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Economics for Real People: An Introduction to the Austrian School 2nd Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0945466413
ISBN-10: 0945466412
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gene Callahan is a software-technology professional in Connecticut, an adjunct scholar of the Mises Institute, and a commentator on economics issues in venues such as Marketplace and The Free Market. This is his first book.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 351 pages
  • Publisher: Ludwig von Mises Institute; 2nd edition (June 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0945466412
  • ISBN-13: 978-0945466413
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Wow! This was definitely the best book on Economics I have ever read! It was so addictive that I could not stop reading it. It's well written, very accessible, easy to read, entertaining and extremely stimulating as the ideas presented go against conventional wisdom. The ideas are not only logical but they are grounded on real life episodes. It presents Economy as a human social system, centered around the individual free choice. It stresses the importance of looking beyond what is seen to look at what is not seen, which is just important. Today, with the current crisis, more than ever this book is fundamental in order to understand how the world came to this point, and where it's moving towards to. A few key points:
- Real economic growth can only be achieved through Production and Savings and not through Consumption and Debt
- The only real money is attached to a real collateral, such as gold as opposed to the current paper money that the central banks are happy to print out of air
- Central banks should not have the power to "print money" or fix interest rates
- Government intervention should be minimal - subsidies, protectionism, price fixing, regulation, public spending are to be avoided
- Free Markets with the Law of Supply and Demand will tend to maximize the value and wealth of both the individual and society
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Format: Paperback
This book provides an introduction to Austrian economics which is sometimes funny to read.

The first parts lay the philosophical (logical) foundations of Austrian economics and build up a picture of the market economy. This is done by looking at a person living alone on an isolated island (like Robinson Crusoe). Later more people, goods, and money are introduced. In my opinion, this is one of the best explanations of Ricardo's "Law of Comparative Advantage" and the history of money.

According to Austrian economics, the market process does never establish a general equilibrium. Sure, there will sometimes be equilibria in distinct markets, but these cannot last for long. The price informs entrepreneurs of new profitable undertakings, thus destroying the equilibrium. New data will have the same effect. The price will cause entrepreneurs to gradually adjust to their customers' wishes. There is thus no need for a general equilibrium (nor does is actually exist) as in conventional economics for the market process to be beneficial. Unlimited information, perfect competition, and instantaneous action aren't necessary either. The market process consists of learning, discovering opportunities, and adapting to new information. Austrian microeconomics is much more realistic than neoclassical models. (You might guess from this that there are no figures of demand and supply curves within this book. Your guess is correct.)

Later parts introduce the government and show its role in manipulating prices and money, regulations, minimum wages, etc. Callahan's explanation of inflation and deflation is much better than in conventional economics textbooks. The market process will destroy monopolies, because their profits attract new competitors.
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The author writes in any engaging style and uses many of the same instructional models used in the "canon" of Austrian economics. The style is so snappy that it is easy to forget Mr. Callahan is covering a tremendous amount of tremendously important ideas. This is the first book I recommend to anyone who wants a quick and easy introduction to the Austrian school in particular, or economics in general.
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This book should be required reading at the high-school junior-senior level. This will teach you what money is, what your personal role in the economy can be, what the government's role should be and how to consider the current events happening in the world. Open your eyes to a whole new world!
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Is it the ECONOMICS itself that is complex and dismal, or are such the (mainstream) economists' explanations?

Why is there so much fuss about HEALTH CARE? What is the difference between health care AND SHELTER OR FOOD? (both shelter and food are just as vital as healthcare, but as far as I know, I pay for my rent and grocery bills myself)

What is the difference between a BANK AND a SHOE STORE?

Every economic DEBATE on central banking and money in the (mainstream) media is about the same: Is the FED's (or ECB's) current monetary policy too tight or too loose? Will the FED (or ECB) raise or lower interest rates? NO ONE QUESTIONS THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF CENTRAL BANKING. No one discusses fiat paper money vs. commodity money (such as gold standard). WHY?

Is job a right?

Aren't POLITICIANS PLAYING GOD by trying to "beat" the system of free prices - the only system that can solve the problem of alternative allocation of limited resources to meet thousands of different preferences, wants and desires?

If I reject to pay TAXES (because I do not want to support wars and bailouts of politically well-connected businesses, for instance) or SOCIAL SECURITY contributions (because I simply do not believe in the scheme and prefer to plan and save for my retirement myself, or because I do not see why I should sponsor parasits of society) or HEALTH CARE contributions (because I have a private health insurance and do not use state hospitals/doctors, or because I simply choose to have only "catastrophic insurance" - that is, I choose to have a TRUE insurance), I will most likely end up behind bars. WHY?

Is EURO an economic project or a political one?
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