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Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics Paperback – Single Issue Magazine, December 14, 1988
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"A magnificent job of theoretical exposition."
“I strongly recommend that every American acquire some basic knowledge of economics, monetary policy, and the intersection of politics with the economy. No formal classroom is required; a desire to read and learn will suffice. There are countless important books to consider, but the following are an excellent starting point: The Law by Frédéric Bastiat; Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt; What has Government Done to our Money? by Murray Rothbard; The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek; and Economics for Real People by Gene Callahan.
If you simply read and comprehend these relatively short texts, you will know far more than most educated people about economics and government. You certainly will develop a far greater understanding of how supposedly benevolent government policies destroy prosperity. If you care about the future of this country, arm yourself with knowledge and fight back against economic ignorance. We disregard economics and history at our own peril.”
—Ron Paul, Representative from Texas
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A simple, straightforward analysis of economic fallacies that are so prevalent they have almost become a new orthodoxy.
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Top Customer Reviews
That quote from Diogenes would have indeed made a great title for this book.
In review, I must say that I liked the principles that were espoused in the tome. This is not surprising as I, like the author Henry Hazlitt, lean towards economic Libertarianism. Having said that and despite this I would say that it would behoove everyone interested in economics (and EVERYONE should be because economics, or at least those pulling the economic strings, are interested in you) should take a gander at this.
The theories are discussed in layman terms. The reader isn't required to have any special knowledge. In fact, the examples and subject discussions are very basic and simple to follow and easy to understand.
My only criticism is that perhaps Mr. Hazlitt's Libertarian bias perhaps comes through a little too strongly. I personally don't think this is a bad thing; however, it could prevent those with opposing views to overlook the book. In the interest of understanding all sides of the argument I would hope this to not be the case, however.
I think the best two chapters in this book were the last two. The first, Chapter 25, Hazlitt summarizes the principles discussed in his book. "Economics, as we have now seen again, is a science of recognizing secondary consequences. It is also a science of seeing general consequences." Indeed, what Hazlitt addresses throughout this book is "looking for all the consequences of a policy instead of merely resting one's gaze on those immediately visible." Or, as we have come to call it today, "the law of unintended consquences." Hazlitt lays the position that these consequences, with a thorough examination, can be seen and avoided. It is through the examination and awareness of William Graham Sumner's Forgotten Man that we can avoid this unintended consequences.
The last chapter of the book, Chapter 26, is a more of an editorial by Mr. Hazlitt of the lessons learned after thirty years. For an editorial written in 1978 it is surprisingly, and frighteningly accurate to today's economic circumstances. In his editorial, Hazlitt observes that Kenesians are in retreat. Unfortuantely for us, thirty-seven years later, Kenesians apparently have regrouped and are back en force.
"One of the worst results of the retention of the Keynesian myths is that it not only promotes greater and greater inflation, but that it systematically diverts attention from the real causes of our unemployment, such as excessive union wage-rates, minimum wage laws, excessive and prolonged unemployment insurances, and overgenerous relief payments."
"In sum, so far as the politicians are concerned, the lesson that this book tried to instill more than thirty years ago [as of the time of this writing it is not almost 70 years ago] does not seem to have been learned anywhere."
After completeing this book this reader is left wondering how much better the general population would be if the government would "stand a little less between me and the sun."
If you are contemplating reading this book...1) It's an easy read 2) It's brief 3) congratulations for thinking outside the modern economic box.
Chapter 15 summarizes the "lesson"; "The whole argument of this book may be summed up in the statement that in studying the effects of any given economic proposal we must trace not merely the immediate results but the results in the long run, not merely the primary consequences but the secondary consequences, and not merely the effects on some special group but the effects on everyone."
The book consists of 25 lucid yet brief chapters. This is not an Economics 101 book. There is no explanation of Supply and Demand or any other basic terms. The book assumes the reader has a layman's knowledge of economics, but one must not be degreed. The arguments made are in reference to what Hazlitt believes to be major modern economic fallacies; for instance "The Broken Window", Minimum Wage, Protectionism, etc.
There is much talk of William Graham Sumner's "The Forgotten Man", where essentially A+B= -C (The Forgotten Man). The Forgotten Man (who is most likely the reader, unless the reader is in a special interest group) is "the victim of the reformer, social speculator, and the philanthropist". He is the one who must pay for the charity and generosity of his government. It is by no means a book about victimization, but financial empowerment.
Though there are a few places in the book that I wish Hazlitt had elaborated on or I may have a differing opinion altogether, it is certainly Economics in the right direction- Liberty. I was intrigued in the first 5 chapters, but it was Chapter 6 that hooked me. Hazlitt describes the Housing Bubble, exactly as it happened in 2008...except the book was originally written in 1946. Think of this book as a Skeptics Manual to Parlor Tricks. History proves that there are a limited number of government schemes in monetary policy that are played and repeated. Hazlitt attempts to reveal the more powerful ones in this book.
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Take into account, that the title could be misleading, this book may not be...Read more