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Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics Paperback – December 14, 1988
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“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
From the Inside Flap
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If you have even a passing interest in Economics, pick up this book. You’ll be glad you did!
The LvMI is a staunch believer in libertarian thinking, supposedly, which is largely based on liberty and freedom for all people in all circumstance. The irony then, that they’re using manipulation tactics (used by all western crony capitalist) to rob me of my liberty and freedom to choose, and my $8.
Hazlitt’s (an LvMI scholar) takes pieces of truly great thinkers and twists and changes words to steer in his favor. His logic is illogical, his ideas do not make sense. So poorly thought out I couldn’t finish the book because I was becoming less intelligent with each chapter. This is manipulation marketing, nothing more. A product of western capitalism that circumvents true free market systems, which naturally births innovation and creation (also supposedly) with fair competition for the best products, and substitutes buying out competitors and conglomeration to fool us into thinking a product is best when in reality it’s simply the only product available. Flood the market with their agenda until it’s the only one available.
A libertarian special interest group that tramples liberty of the people and wants only liberty for big business. this does not make sense and is contrary to liberty.
How dumb do they think people are?
The best thing about the book is Hazlitt's reasoned address of life-cycle ramifications of spending decisions. No dry lectures on supply and demand or capital allocation. Hazlitt teaches these concepts through stories of common societal issues. He predicts outcomes through reasoned arguments. The reader can accept or reject Hazlitt's reasoning, but can't walk away uninformed by a different way of thinking. Hazlitt asks the reader to consider what happens next ... and next ... and next...when government (the taxpayer) deliberately inserts itself into a free market system. He drops a pebble in a still pond and gives a name to each ripple that radiates from the disturbance. Extrapolating, "Free" is just a pebble - it is the inevitable ripples that must be named and accepted with eyes (and history books) wide open if determined to proceed.
Hazlitt was a Libertarian and makes no apologies for his preference that government interfere in an economy only when the public good is incontrovertible. That said, he often acknowledges that it is legitimate to make exceptions. These acknowledgement always come with the exhortation that outcomes are reasonably predictable and interference in the natural process comes with peril that must be clearly understood and accounted for before proceeding. Accept his theses or not, you won't finish this book without an alternative understanding of long term effects of capital allocation decisions - public and private. An added benefit is that readers will gain some insight into why fiscal conservatives are so cranky all the time. Alternatively, cranky fiscal conservatives will get to exclaim: "See there!! I'm right!!"
On a personal note: I gave copies of this book to my children and nephews. During their working years, Gens X, Y (Millennial), and Z will most likely inherit an unimaginably swollen public debt. Their life experience so far is that the Keynesian "circle of government spending" cannot, by design, go off the rails. If it becomes a train wreck, I want those in my family to understand this different perspective of economic effects of government involvement in the life of a society. The Austrian school of economics used in Hazlitt's stories is not "The One Truth" some people assert, but it needs to be equally understood by those that, in their lifetime, will be left holding the bag.
Top international reviews
If you believe that government is the answer to every problem then this isn't the book for you - you will disagree with something on almost every page. If you think our government is the problem then buy this now and you will be reassured to discover just how right you are.
I choose this rating because it explains the idea of `free market` which is in this case an economy in which government and bureaucrats creating it make as little amount of regulations as possible. In the beginning of the book author says that it is his intention to convey his message to as wide number of people as possible. That is why he decided to use every-day language in its simplest form. I think that he menage to do it. Thanks to the simplicity of the language I could understand his lesson.
In this book he gives numerous examples in which he shows government attempt to regulate an economy in the name of ..., to make it better and to improve the wellbeing of some groups of interest. He shows how those acts and policies often have unintended consequences which in many cases have derogatory effects on economy as a whole. He reminds as that as with many things there are two sides of the story, one negative and one positive.
If you read it then you will be able to notice deceptions and illusions which are created intentionally or not by bureaucrats and politicians and other economist.
It is a small refreshing book. In the end of the book you will be rewarded with a nice list of books to read.
Everyone can read it, and that is what makes this book amazing. It was pleasure to read it because.
If there is a common sense then this book is full of it. You will be surprised how insightful his observations are, just enough to convey the idea without loosing someone in detail.
Someone in reviews wrote that this book is not about economics. That person is wrong. It`s all about economics. It is about the world in which we live and our cooperation with each other in it. It shows how that cooperation can improve our lives or not, and what has positive or negative impact on it.
The media is overloaded with doom and gloom concerning the economy; and they are right. However there is little explanation as to why this financial mess has occurred other than "'twas the banker that did it". The questions that should be asked are: Why is the Eurozone collapsing? Why are anti-capitalists invading the city? Why are students protesting and unions striking and also what would be the outcome if their demands are met? Why is unemployment so high? Why is housing so expensive? And the most important question: What can be done about it? Surprisingly I found the answer in this book.
Here is an excerpt on inflation.
"Like every other tax, inflation acts to determine the individual and business policies we are all forced to follow. It discourages all prudence and thrift. It encourages squandering, gambling, reckless waste of all kind. If often makes it more profitable to speculate than to produce. It tears apart the whole fabric of stable economic relationships. Its inexcusable injustices drive men towards desperate remedies. It plants the seeds of fascism and communism. It leads men to demand totalitarian controls. It ends invariably in bitter disillusion and collapse."
the book itself takes held "assumptions" and dissects them into the world of capitalism - eg governements putting a levy/fixed price on a commodity - the book makes the reader look at the bigger picture so that you can gain an understanding of how the short term benefits will effect the wider community/end users/businesses etc. at the end of this book, hopefully you will learn a hell of a lot about economics and why the subject is so fascinating.
sadly, you will probably come away from reading this book and feel that governments and unions have no idea about economics and the problems they create with the decisions they implement into society. a must read for anyone looking at getting into finance, business, starting a business etc.
The central thesis is the rule of unforeseen or ignored secondary consequences of economic decisions. For example, the tax rate rise which brings in a specified amount for the state, which it will spend on xxx. What you don't see or hear about are the businesses that don't start up because of that tax hike, the jobs that aren't created, and so on.
As you may expect the book is not for those few left who think Keynes had the right idea. This book was first published shortly after the Second World War and updated in the 1970s. Sadly it's as relevant now as it was then. Amazingly prescient.
Mr Hazlitt accepts that economics is "hounded by fallacies" because of the "special pleading of selfish interests". Despite the abuse flung around by their spokespeople, these selfish interests cannot be isolated as pariah groups, because "each one of us has a multiple economic personality". We are both producer and consumer and tax payer. But even if your personalities have already settled on a view, then this book will help you. If you like big government it will give you a clear target to aim at. If you like small government, it will help you state your case.
The book was first published in 1946 at the start of an exponential rise in population and consumption. It does not address current issues like pollution, which, ironically, is something else that affects those who aren't immediate beneficiaries of a transaction. The 1946 edition is online at [...]
If you like this book, you may also like "Attacking faulty reasoning" and "The Richest Man in Babylon".