FEE – In any academic discipline, one can find two types of experts: those who are incapable of explaining complex ideas in a simple manner; and those capable of making the difficult look easy. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the death Henry Hazlitt, one of the few economists who belongs to the second group.
Born in Philadelphia in 1894, Hazlitt developed his career as a journalist in the most influential newspapers and magazines of the country, starting at The Wall Street Journal as a typographer in 1914. During the 1920s, he wrote for several printed media outlets, including The New York Evening Post and The Nation, of which he was appointed literary director.
Hazlitt pointed out that short-sighted economic policies aimed at satisfying the claims of particular groups end up reducing the welfare of the majority.
In 1934, Hazlitt became the chief editorial writer of The New York Times, where he gained a reputation for writing about economics and finance from a free-market perspective. His outspoken opposition to the Bretton Woods Agreement had him fired after 12 successful years at the most important newspaper of the Big Apple. Yet he continued to be dedicated to his passion for writing until his death in 1993.
Despite his lack of formal academic training, Hazlitt showed a deep interest in the field of economics, which led him to write several books on the topic. In 1946, he published one of the best introductory texts on economics ever written: Economics in One Lesson.
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