Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson" in Bulgarian

It is pleasant to brag and I think there is nothing wrong with a little bragging after having done a good job.
Some time ago I wrote how nice it would be to make Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson known to the Bulgarian reader. Recently, the book was published in Bulgarian in my translation. The price is 10 leva; more details at the sites of the publishers MaK and Iztok-Zapad.
Economics in One Lesson defends the free market with simple and logical arguments understandable for a broad circle of readers (i.e. no special expertise in economics is needed). I am glad that the book is published in Bulgaria right now, in the midst of the global economic crisis. Unfortunately, market disturbancies mess with people's heads and we are seeing more and more economists who are expected to be in their right mind to insist on stronger government intervention in economy and even for total government control. Here in Bulgaria, we have been there and done this. Let's prefer experience, logic and common sense.

The above text is a literal translation of my May 9 post on the subject on my Bulgarian blog. After that post, I had a discussion with a Bulgarian-American commenter. She expressed disagreement with me and said that every single sane economist is now demanding more government intervention. She also cited a Nobel Prize-winning economist who seriously stated that free market must be abandoned and replaced with another economic system. I didn't quite understand what exactly this new system was supposed to be; it seemed that only the mighty intellect of a Nobel Prize winner could do such a feat. Because my rule is to avoid advertising the enemy for free, I won't give the name of the guy here. I am writing about him just to show that the problem turned out to be much more serious than I was anticipating. Where are the sane and honest economists? Please speak out and try to bring people back to their senses! We lay folks cannot and should not fight your battle. I am too often bashing arrogant ignorant people to risk presenting myself as one of them, a lay person criticizing experts. Anyway, with my translation of Hazlitt's book I have already done my best.
Instant update: I decided, however, to reveal the identity of my renowned in-absentia opponent - Paul Krugman.


Charles N. Steele said...

Keep up the good work!

If I were asked to name an insane economist, Paul Krugman would be the first name to come to mind, followed by Brad Delong. Both are smart and used to be reasonably sharp economists. But of late they've let their politics drive them mad. Neither one is even capable of civil discussion at this point.

Markus said...

Hi Maya!

First of all great job with translating Economics in One Lesson! The more people who have access to it the better.

Secondly, I'm interested myself in translating the very same book into Swedish, and was wondering if you could answer some questions regarding this:

1. Where did you turn to get the permission to translate the book? Is it Three Rivers Press who own the copyright?

2. Does the copyright holder charge a license fee for every sold copy of your book, and if so how much?

3. How long did it take you to do the translation?

Once again congratulations on getting your work published!

/ Markus from Sweden

Maya M said...

Charles, thank you! I am relieved that at least some professionals don't share the worship of P. Krugman.
Markus, I only translated the book, I did not publish it. In fact, the same legal questions that are bothering you now would dissuade me from trying to publish it myself, even if I had the necessary capital.
I needed several months to do the translation because I was working on evenings (my days were occupied by my full-time job). At that stage, I didn't take any permission and don't think I had to. Though publishers ban storage of their products in a retrieval system, I don't think this is big deal, as long as the files are on your personal hard disk and you don't disseminate them in any way.
Then, I handed my translation to a publisher and let them do their work. They have presumably contacted the copyright holder, got the permission and paid or agreed to pay something, but I haven't asked about these details - they are publishers' job, not mine. So I'm afraid I cannot help you in these matters.
My advice is, if you have no experience and expertise in publishing, find some publisher and let them manage publishing matters.
Try to "lure" a publisher BEFORE translating. My strategy (first translating, then contacting a publisher) was very risky. If nobody had agreed to publish the book, or if they had preferred somebody else's translation, my entire work would have remained just an exercise in English.

Chuck Horton said...

The Nobel Prize committee on economics must be very embarrassed with their selection of Krugman for one of their awards. The complete nonsense that he routinely writes in his columns refutes any claims to intelligence that he may have made at one time. The sadness is that while economics is a relatively simple science to understand, relatively few people do. So his stature from this award gives the nonsense spewing from his pen much more authority than it deserves.