The Rothbardian Analysis of the State

IS_PP_RAS — with Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Cost: $49   Length: 8 Lectures
Format: Independent Study
Status: Open for enrollment

About the Course

Murray Rothbard was a brilliant Austrian School economist and the most famous libertarian scholar of the twentieth century. Deeply educated in history, political philosophy and science, as well as economics, he was known for his extraordinarily astute analyses of the state and all of its activities.

The recent explosion of interest in the writings of Rothbard (and of Austrian economics in general) has focused on Rothbard’s work on money, banking, and business-cycle theory. The reason for this is the increasingly widespread understanding that it was the Greenspan Fed — and other government policies — that created the housing bubble in 2001 and, subsequently, the “Great Recession” that began in late 2006. Only the Austrians recognized these bubbles and predicted the inevitable bursts.

Rothbard’s work challenges the notion of the Public Choice school of economic thought lead by Nobel laureates James M. Buchanan and George Stigler, who maintain that state is somehow a voluntary organization. His work also demolishes the theory held by mainstream economists that taxation, too, is somehow voluntary. Relying on more than just narrow economic theory, Rothbard’s work explains such phenomena as the role of the state’s “ideological minions,” i.e. the Paul Krugmans and Doris Kearns-Goodwins of the world, the role of ideology, the role of intellectuals, the nature of state coercion, and much more.

This eight-week online course explores Rothbard’s theories about the nature of the state, libertarian class theory, bureaucracy, the economic analysis of government spending and taxing, interventionism and socialism, central banking, war, and other concepts. The goal of the course is to equip students with the kind of economic, historical, and philosophical theoretical framework that Rothbard himself employed so well in analyzing the effects of the state on society.

The topical course outline is as follows:

  1. Rothbard’s “Anatomy of the State”
  2. John C. Calhoun and Libertarian Class Theory
  3. Rothbardian Analysis of Bureaucracy
  4. Rothbardian Analysis of Government Spending
  5. Rothbardian Analysis of Taxation
  6. Interventionism and Socialism
  7. Central Banking and the State
  8. War and the State


All readings for this course are free, available online, and provided to students in a fully-hyperlinked syllabus.

Independent Study

Independent study courses are courses that were presented live in the past. These courses are now offered at a discount to anyone who wants to study independently. All courses include lecture recordings, slides, a complete hyper-linked syllabus, automatically-graded quizzes, and a discussion forum. Professors are not available for academic support for these independent study courses.

Sample Certificate of Participation

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Thomas DiLorenzo

Thomas J. DiLorenzo

Author of The Real LincolnLincoln Unmasked, and Hamilton’s Curse. Dr. DiLorenzo is today’s foremost critic of “Lincoln hagiography”.

DiLorenzo is a professor of economics at Loyola University Maryland and a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, he has written for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, Barron’s, and many other publications.  He is widely published in the academic journals, including the American Economic Review, Economic Inquiry, International Review of Law and Economics, Public Choice, Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, and many others. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Virginia Tech.

Click here to read an interview with Professor DiLorenzo.

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