Hoppe: A Short History of Man: Progress and Decline

Hoppe: A Short History of Man: Progress and Decline (2015)

Hans-Hermann Hoppe applies the logic of human action to explain three major events in world history: the Neolithic Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and the rise of states that exercise the monopoly right of coercion over a limited territory. The first chapter presents a good, quick defense of rationalism and the reconstruction of the empirical facts of history to meet theory. Primarily he uses the division of labor, the concept of comparative advantage, and the law of returns, to explain the existence of various historical modes of production.

Hoppe argues that social evolution and the rise of IQ over time allowed humans to break through stages of production. When IQ was high enough, and language had evolved beyond grunts and gestures, humans could participate in cooperative forms of exchange, and could recognize the importance of private property. When the average intelligence was high enough, we could focus on farming. Thus we have the Neolithic Revolution. Greater intelligence was also needed to devise and manage the technologies that created that Industrial Revolution, which of course expanded the division of labor many fold, and enabled our species to break through the Malthusian trap, whereby all economic growth was previously consumed by expanding populations. Hoppe believes that intelligence is largely genetic, and that intelligent genes were at an evolutionary advantage throughout much of history. Competition for resources was greater in temperature zones than in tropical or arctic zones, so more intelligent people evolved in places like Europe, where of course, the Industrial Revolution first took place.

Also in Europe, natural elites rose to power and ruled under common law systems, but their rule was checked by the threat of revolt. If you didn’t already know from his previous book, Democracy: the God that Failed, Hoppe despises democracy because it enables the welfare state, which guarantees that the most intelligent will lose their evolutionary advantage. This is probably the most politically incorrect history that could be possibly written, and I haven’t even mentioned his discussion of the social evolution of sex and gender. And oh, the introduction by Lew Rockwell is ridiculous.

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