- Hardcover: 704 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; 5 edition (December 2, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465060730
- ISBN-13: 978-0465060733
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.9 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 622 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Basic Economics 5th Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
''Clear and concise . . . Among economists of the past thirty years, [Sowell] stands very proud indeed.'' --Wall Street Journal
''At last there is a citizen's guide to the economy, written by an economist who uses plain English . . . A comprehensive survey.'' --Business Wire --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
About the Author
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
In Basic Economics, he reminds you that economics is the study of the use of scarce resources which have alternative uses. And with this fundamental truth in mind we see a master expositor at work. He derives many economic principles from this easily forgotten fact, offering you real-life examples along the way. This book was, of course, written for the layman. In fact, no prior knowledge of economics is needed before you read it. Yet the book is of such breadth and depth that economist Dr. Walter Williams says "it provides an understanding of some economic phenomena that might prove elusive to a Ph.D. economist."
As you read and become familiar with how Sowell thinks, you will yourself begin to think like an economist. You will learn to judge policies not by their proposed goals, but by the incentives they are likely to create, which may have the opposite effect of their intended goals. You will learn to think about not only a policy's immediate effects, but also its effects in the long run, and not only its effects to a specific group of people, but to everyone. In the process, many of your long-held cherished beliefs may be challenged.
Consider, for instance, minimum wage laws. Sowell explains why increasing the price an employer must pay his employees--though put into law for benevolent reasons--can have unintended bad effects, like an increase in unemployment. He also explains why, for similar reasons, rent control decreases the quality of apartment buildings, or why lowering the price of gas can cause a shortage.
This 5th edition of Basic Economics includes a new chapter on international disparities in wealth. An insightful chapter, Sowell explains why some countries enjoy luxury while others suffer poverty, pointing to such commonly overlooked factors as geography and culture. Another addition is that this book ends with a section of questions covering important economic issues. If you don't know the answer to a question, it tells you where in the book you can find it. This is especially helpful for someone forgetful like me, who must regularly return to refresh on economics. It's also helpful for quizzing yourself to see how well you understood the information.
To say that Sowell's books have boring covers and titles is an understatement. But they provide strong evidence for the claim that "you shouldn't judge a book by its cover." I recommend this book as a must-read to everyone, not just to aspiring economists. (I also highly recommend Henry Hazlitt's Economics in One Lesson.) However, I would be remiss if I did not include in this review any drawbacks, and there's a big one. Basic Economics will leave you more pessimistic for your country than before you opened it.
But Thomas Sowell's presentation in this book is in a manner as if he is constantly defending capitalism from its critics, when I, as a reader assumed no such pretensions.
At the same time, he also fails to explain where the criticism on capitalism emanates from. Its not simply because of politics or the selfishness of politicians. I think its because humans cannot be simplified as commodities. Unchecked capitalism will lead to revolts and social unrest because unlike the scholars or policy makers, the general public cannot look past their immediate problems. They need to believe that they have some hold on their destiny.
The first four sections on microeconomics are the best. I wish everyone in America would read that part of the book as Economics 101. And he only displays a hint of ideology in those sections. He simply explains how businesses in a competitive market produces and allocates products so efficiently that a central organizing force isn't needed. It isn't ideological to show how this works, since most of the American economy actually works this way. Even many who have taken college economic courses don't seem to understand how real private markets work. Sowell explains it all here.
The last three sections are a discussion of macroeconomics, and the book becomes more ideological at this point. It is also less convincing. These sections are also well written, but they aren't equal to the brilliant treatise of the microeconomics sections.
For those who believe that the free enterprise system is over-rated, this is the one book for you to read to understand your ideological opponents. If you can refute the arguments made in this book, you will have succeeded in making a significant contribution to economic thought. Unlike many books you can find today in the bookstore, this is no straw man of free enterprise proponents.
Most recent customer reviews
Everyone should absolutely read this.