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Economics for Real People: An Introduction to the Austrian School 1st Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Gene Callahan has remedied that situation with this excellent introductory work. Written in the style of Rothbard, Callahan provides a primer on methodology, economic theory, and a critique of government intervention. The examples are always vivid and at times humorous.
After finishing this book, the reader should tackle Rothbard's Man, Economy and State. Then he should try von Mises's Human Action. Human Action isn't easy, but it will present the reader with the acedmic and theoretical rigor of the Austrian school's greatest exponent. For an introductory work that is more basic that Callahan's, David Gordon's An Introduction to Economic Reasoning is excellent.
He explains the concept of subjective valuation with his individual on the island, then begins adding people and concepts. He quickly takes us through direct exchange, a refutation of the labor theory of value, the introduction of money (including the explanation of the criteria that make something a good choice to use as money), time preference (and how the interest rate serves as the "price" of a time preference), and so on. In the second half of the book he explains concepts that are a bit more abstract - how do central banking and fiat money work? What causes the business cycle? How does a free market system handle externals (benefits or consequences imposed upon those not party to an exchange -e.g. water pollution).
Throughout it all, Callahan cogently makes the case for a truly free market as the only means of efficiently satisfying the desires of a society's members.
There are things I would have liked Callahan to cover better, for instance, a greater discussion of how the neo-classical economists work, and how their theories influence media reporting of economic issues (think about all the indicators that we are bombarded with in the business section of the paper). However, I don't see how he could have covered that material while keeping the book small and readable.Read more ›
For the novice, there are few places to gain a firm grasp on real economics so quickly and painlessly, it's a complete first-year course. After reading this, read, Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt and then, What Has Government Done to Our Money by Murray Rothbard. Also read the daily articles on Mises.org to stay up on current events and to reinforce your newly found expertise in economics.
He builds his discussion, bit by bit, working with the average reader. You don't need to be a pre-PhD to follow what Gene is saying...the old "crawl-walk-run" idea. The sense I had was this was more of a trip where we would go from stop to stop, discussing the concept, then using that to build to the next concept. The great thing is that Callahan doesn't patronize his readers...he expects you're going to work a bit.
Overall, despite my many years of reading Austrian economics texts & pamphlets, I found this back-to-basics approach to be very helpful in bringing my thinking down the stairs of the ivory tower & back onto the streets, making economics the true "beer-and-pizza" description of reality it is (P=MC doesn't taste as good anyway!).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This compares favorably with Economics in One Lesson and also takes a more lighthearted tone. It gives a nice update in rejecting the notion of an "equilibrium" state of... Read morePublished 20 days ago by Chase G.
Economics as a philosophy of human action.
"The subject matter of economics, in the Austrian view, is the logic of economic events, not the correlations existing between... Read more
The title speaks for itself. A great explanation of economics for those not sold on what the mainstream view is conveying in today's world.Published 4 months ago
Excellent book but the kindle version is awful ... the font constantly changes within the same page from large to small and back again. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mark E
An excellent introduction to Austrian economic theory. I dare anyone to read this and disagree.Published 8 months ago by Anna K.
Outstanding introductory primer to the Austrian School of economic thought. It clearly delineates the lines of economic reasoning and through the use of well constructed analogies... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jamie
Economics are difficult for most people to understand in any great detail at best. I had some difficulty getting through parts of it and rated it for the content I was able to... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Dragon Fly