Who is he: Jim Powell, senior fellow at CATO, is an expert in the history of liberty. Powell has lectured in England, Germany, Japan, Argentina and Brazil as well as at Harvard, Stanford and other universities across the United States. Powell has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Esquire, Audacity/American Heritage and other publications.
Jim Powell is the author of several books, including The Triumph of Liberty, A 2,000 Year History Told Through The Lives Of Freedom's Greatest Champions (Free Press, 2000), with a foreword by Paul Johnson. This book chronicles struggles against tyranny, slavery, war and mass murder. Powell's book FDR's Folly: How Roosevelt and His New Deal Prolonged the Great Depression (2003) reported a wide range of findings – ignored by political historians and biographers – about the unexpected and tragic consequences of New Deal policies.
Powell's book Wilson's War: How Woodrow Wilson's Great Blunder Led To Hitler, Lenin, Stalin And World War II (2005) documented the unintended consequences of US entry in World War I. Powell explained how by backing the British and French, Wilson broke the three-year stalemate and put the British and French in a position to force upon Germany the vindictive Treaty of Versailles, triggering a bitter nationalist reaction that generated political support for Hitler.
Bully Boy: The Truth About Theodore Roosevelt's Legacy (2006) tells how Teddy Roosevelt's policies backfired badly. Powell explains how Roosevelt expanded the arbitrary power of the president, how he promoted the policy of starting wars when the United States was neither attacked nor directly threatened, how his "pure food" law led to loony crusades against corn syrup, blended whiskey and Coca-Cola ("soda fountain dope"), how his "trust-busting" targeted low-cost competitors like Standard Oil whose market share and prices were declining in intensely-competitive markets and how he prevented companies from setting free-market prices, making it harder to raise capital and thereby beginning the decline of America's largest industry.
Background: Jim Powell attended the University of Chicago, which had a definitive impact on his intellectual development into a leading free-market thinker. Powell later became editor of the New Individualist Review at the university. Milton Friedman, whom Powell calls an "outgoing and a dedicated crusader for liberty" was a mentor during his undergraduate years.
As an editor of New Individualist Review, Powell made acquaintance with a host of Chicago-oriented free-market thinkers. These included George Stigler, Yale Brozen and Harold Demsetz. One of his professors was economic historian Earl Hamilton, a mentor for Thomas Sowell when Powell was at Chicago.
Jim Powell was also an acquaintance of Frank Knight, founder of the Fresh-water (free-market oriented) Chicago School. Powell has recalled fondly how Knight gave him his heavily-marked old copy of The Wealth of Nations. Powell used his Chicago connections and education as a springboard to a career that has included the publication of a number of free-market books and an important berth at the CATO Institute.
|09/26/10||Jim Powell on US Political Dysfunction and Four Freedom-Oriented Nobel Prize-Winners|