Economists ranging from Bastiat to Marx to Rothbard to Buchanan have used the fictional example of Robinson Crusoe to elucidate issues of basic resource allocation and exchange. Economists’ versions of the isolated-man story, however, often depart significantly from the details rendered in Daniel Defoe’s classic 1719 novel.

Steven G. Horwitz was Distinguished Professor of Free Enterprise and the Director of the Institute for the Study of Political Economy at Ball State University.
Sarah Skwire is a Fellow at Liberty Fund, Inc., a non-profit educational foundation.
Other Independent Review articles by Steven G. Horwitz
Fall 2019 F. A. Hayek: Economics, Political Economy, and Social Philosophy
Fall 2017 Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy
Summer 2017 Inequality: First, Do No Harm
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Other Independent Review articles by Sarah Skwire
Winter 2014/15 Literature and Liberty: Essays in Libertarian Literary Criticism