- Paperback: 218 pages
- Publisher: Crown Business; paperback edition (December 14, 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0517548232
- ISBN-13: 978-0517548233
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (837 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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Hazlitt was a remarkably lucid writer, and this short book is justly regarded as a classic....But it comes across even better in Jeff Riggenbach's interpretation. Riggenbach has a knack for making routine discursive sentences come alive...he could be a college professor lecturing, the kind of lecturer who really can teach. He sounds reasonable, engaging and thoroughly likeable. --AudioFile
If there were a Nobel Prize for clear economic thinking, Mr. Hazlitt s book would be a worthy recipient...like a surgeon s scalpel, it cuts through...much nonsense that has been written in recent years about our economic ailments. --J. W. Hanes (former undersecretary of the treasury) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
A simple, straightforward analysis of economic fallacies that are so prevalent they have almost become a new orthodoxy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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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."
"The policy of inflation, as I have said, is partly imposed for its own sake. More than forty years after the publication of John Maynard Keynes' "General Theory", and more than twenty years after that book has been thoroughly discredited by analysis and experience, a great number of our politicians are still unceasingly recommending more deficit spending in order to cure or reduce existing unemployment. An appalling irony is that they are making these recommendations when the federal government has already been running a deficit for forty-one out of the last forty-eight years and when that deficit has been reaching dimensions of $50 billion a year. 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 insurance, and overgenerous relief payments. But the inflation, though in part often deliberate, is today mainly the consequence of other government economic interventions. It is the consequence, in brief, of the Redistributive State--of all the policies of expropriating money from Peter in order to lavish it on Paul."
The above analysis was written 35 years ago and our politicians are still making the same mistakes as though they are incapable of learning from history. It appears that most of those in the House and Senate, the Federal Reserve, and Obama and all of his economic advisers are still clinging to Keynesian principles even though they have never worked. This book should be required reading for anyone holding political office at any level of government. The book should also be highly recommended for anyone looking for a common sense approach to basic economics.