Known"?[edit]

Isn't he "best known" today through his books like 'Economics in One Lesson' which discuss the whole of economics, not just the New Deal? During his lifetime, perhaps, but even then his books were at least as famous as his columns. Oolyons (talk) 01:00, 6 January 2012 (UTC) 5 Jan 2012

Influence on Reagan and Conservatives[edit]

Hazlitt's influence on Ronald Reagan and modern conservatism is equally important to mention. CPAC quote provided.Oolyons (talk) 21:35, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

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