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Basic Economics is a citizen’s guide to economics-for those who want to understand how the economy works but have no interest in jargon or equations. Sowell reveals the general principles behind any kind of economy-capitalist, socialist, feudal, and so on. In readable language, he shows how to critique economic policies in terms of the incentives they create, rather than the goals they proclaim. With clear explanations of the entire field, from rent control and the rise and fall of businesses to the international balance of payments, this is the first book for anyone who wishes to understand how the economy functions.

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Editorial Reviews

George Will
Basic Economics is not only valuable for a general lay-person audience; it would also benefit lawyers, politicians and, yes, economists. . .
Deseret News
All Democrats should be required to read Thomas Sowell's book 'Basic Economics'...
American Spectator
Sowell fans will find it a good read and a good resource.
Laissez-Faire Books
Basic Economics complements Henry Hazlitt's great classic Economics in One Lesson.
Wall Street Journal
Clear and concise . . . Among economists of the past 30 years, [Sowell] stands very proud indeed.
The American Spectator
Basic Economics might do a great service in the hands of the lay voter for whom it is intended. Sowell fans will find it a good read and a good resource. His enemies will be no more inclined than usual to forgive him for deflating their most dearly held myths.
The Washington Times
Dr. Thomas Sowell has just released his latest treasure . . . Basic Economics is not only valuable for a general lay-person audience; it would also benefit lawyers, politicians, and, yes, economists, as well.
Ideas On Liberty
Thomas Sowell is one of the fine scholars of our time.
If there is a single recent book that can advance economic literacy in this country, it is Thomas Sowell's latest book, Basic Economics . . . Sowell has managed to make economics humane again, relevant and interesting to young people and ordinary citizens . . . Buy a copy and read it immediately-no: buy two, and give one to a school teacher, a journalist, or a politician near you!
Claremont Review
Badly needed . . . Anyone who has been subjected to biased and dreary economics textbooks should read Basic Economics as a bracing corrective.
Business Wire
At last there is a citizen's guide to the economy, written by an economist who uses plain English . . . A comprehensive survey.
Library Journal
Syndicated columnist Sowell (economics, Hoover Inst.) is the author of 31 books and monographs on a broad range of topics, including race, culture, education, social policy, philosophy, and economics. In this groundbreaking work, he explains the basics of economics without resorting to the graphs, equations, and jargon that typically fill the textbooks and literature in the field. Along the way, he explains exactly what economics is and what its guiding principles are. Sowell covers a broad range of topics, from scarcity, the balance of trade, and price controls to minimum-wage laws, competition, profits and losses, and the role of government. Intended as a primer for the citizen not trained in the basics of economic theory, this book is flawed only in a somewhat confusing organization that leads to repetition. Recommended for public libraries. Norm Hutcherson, California State Univ., Bakersfield Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Sowell, one of America's best-known economists and a fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, explains the economy in plain English for general readers, covering everything from rent control to the international balance of payments. He uses examples drawn from around the world and from different time periods to show how whole societies create property or poverty for their people by the way they organize their economies. Chapters are in sections on prices, industry and commerce, work and pay, time and risk, the national economy, the international economy, and popular economic fallacies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465002603
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 4/2/2007
  • Edition description: 3RD
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 640

Meet the Author

Thomas Sowell has taught economics at a number of colleges and universities, including Cornell, University of California Los Angeles, and Amherst. He has published both scholarly and popular articles and books on economics, and is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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Table of Contents

Preface     vii
What is Economics?     1
Prices and Markets     9
The Role of Prices     11
Price Controls     38
An Overview     62
Industry and Commerce     87
The Rise and Fall of Businesses     89
The Role of Profits-and Losses     108
Big Business and Government     138
An Overview     162
Work and Pay     181
Productivity and Pay     183
Controlled Labor Markets     207
An Overview     237
Time and Risk     255
Investment and Speculation     257
Risks and Insurance     282
An Overview     307
The National Economy     323
National Output     325
Money and the Banking System     342
Government Functions     364
Government Finance     393
An Overview     419
The International Economy     431
International Trade     433
International Transfers of Wealth     457
An Overview     480
Special Economic Issues     493
Myths about Markets     495
"Non-Economic" Values     518
Parting Thoughts     544
Questions     553
Sources     569
Index     615
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