Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gabriel Kolko, RIP

By Butler Shaffer

Fifty-one years ago, I sat at my typewriter and wrote a very lengthy criticism (seemingly five or more pages) to a lawyer who had just published a book defending anti-trust cases. I gave him a no-holds-barred defense of the free market and a condemnation of those who (like him) wanted to restrain the market. I also sent a copy of the letter to Murray Rothbard – whom I had never met, but whose work I admired. A few days later, I received a response from Murray, suggesting that I might want to take a look at the just-published work of a revisionist economic historian, Gabriel Kolko. I immediately ordered the book – THE TRIUMPH OF CONSERVATISM – and, when it arrived, immediately read it. I later purchased and read his RAILROADS AND REGULATION book. His (and other’s) writings from the left, coupled with revisionists from the right, provided bipartisan encouragement to one who was beginning to learn that the entire political regulatory system was a corporate created and directed racket; that the attacks on the marketplace had their explanations in other than the Randian silliness about “America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business.” Kolko’s death saddens me.

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