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Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One Hardcover – Bargain Price, December 8, 2008
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"Thomas Sowell is one of the fine scholars of our time."
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Every voter should read this to inoculate themselves from the lies of our politicians. The book is non-partisan, exposing the political thinking of both US parties, as well as many others in other countries.
If you don't think you are interested in economics, you should be, because it affects the life of every man, woman and child on the planet. This book makes what can be a dry subject interesting. It's hard to put down!
Economics can also help to clarify the longer-term consequences of those decisions, what Sowell calls the stage two consequences. Political decision making (or rather politicians) often ignore this stage. Since their primary motivation is usually to remain in power, they are mostly interested in short-term results that will appear before the next election. They also prefer to talk about "solutions" rather than trade-offs. They sell benefits but hide costs. The necessary corrective to this is an informed electorate to hold them accountable. That's where books like this one come in.
Sowell's presentation is very compelling and richly illustrated with examples from economic and social history. Since a large percentage of the bad ideas currently in circulation have already been tried, it makes a great deal of sense to look at the outcomes.
There is a fair bit of overlap between this book and Sowell's 2007 title "Economic Facts and Fallacies." Both are very worthwhile but if -- like most people -- you haven't got time for both, I would recommend this one.
The newly revised and expanded 2009 edition includes a new chapter on the Economics of Immigration and new material that is particularly timely in the chapters on the Economics of Housing and the Economics of Medical Care. In addition to these three, there is a discussion of the economic aspects of labor, risk, discrimination, and the development of nations.