Book Reviews

Reviews of Objective Economics: How Ayn Rand’s Philosophy Changes Everything About Economics
“This is the first economics text to emphasize a central truth about economics: that the fundamental concept of economic thought is economic value. By placing value first and grasping its objective nature, Professor Buechner cuts through the convolutions of modern economics, and provides a solid grounding for issues such as exchange, price, supply, and demand. Students and professionals now have a starting point for economic thinking that is far superior to the “scarcity” or “distribution” models in most texts today. — Dr. John David Lewis, Duke University
“Professor Buechner presents a comprehensive theory of prices demonstrating how the economy is shaped by individual businessmen grasping and evaluating facts of reality.” — Shrikant Rangnekar, Partner,
“Professor Buechner presents a new theory of price in this book. A lifelong admirer of Ayn Rand, he has built his theory on her philosophy of Objectivism, and created an original conception of the economy and how it works. His book is written for the economist or noneconomist, particularly those who always thought “I just can’t understand economics”.
These are some of the original ideas in the book:  Man’s nature as a rational being is the foundation of all economic thought; The law of objective prices holds that every market price is an objective price and therefore reflects a grasp of the relevant economic facts by the men who set the price; Both parties gain from an exchange if both are rational and neither makes a mistake; Every price is set by somebody. There are no impersonal market forces; The price of every product measures its scarcity relative to the scarcity every other product; Finally, and perhaps most importantly, induction is the fundamental means to economic knowledge.
After 40 years as an economic consultant, I wish I had had this book to read when I began my career. — M. KATHRYN EICKHOFF, EICKHOFF ECONOMICS INC.
Once every decade or so a book is published that changes the way people view a topic, even if they consider themselves experts in that area.  I believe that Dr. Buechner’s new text will be one of those rare books.  I was fortunate enough to be a student of Dr. Buechner’s in the 1970’s and I know firsthand that he has a gift for making this complex subject matter entirely understandable.  Those who are not fortunate enough to attend his classes, now have a unique opportunity to get his insights about economics and the moral imperative of free markets.
The authors main contribution is a theory of objective (as opposed to intrinsic or subjective) economic values, which changes everything (as he says) that students have learned about economics for the past 50 years.  In particular, Dr. Buechner describes how objective prices and wages are determined and how and why they rise and fall.  Throughout the presentation of his theory, Dr. Buechner clearly explains the philosophical support for his ideas, specifically referencing the works of famed thinker, Ayn Rand, who developed the Philosophy of Objectivism.  All of his arguments are tied to reality – to how men actually behave in the real world.
We do not have a free economic system, one free of government interference, in the US today.  Dr. Buechner clearly explains how a free economy – laissez-faire capitalism – would work, if it did exist.  Perhaps, this book will help bring that about.  In fact, Dr. Buechner’s general thesis is the practicality of laissez-faire capitalism.
The book discusses familiar economic topics, such as supply and demand, marginal costs, and profit maximization, but in an entirely new and engaging manner that bring these important concepts to life and makes them understandable.  Students will benefit from the clearly expressed, logical arguments that presuppose no foreknowledge of economics or philosophy.  Along the way, they will learn something very useful that will help them lead their lives productively.
The author’s strong defense of the profit motive, based on the ethics of rational self-interest, is augmented with four short appendices in which he presents a critique of modern economics – those flawed theories that students have been taught in economics courses for many past decades.  For the sake of comparison, he recommends that these sections be read first by those already familiar with these theories.  I agree.
Forget the pop-culture economics books that have appeared on the scene in recent years with their anecdotes about crime waves and parking meters and armchair explanations of why the world behaves the way it does.  These may be entertaining, but if one truly wishes to learn about the not so “dismal science,” Objective Economics is the book to read.  I intend to recommend it to all of my students. — Dr. George A. Mangiero, Department of Finance and Business Economics, Iona College, New York