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News Release
September 1, 2004

New Book Challenges Unchecked U.S. Government Power
Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society

What is fundamentally wrong with government today? With the escalating debate over the abuse of U.S. government power at home and abroad, well-known economist and historian Robert Higgs offers an insightful analysis of the nature and impact of government power in the new book, AGAINST LEVIATHAN: Government Power and a Free Society (The Independent Institute, September 2004).

Government power has grown enormously in size, scope, and intrusion into almost every aspect of civil society during this past century, but how and why has it done so? Is this growth inherent in the nature of government or is it because of some greater social needs? Or are there other causes? In AGAINST LEVIATHAN, Dr. Higgs examines the inefficiencies of government programs such as social security and welfare, misconceptions about war and prosperity, the intrusive efforts of governments to protect people from themselves, and the severe mismanagement of the economy.

In his landmark book, Crisis and Leviathan, Dr. Higgs showed that the growth of government power was a response to national crises from economic upheavals such as the Great Depression to wars including World Wars I and II, the Cold War, and the War on Terrorism. The result is ever-increasing government power, which endures long after each crisis has passed, undermining both civil and economic liberties and economic growth.

In AGAINST LEVIATHAN, Dr. Higgs greatly expands on this incisive analysis for a wide audience by critically examining the nature and impact of the extensive range of special-interest-based government programs and powers, the paternalism of the FDA, the “War on Drugs,” the nature of political leadership, civil liberties, and the conduct of the national surveillance state. Dr. Higgs also makes revealing comparisons of U.S. government response with similar government actions in Western Europe, Japan, China, and elsewhere.

AGAINST LEVIATHAN is a thorough and penetrating critique, which is of significant value in this current time of crisis and unchecked expansion of government power.

Dr. Robert Higgs is Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute and Editor of the Institute's quarterly journal, The Independent Review. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University and has taught at the University of Washington, Lafayette College and Seattle University. He is the author of The Transformation of the American Economy 1865-1914, Competition and Coercion, and Crisis and Leviathan, recognized as one of the classic works on the growth and abuses of big government.

AGAINST LEVIATHAN: Government Power and a Free Society
by Robert Higgs
Date of publication: September 1, 2004
6 x 9, 424 pages
$29.95 Cloth, ISBN 0-945999-95-X
$18.95 Paper, ISBN 0-945999-96-8
Published by The Independent Institute

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