The Human Action Podcast-logo

The Human Action Podcast


The Human Action Podcast features in-depth interviews on current topics in economics through an Austro-libertarian lens.

The Human Action Podcast features in-depth interviews on current topics in economics through an Austro-libertarian lens.


Auburn, AL




The Human Action Podcast features in-depth interviews on current topics in economics through an Austro-libertarian lens.








The State of Austrian Economics

To kick off the New Year, Jeff recently had the opportunity to address a Discord channel dedicated to Austrian Economics. His talk focused on the state of economics generally, whether the profession is serving society, how economists failed us throughout the Covid hysteria, and especially the health and relevance of the Austrian school. This is a great survey of the role economics (and economists) should play in society. Also includes questions from the audience, emceed by channel host JW...


Paul Gottfried: The End of the Old Right

The Human Action Podcast wraps up the year with none other than the venerable Professor Paul Gottfried! This is our final show focused on the Old Right, the early 20th century political tradition which animated later libertarian figures like Murray Rothbard. How was this great legacy of peace and freedom on the Right—the Old Republic—lost to Cold Warriors and neoconservatives? Nobody is a better sociologist of American conservatism than Dr. Gottfried, and nobody is more compelling and...


Tom Woods on the Old Right

We continue our look at leading figures from the Old Right with guest Tom Woods, who helped publish the late Murray Rothbard's The Betrayal of the American Right. Rothbard admired the courageous and revisionist voices promoting the Old Republic, and shared their antagonism for war and economic intervention. Tom and Jeff discuss great essays like Albert J. Nock's "Isaiah's Job" and Frank Chodorov's "The Ethic of the Peddler Class;" the latter a rousing defense of the merchant class against...


Jim Bovard on H.L. Mencken

HL Mencken is the writer you need to read immediately. He was savagely brilliant, caustic, and witty, but also prolific across genres in ways almost unthinkable of journalists today. His skill with the English language was virtually unmatched in the 20th century, as was his deep and abiding contempt for utopian statism in any form. And his broadsides against two world wars were incredibly courageous at the time. Our great friend Jim Bovard joins the show to discuss Mencken's work, his...


Garet Garrett's "The Revolution Was"

Garet Garrett was among the most important figures from the literary, political, and laissez-faire economic traditions of the Old Right, but his name is hardly known today. In 1938 he penned "The Revolution Was," a remarkable essay about FDR's revolutionary New Deal and, more importantly, how it was accomplished. FDR's revolution had already happened, though few Americans understood it or grasped what the triumph of an administrative state would mean. The New Deal was a revolution "with the...


Realistic Prospects for Secession and Decentralization

This week's show features a panel discussion recorded in late October at our annual Supporters Summit. Panelists Ryan McMaken, Jeff Deist, Mike Maharrey, and Tho Bishop lay out real strategies for achieving decentralization. Includes an introduction by Joey Clark. Recorded in St. Petersburg, Florida on October 22, 2021.


Daniel McAdams on the Ron Paul Doctrine

Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute joins the show to discuss what might be termed the Ron Paul Doctrine: a combination of laissez-faire at home, decentralized domestic political power (up to and including secession), robust free trade, and strict non-intervention abroad, This doctrine—which mirrors Mises's prescription for a liberal society—makes no phony distinctions between foreign and domestic policy, or between military and economic interventions. It places peace and property at...


Joe Salerno on Rothbard's History of Economic Thought

We wrap up our look at Murray Rothbard's sprawling two volume An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought with Dr. Joe Salerno, Rothbard's friend and colleague. This show covers the second volume exclusively, starting with the Frenchman JB Say and working through Ricardo, the British Currency School, John Stuart Mill, and finally Karl Marx. Salerno has penetrating insights about all of these thinkers, from Say's understanding of production to Ricardo's erroneous systemization...


Rothbard and Adam Smith

We continue our look at Murray Rothbard's two volume An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought with a show focused on Adam Smith. Rothbard attacked him mercilessly as a plagiarist who set economic theory back decades with his muddled views on value and price. But was this criticism justified, or was Smith actually an early and valiant proponent of laissez-faire? Our guest Hunter Hastings defends Smith in this rollicking discussion, while Professor Jonathan Newman is not so...


Rothbard's History of Economic Thought from Greeks to Physiocrats

Was Adam Smith the founder of modern economics? Not so, says Murray Rothbard in his staggering two-volume An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought. Dr. Patrick Newman joins the show for a look at Rothbard's treatment of economics before Smith—from the Ancient Greeks all the way to the Scottish Enlightenment—and his take no prisoners revisionist approach. Jeff Deist and Dr. Newman cover Aristotle and Plato, Aquinas, Protestants and Catholics in the Middle Ages, Spanish...


