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Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One
     

Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One

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by Thomas Sowell
 

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Sowell (Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, Stanford U.), writing for a general audience, expounds upon how his brand of free market orthodoxy explains his conservative take on social issues and social welfare. He draws a distinction between economic and political decision-making, with only economics able to see beyond

Overview

Sowell (Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, Stanford U.), writing for a general audience, expounds upon how his brand of free market orthodoxy explains his conservative take on social issues and social welfare. He draws a distinction between economic and political decision-making, with only economics able to see beyond stage one and know the consequences of policy. His accounts of economic theory are applied to questions of medical insurance, low cost housing, international inequality, government regulation of business, and other issues, uniformly demonstrating the wrong-headedness of almost any governmental attempt to address social inequality. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Editorial Reviews

Ideas On Liberty
Thomas Sowell is one of the fine scholars of our time.
Policy
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!
Publishers Weekly
While politicians squabble over the pros and cons of price controls on prescription drugs, onlooking citizens are often left scratching their heads. Many of today's economic issues are obscured by their inherent complexity and the blarney coming from political talking heads. In his follow-up to Basic Economics, Sowell, a leading conservative spokesman and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, seeks to alleviate this confusion. He highlights the major differences between politicians (who act for the short term, i.e., reelection) and economists (who look at the long-range ramifications of policy), and urges voters to keep these differences in mind. Sowell then focuses on a few issues, including some political hot potatoes: medical care, housing, discrimination, insurance and the development of nations. He urges readers to consider not only the intended, immediate goal of a particular policy, but also its unintended, long-range impact. For instance, he says, supporters of nationalized health care overlook the fact that it often results in health-care shortages, reduced quality of services and black markets. The great achievement of Sowell's book is its simplicity. His writing is easy and lucid, an admirable trait considering the topic at hand. This book will not satisfy hard-core economic junkies, and Sowell does not pretend it will. His target audience is the average citizen who has little or no economics background, but would like the tools to think critically about economic issues. Some readers will be turned off by Sowell's preference for free-market principles, but the author is an esteemed economist and his explanations fit well within the mainstream. As a basic primer for the economically perplexed, this volume serves very well. (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This new book is a spirited and controversial examination of how economic choices in public policy often result in unforeseen consequences. Sowell, a professor of public policy at Stanford and author of Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy, examines labor, medical care, housing, and other areas of economic activity. He says that in stage-one thinking, making housing affordable by setting rent controls would seem to be self-evident but that such rent controls both reduce the stock of low-rent housing and cause that stock to deteriorate in condition. He explains that many landlords don't bother to offer properties when rents are low and that those who do find very little incentive to maintain them. On the institution of slavery in the American South, Sowell says slaves were usually better cared for than other laborers because of the slave owners' economic self-interest. He defends the existence of slums as low-cost housing that in the past allowed the residents who chose to live in them to use their funds for other purposes. His predictably laissez faire approach to economics will grate on many readers, but his reasoning is clear and thoughtful. Every library covering economics or public administration will require a copy.-Lawrence R. Maxted, Gannon Univ., Erie, PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780465081431
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
11/11/2003
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.52(h) x 0.93(d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Sowell has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, Amherst and other academic institutions, and his Basic Economics has been translated into six languages. He is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has published in both academic journals in such popular media as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine and Fortune, and writes a syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country.

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Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If everyone were to read this book, we'd have a much better America and world. I honestly mean that. While many critize Dr. Sowell, and brush off his arguments as being 'conservative', he has here produced a work that is filled with fact, not mere opinion. And in fact, if any reader concludes that Sowell's take on the political economy is merely the viewpoint of a conservative economist, then I would argue that his take is that of a right economist, and everyone disagreeing with him is simply wrong. In essence, the facts and studies of real life govenmental control of economic systems and their horrible consequences cannot be refuted. Yet, many liberal politicians keep advocating for many of the same policies Sowell shows to be idiotic. If only everyone would read this book. In closing, my suggestion is this: Buy two copies - one for yourself and one for a friend. Read it carefully, underline the main points, and then laugh everytime a politician says 'affordable health care.'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I totally agree with the review by 'Policy': 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,(no, buy ten - TA) and give [them] to a school teacher, a journalist, or a politician near you!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This excellent, short, clear book should be part of everyone¿s reference library, particularly those who wish to understand standard conservative economic thought. The distinctions author Thomas Sowell draws between political and economic logic should become a valuable part of each voter¿s mental apparatus. Writing to educate the general reader, not to further instruct the sophisticated economist, the author advocates minimal government interference. He calls for as little regulation as possible, mainly because regulations have unintended and usually undesirable economic consequences when seen with a long-range perspective. Sowell¿s concise, easy-to-read style cuts through the jargon of most economic discussions to lay bare the underlying, plain heartwood. It is easy to quibble here and there. Sowell doesn¿t offer lots of statistics and back-up material. And, he seems to argue against individual economic decision making when he tilts a drug pricing discussion into a sermon against Americans buying medicine at low Canadian prices. However, we find that his book stands on its merits nonetheless, as long as you understand that the author has a political ¿ as well as an economic ¿ point of view.