Most helpful critical review
9 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Serious subject; very feeble book.
on 30 May 2009
As I type this, I see four Amazon reviews, all praising this book fulsomely. They may be planted reviews to help the author; who knows. My view is the exact opposite of theirs...
 There are thirteen chapters, or 'studies' as the author calls them, 'most [grew] out of speeches ... sponsored by the von Mises Institute or Center for Libertarian Studies'. The footnotes are about the same length as the chapters themselves, which probably gives some indication of how badly thought out the material is.
 There's no attempt to define or measure democracy, or power. Hoppe thinks the 20th century was 'democratic' despite the fact that manipulations of the systems gave and still give virtually one party systems in most places. (Hilaire Belloc was quite good on that in the UK.) The voter bases in various countries altered, but Hoppe does not in any way attempt to show what effects this had. As to power, Hoppe quotes US Federal Regulations, 26 feet of library shelf space. '.. it is doubtful whether ... any ["absolute monarch"] wielded [that] kind of authority..' It is doubtful? Hoppe has no way to decide even this simple example. Another example is his commentary on US military adventures and the accompanying disasters to the victims; he never as far as I can see really concludes anything very useful. They were, in my personal view, a disaster. But Hoppe has no way to judge, so his remarks are isolated and purposeless. After all in a sense the military is its own entrepreneurial system, seeking ways to maximise itself. There's nothing on financial power as a lever affecting opinions.
 As might be expected from the sources of these lectures, and the fact that Hoppe received anonymous money, the whole emphasis is economic in the US corporate sense: Hoppe seems to have no idea of technologies - maybe oil will run out; what then? - but has a sort of 1950s blissful assumption that all will be well.
A good book summarising democracy in what may turn out to be a post-democratic era, would be valuable: the original ideologues, the way it was tried, the ways in which it was deformed, the theories of why it should work, or, if you're e.g. a monarchist, as Hoppe seems to be, why it shouldn't, voting systems and their characteristics, education, etc etc, are not dealt with here, in any way at all. This book is badly-written and of no interest except as a specimen of what happens when donors don't donate wisely.