Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Basic Economics / Edition 1

Basic Economics / Edition 1

4.7 7
by Thomas Sowell

See All Formats & Editions

ISBN-10: 0465081398

ISBN-13: 2900465081393

Pub. Date: 05/30/2003

Publisher: Basic Books

From one of America's best-known economists, the one book anyone who wants to understand the economy needs to read.
At last, there is a citizen's guide to economics-for those who want to understand how their country's economy works but have no interest in graphs, jargon, or equations. Sowell reveals the general principles behind any kind of economy—capitalist,


From one of America's best-known economists, the one book anyone who wants to understand the economy needs to read.
At last, there is a citizen's guide to economics-for those who want to understand how their country's economy works but have no interest in graphs, jargon, or equations. Sowell reveals the general principles behind any kind of economy—capitalist, socialist, feudal, etc. In readable language, he helps the reader 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.
"Voters by the millions want to know basic economics, not for passing tests, but for grading politicians, and for understanding how the world works.... They have waited a long time for this book, by one of the nation's best and most trenchant minds."
-Michael Novak, American Enterprise Institute

Author Biography: Thomas Sowell is the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution. He writes on economics, history, social policy, ethnicity, and the history of ideas. Sowell's writings include a syndicated column appearing in 174 newspapers and a column in Forbes. He lives in Stanford, California.

Product Details

Basic Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
Older Edition

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

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Basic Economics 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone not familiar with the work of Thomas Sowell would be well advised to check out the blurbs on the back of the dust jacket of Basic Economics, where praise flows from conservative bastions like The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and the American Enterprise Institute. Take this as a warning that, even though Sowell¿s book does offer an excellent plain-English explanation of fundamental economics, its real mission is to explain how many societal catastrophes are caused by government policies he deems faulty. In so doing, he takes aim at minimum wage standards, rent control and, through his spirited defense of international trade, the anti-globalization crowd. But no matter which side of the ideological fence you occupy, we suggest reading this book for its insightful distillation of some of our most passionate political debates down to their economic essentials.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is easy to understand and is easy reading. If you are learning or just want a better understanding, It is a perfect choice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm an MBA with a background in engineering. I have an OK understanding of centrally planned economies verses consumer driven economies. This book provides excellent historically examples showing the effects of the political/economic model a country has on the quality of life of it's people.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Simplicity in teaching requires much understanding and scholarship, none of which is more apparent than with "Basic Economics." Economics is simply the study of human behavior in a market environment, which is exactly how Dr. Sowell presents his case. A rare find in the Economics world where simple ideas consume many a page. The 14th Century Franciscan William Ockhams' idea that the easiest explanation is most likely the best is proven once again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This truly is a MUST READ. Dr. Sowell is a master of the English language and clearly explains the nuances of economics with thoughtful organization and down to earth examples. Basic Economics pulls back the curtains on political "solutions" and shows why capitalism offers society the best chance to maximize benefits available to all of it's members.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the basics of Economics and the free-market system, what has worked, what hasn't and why. My only complaint is that it was not more technical and detailed. However, for someone that is looking for an introduction or just someone who wants to learn the overall workings the economic system and policies in a clear, VERY easy to understand format then this book is for you. I said in the subject that this was required reading because the author also points out past (and present) political policies in that politicians deceive the public (whether intentionally or not) with policies that are emotionally popular even though they make no economic sense and it lot of cases actually cause the situation they are trying to prevent. Very interesting and enlightening.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr. Thomas Sowell has taken a rather challenging and complex subject - economics -and explained it in a manner that is easy to understand and interesting to boot. For the student of economics, this book will give you a better appreciation and understanding of all the typical subjects covered in an economics course - (1) Scarcity, (2) Demand and Supply, (3) Prices, (4) Competition, (5) Money, (6) World Trade, etc. For the average adult, this book explains in an accessible manner how and why businesses, households, and governments interact in producing goods and services to meet people's needs. Basic Economics is written without any of the intimidating economic and financial jargon present in other books treating this subject. The numerous historical examples of economic forays run amok make this book a fascinating read. Dr. Sowell provides case after case, covering different nations at different times, of governmental or social policies that were meant to produce one set of results but that gave rise to completely unintended, even harmful, results. He then provides examples of the demise of many formerly dominant American firms - companies that lost vast market share and fell into decline just because they failed to adjust their business strategies to best counter the competition or to meet the changing needs, wants, and other circumstances of the consuming public; to wit: White Castle Hamburgers overtaken by Mc Donald's because the latter had drive-thru windows; A&P Supermarkets, a cost-cutting leader, overtaken by Walmart, a more effective cost-cutter. Finally, Dr. Sowell exlains how examining economic incentives helps to understand why societies, government institutions, private firms, etc., behave the way they do. He gives plenty of evidence in support of consumer sovereignty, free markets, and minimal government intrusion in the marketplace. He also gives numerous examples of the failures common to centrally planned economies, such as the former Soviet Union's. If you want to understand a whole lot about the way the world operates, or make informed decisions about the likely consequences of government programs, such as rent control or social security, you must read this book.