Economic Facts and Fallacies

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Overview

Economic Facts and Fallacies exposes some of the most popular fallacies about economic issues-and does so in a lively manner and without requiring any prior knowledge of economics by the reader. These include many beliefs widely disseminated in the media and by politicians, such as mistaken ideas about urban problems, income differences, male-female economic differences, as well as economics fallacies about academia, about race, and about Third World countries. One of the themes of Economic Facts and Fallacies is...

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Economic Facts and Fallacies: Second Edition

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Overview

Economic Facts and Fallacies exposes some of the most popular fallacies about economic issues-and does so in a lively manner and without requiring any prior knowledge of economics by the reader. These include many beliefs widely disseminated in the media and by politicians, such as mistaken ideas about urban problems, income differences, male-female economic differences, as well as economics fallacies about academia, about race, and about Third World countries. One of the themes of Economic Facts and Fallacies is that fallacies are not simply crazy ideas but in fact have a certain plausibility that gives them their staying power-and makes careful examination of their flaws both necessary and important, as well as sometimes humorous. Written in the easy-to-follow style of the author’s Basic Economics, this latest book is able to go into greater depth, with real world examples, on specific issues.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The heart of the matter for Thomas Sowell (Basic Economics) is to ask, "What are the facts?" In his latest book, economist Sowell examines numerous misconceptions about life and economics. Sowell writes like an exacting scholar, but his arguments, which rely on economic analyses primarily, may suffer from oversimplification. Sowell argues that zoning restrictions and rent-control policies hurt those whom they're meant to help; intones that women earn less than men because they are far less likely than men to choose occupations that require very long hours; believes tenure helps neither students nor professors; demonstrates that even the poor have successfully moved up economically; tackles fallacies about race in America; and aims to convince that "there is nothing baffling or morally wrong about the fact that different nations have different per capita incomes." He falters in his chapter on the academy, when he becomes an advocate rather than an observer, and oddly neglects the individual choice available to students. Sowell's purpose is to teach readers to "examine [their] beliefs more closely and more analytically," and the conclusions he draws are certain to inspire rigorous debate. This readable volume is a useful primer exposing how economics relates to the social issues that affect our country. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465003495
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 12/31/2007
  • Pages: 262
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.69 (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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2011

    Excellent, readable, real world analysis of unintended consequences of economic policies.

    Thomas Sowell has a straight foreward style that gets to the core issues that are at play beyond the typical superficial analyses of complex economic problems of our day. I strongly recommend this book. Thomas Sowell is intellectually honest and wise.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2008

    Monty Python's 'Theory on Brontosauruses' meets Intelligent Design

    I would strongly recommend Economic Facts and Fallacies by Thomas Sowell to any person interested in sociology and logical fallacy. It is deliciously ironic that Sowell sets out to debunk economic fallacies primarily by employing a diverse lot of logical fallacies. The comparison to Monty Pythons Theory on Brontosauruses is made due to Sowell's lack of ability to 'or perhaps simply choosing not to' provide any alternative theories of his own in place of his so called 'fallacies', at least none more compelling then dinosaurs being pointy at one end, rather thicker in the middle and then narrowing down again at the other. The Theory of Intelligent Design is brought about because Mr. Sowell seems to believe, like the ID crowd, that simply by finding fault in one explanation 'the fossil record has gaps, the median age of black Americans is lower then whites' the remaining argument is proven false. Two of my favorite examples from the book are his discussion of race riots following the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and his explanation of why employers didn't hire females into the work force due to their potential to disrupt productivity. Surely an author as knowledgeable as Mr. Sowell would be aware that there was a tremendous amount of discord and anger prior to 1965 and that it was because of this that the Voting Rights Act 'over much strenuous objection' was brought about. It is an egregious misuse of logical cause and effect to suggest that passage of the Act caused the riots or even to suggest that passage of the Act prior to the riots extinguished the claim that poverty, unemployment and racial discrimination where among the root causes. Turning to Mr. Sowell's treatment of Male-Female Facts and his suggestion that one of the current causes of female underpayment is because in years past 'the distraction of a female worker in their 'the mens' midst could adversely affect productivity, even if the woman herself was just as productive as the men' is simply pandering. Yes, in a kindergarten class this might be a plausble argument, 'cooties are real' but give American Industry some credit. Even 50 or 80 years ago industry and agriculture were run by adults. There didn't seem to be any problem having women building planes and tanks during the 40's. In short, I find this book to be an excellent example of Clarance Thomasism 'I got mine so you should be able to get yours too' and if read as such will prove enlightening. I strongly recommend a companion book, Nonsense: A Handbook of Logical Fallacies by Robert Gula as a companion read. The two fit together like hand in glove.

    3 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2012

    Thomas Sowell does a great job of challenging assumptions and pr

    Thomas Sowell does a great job of challenging assumptions and preconceived beliefs that are part of the everyday narrative of academia, the media and politicians. And he does this in a straight forward way using language that all can understand. This book is must reading and an eye opener those who argue that "facts are on our side."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    Twist and shout

    He has a lot of facts and very well notes his facts making this a great way to learn about economic issues. However he twists these facts to suit his arguments. Such as with the elderly he says the media portrays them as eating dog food but they have the most wealth. Wealth does not mean income and therefore does not mean they have money to payfor things or that less than two percent of seniorsbhave health care, does that count medicare which is provided by the government and just because they have health insurance it does not mean that it is affordable.

    1 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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