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Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy / Edition 4

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Overview

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

American Spectator
Sowell fans will find it a good read and a good resource.
Business Wire
At last there is a citizen's guide to the economy, written by an economist who uses plain English . . . A comprehensive survey.
Claremont Review
Badly needed . . . Anyone who has been subjected to biased and dreary economics textbooks should read Basic Economics as a bracing corrective.
Deseret News
All Democrats should be required to read Thomas Sowell's book 'Basic Economics'...
George Will
Basic Economics is not only valuable for a general lay-person audience; it would also benefit lawyers, politicians and, yes, economists. . .
Ideas On Liberty
Thomas Sowell is one of the fine scholars of our time.
Laissez-Faire Books
Basic Economics complements Henry Hazlitt's great classic Economics in One Lesson.
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!
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.
Wall Street Journal
Clear and concise . . . Among economists of the past 30 years, [Sowell] stands very proud indeed.
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.
Booknews
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: 9781441778635
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/2010
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 17
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 2.00 (d)

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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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 36 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2008

    Required For Complete Enlightenment

    Our daily lives depend on having a basic, fundamental knowledge of economics and this book covers the fundamental knowledge and beyond to allow the individual to make rational decisions throughout one's lifetime. Whether you are making a choice in a grocery store or in a voting booth, this book will provide one with the clarity and brevity to make the right choices. If government was to make one last mandate of all time, it should be to have all students read this book in order to graduate High School.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2007

    Outstanding translation of economic to real world

    As a financial consultant for 30 years and a student of economics, this is one if not the best book on economics I have ever read. The strength of the book is the Sowell takes complicated economic issues and illustrates them using very easy to see and easy to communicate examples. Effective public speaking involves getting your thoughts clearly communicated. This book enables anyone who must illustrate or communicate economics great stories and vivid examples of everything from the simplest economic issue to the most complicated. Loved reading it.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2009

    A must read for our politicians

    I wish all our senators, all of our elected representatives, and our president would read this book.
    Heck, I wish the voters would read this book. Then maybe they would understand why the democratic party's socialism will destroy our country.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2010

    THE BOOK POLITICIANS AND MEDIA OUTLETS DON'T WANT YOU TO READ.

    Reading this book gives readers the knowledge to challenge many of the plausible arguments foisted upon them by politicians and the media. Economics, while a somewhat dry subject, asks tough questions that demand answers in our world of ever increasing dependence on what "experts" think, and try to pass off as fact. Dr. Sowell does an excellent job of using history to trump conventional wisdom that says more government is better. You owe it to yourself to read this book, you'll be glad you did.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 24, 2009

    Thomas Sowell is a practical genius

    Thomas Sowell is an excellent writer and makes understanding the subject of Economics much easier with practical and historical examples demonstrating the positive and negative effects of decision-makers on the economy at all levels.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2009

    Great Book

    Thomas Sowell is a brilliant man and his books confirm this.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Aimed at increasing the basic economic literacy

    Economics is at the same time a fascinating and rather complex subject. It is fascinating since it touches on so many aspects of our lives, and it is complex due to the highly technical analysis that is oftentimes required to be mastered in order for Economics to be fully appreciated. This technical complexity oftentimes obscures rather simple principles that underlie most economic phenomena. The well known relationship between a supply and demand is one of those, and a good example of a simple concept that is oftentimes misunderstood, ignored, or downright overlooked in everyday circumstances, especially when political considerations are at play.

    Thomas Sowell begins the book with one of the most insightful definition of what is economics. In this view, economics is nothing but a study of limited resources for which there are alternative uses. In heaven, there would be unlimited resources; in hell no alternative uses. In the real world we need to take into account the limitations that are imposed on us by the facts. Each use of a product or a resource prevents other viable uses. Economics is ultimately the science of tradeoffs, and it helps us with making the most rational decisions about those tradeoffs.

    This book is primarily aimed at general public and its aim is to make this public literate in terms of thinking and understanding economic processes. It is a very readable account, and it contains neither technical jargon nor sophisticated mathematics. All of the examples are taken from everyday experience or the major stories that have been making the news in the recent decades. Hopefully, the book will raise the level of basic literacy and inculcate us from the demagoguery that often accompanies political talk on economic issues.

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    Highly recommended

    I wish I had Thomas Sowell as an Econ prof when I was in college! He makes the subject come alive. With practical and historical examples, Dr. Sowell dissects the subject and delivers a lucid and precise explanation of the workings of basic economics. Kudos!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Best book about economics ever

    This was the best book I have ever written on economics. Sowell takes big concepts and breaks them down for anyone to understand. Anyone who wants a stronger understanding of how the economy works should buy this book.

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  • Posted November 21, 2009

    The best book about economics you can ever find.

    The author clearly shows the deepest aspects of economics that everybody is meeting in life. Sowell has brought plenty of very interesting facts in present economics which not everybody might know. He is opening the eyes to economics around you. Which we're meeting every day in our life, TVs, newspapers etc. The book has been written in a plan English, which gives access to this book just to everybody. Please read this book and enjoy the knowledge.

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