Dr. Patrick Newman Introduces Rothbard's History of Economic Thought

Just a few years prior to his death, Murray Rothbard started one of his most ambitious writing projects: a full-fledged, three volume history of economic thought from a uniquely Austrian perspective. Unfortunately he never wrote the third volume, intended to span the post-Marx marginal revolution all the way through the mid-20th century. But the two existing volumes, over 1000 pages, start with ancient Greece and make their way to Adam Smith, Bentham, JS Mill, Ricardo, and Marx. As always,...


Murray Sabrin's New Book on Escaping Medical Fascism

On the heels of Biden's vaccine mandate announcement, Dr. Murray Sabrin joins the show to discuss his new book on escaping the state's medical fascism. Universal Medical Care from Conception to End of Life lays out the sobering reality of our unsustainable "health care" system. It explains the ruinous policies which changed doctors from respected guardians of patients to functionaries for government and third party insurance companies—and the unsustainability of our current path. But the...


Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim

Having branched to our first novel with All Quiet on the Western Front, the Human Action Podcast begs your indulgence for one of the works of 20th century British satire. Lucky Jim is the late Kingsley Amis's seminal send-up of campus life, and it's among your host's favorite books. The book takes place in 1951, and England is trying but failing to lose its class distinctions. The protagonist Jim Dixon is singularly unfit for the academic life he's chosen, and the opportunities for Amis to...


Mark Spitznagel's Safe Haven

Fans of Austrian economics know hedge fund manager Mark Spitznagel as a brilliant thinker thoroughly steeped in Menger, Böhm-Bawerk, Mises, and Rothbard. His excellent 2013 book The Dao of Capital was rooted in Austrian capital theory and "roundaboutness," and his application of of that theory has proven highly beneficial for his investors. Now Spitznagel is back with a new book that directly challenges our understanding of risk. Safe Haven asks, and answers, a fundamental question: Can...


All Quiet on the Western Front

Jeff Deist hosts a solo show to discuss one of his favorite novels from childhood, All Quiet on the Western Front. Its young protagonist Paul Bäumer, barely out of adolescence, narrates the horrors of trench warfare from the perspective only a grunt soldier can provide. Bäumer and his mates lose their innocence, along with various limbs and often their lives. But what makes the book so compelling is not simply the description of wartime savagery, but the dialogue between the men: stripped of...

Russell Kirk's "Libertarians, the Chirping Sectaries"

Professor Bradley Birzer from Hillsdale College joins the show to dissect Russell Kirk's famous 1981 essay condemning libertarians. Is libertarianism necessarily utopian and unworkable, as Kirk suggests? Is it hubris to imagine we don't need the state—or even God—to prevent social chaos? Do libertarians have more in common with Communists than conservatives? Or was Kirk simply attacking an absurd strawman of the atomistic individual, with Rothbard as the particular (unstated) target of his...


Steven Phelan: Startup Stories

Recorded live at Mises University on 24 July 2021. Find Startup Stories: Lessons for Everyday Entrepreneurs at:


The Fiat Standard with Dr. Saifedean Ammous

Saifedean Ammous, famous for The Bitcoin Standard, has a remarkable new book detailing the effects of fiat money on virtually every aspect of society. In the tradition of Guido Hülsmann's The Ethics of Money Production, Ammous returns with The Fiat Standard. From a framework of Austrian economics, this book explains the sordid history of central banks severing currencies from gold redemption—both to finance war and enjoy the political benefits of default. But it also considers the...


Rothbard on Left, Right, and the Prospects for Liberty

Murray Rothbard's seminal 1965 essay "Left and Right: The Prospects for Liberty" reads every bit as well today as it did 50 years ago. Rothbard defines liberalism and conservatism against the backdrop of the European Old Order, and skewers the incoherence of both in their modern forms. This brief work, steeped in history and full of optimism, shows Rothbard as a careful and strategic thinker about ideological and political movements. editors Tho Bishop and Ryan McMaken join the...


John Tamny on When Politicians Panicked

Financial journalist John Tamny has written the definitive book on the disastrous political mismanagement of Covid-19—and the resulting (still unfolding) calamities. When Politicians Panicked is a superb analysis of the economic tradeoffs ignored by alarmist Covid policymakers, and a blow by blow account of their bungling in the early months of 2020. But this is also a book about economic growth, employment, markets and prosperity, with well-supported arguments written in Tamny's clear...