Author(s): Thomas SowellDownload
Basic Economics is a citizen’s guide to economics-for those who want to understand how the economy works but have no interest in jargon or equations. Sowell reveals the general principles behind any kind of economy-capitalist, socialist, feudal, and so on. In readable language, he shows how to critique economic policies in terms of the incentives they create, rather than the goals they proclaim. With clear explanations of the entire field, from rent control and the rise and fall of businesses to the international balance of payments, this is the first book for anyone who wishes to understand how the economy functions.
Some Reviews: 771 in Goodreads.com
“For those who are willing to stop and think, basic economics provides some tools for evaluating policies and proposals in terms of their logical implications and empirical consequences”
Honestly I couldn’t have summed up this book any better than that. Dr. Sowell has a way of plainly and concisely presenting economic principals. In this book he solely (no pun intended) used words to illustrate economic concepts. I feel like this book is a perfect introduction to economics and it has sparked my interest in this discipline. In short, Dr. Sowell is the homie.
Economics is at the same time a fascinating and rather complex subject. It is fascinating since it touches on so many aspects of our lives, and it is complex due to the highly technical analysis that is oftentimes required to be mastered in order for Economics to be fully appreciated. This technical complexity oftentimes obscures rather simple principles that underlie most economic phenomena. The well known relationship between a supply and demand is one of those, and a good example of a simple concept that is oftentimes misunderstood, ignored, or downright overlooked in everyday circumstances, especially when political considerations are at play.
Thomas Sowell begins the book with one of the most insightful definition of what is economics. In this view, economics is nothing but a study of limited resources for which there are alternative uses. In heaven, there would be unlimited resources; in hell no alternative uses. In the real world we need to take into account the limitations that are imposed on us by the facts. Each use of a product or a resource prevents other viable uses. Economics is ultimately the science of tradeoffs, and it helps us with making the most rational decisions about those tradeoffs.
This book is primarily aimed at general public and its aim is to make this public literate in terms of thinking and understanding economic processes. It is a very readable account, and it contains neither technical jargon nor sophisticated mathematics. All of the examples are taken from everyday experience or the major stories that have been making the news in the recent decades. Hopefully, the book will raise the level of basic literacy and inculcate us from the demagoguery that often accompanies political talk on economic issues.
704 pages or 24 hours of what could and should be a one year course in schools around the world.
This book will give you the basic knowledge about the prices, international trade, investments but also will – probably – make you more sceptic about so called ‘information’ being produced by the media or the politicians. You will also get a better understanding of why price control on food often led to hunger, rent control led to the housing shortage and how increased minimum wage increased unemployment.
‘Much confusion comes from judging economic policies by the goals they proclaim rather than incentives they create […] Unfortunately little of the knowledge and the understanding within the economics profession has reached to the average citizen and voter, leaving politicians free to do things that would never be tolerated if most people understood economics as well as Alfred Marshall understood them century ago.’
What a great book and a great start to studying economics.
Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell is a great book for those not familiar with the field of economics, but who still desire to have a general understanding. It approaches the topic in a verbal way (without equations, graphs, etc), and provides a rich argumentative explanation with a plethora of real-life examples.
The book spans a wide range of topics, from basic principles like supply, demand and prices, to financial concepts like stocks, bonds and banking, and to international concepts like international trades. It does not, however, limit itself to mere explanation. Instead, it presents different fallacies, and argues against them in a straight no-nonsense fashion. In addition, the book often reiterates ideas mentioned previously, in order to make sure that the idea is deeply understood by the reader.
My only problem with the book was the over-confident tone, which, I believe, negatively affects its credibility. Economics has never been a precise science; there are always exceptions that go against common theories. But the book explains all its ideas in a tone which conveys that everything mentioned works 100% of the time, with no exceptions whatsoever, which, to me, reduces the credibility of the book, if only slightly.
Overall, Basic Economics was definitely an investment worth spending my “scarce resources, which have alternative uses.”
Remember back in school (further back for some than others) when our favorite classes were economics and history? Yeah, me neither from way back. Why weren’t there people like Dr. Thomas Sowell and his counterparts teaching economics and history. Today these are my favorite genres to read. Obviously, the subject matter hasn’t changed all that much even with today’s PC spin, so it mostly comes down to HOW it is taught. In Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy by Thomas Sowell we are treated to clear and concise descriptions of basic economic principles along with many real world examples and results showing us the impact of supply and demand, minimum wage legislation, wage and price controls, and comparative advantage. Most of us understand the basics because just sitting through boring lectures still results in some learning by osmosis. The author makes these principles come alive with easy-to-understand examples and explanations. If we could have a Dr. Sowell clone in every high school economics class, we wouldn’t have half of the idiotic proposals being pushed by political actors trying to win over constituents who also don’t understand basic economic principles; especially from former bartenders and communists! An informed and educated populace will always make better choices. If we must continue to have the same boring Econ101 classes, at least we should follow it with Econ102 based on this book. Who knew economics could be this interesting and fun. Read this book and then amaze your friends and family!
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