Basic Economics

Basic Economics

A Common Sense Guide to the Economy

Book - 2014
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A presentation of economics in plain language
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, 2014
Edition: 5th ed
ISBN: 9780465060733
0465060730
Characteristics: ix, 689 pages ; 24 cm

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silentkat
Oct 17, 2018

Well-written libertarian propaganda with some useful beginning economics information.

Thomas Sowell will always make the libertarian position the right position. He'll do this via cherry-picking his data, misrepresenting facts, or (to be fair, rarely) just plain bad logic. However, he'll do so in an engaging way and also provide valid criticisms of economic systems he disagrees with and as well as real examples of capitalism doing a good job.

A particular egregious example is his long attempt to paint unions as bad, and one example of them being bad is companies offering higher pay to employees not in a union. He paints this as "if unions were good why are companies willing to pay a premium to avoid them" whereas I took it away as "the existence of unions help even non-union employees gain higher wages thanks to the mere threat of labor leverage". There are similar problems with his argument against minimum wage, the wage gap, monopolies. etc.

An example of something I really liked from the book was the concept of "systemic" vs "individual" causes. He talks about a lot of cool systems. His abstractions in general were pretty good, and as someone not deeply read in economics, it makes me want to dig deeper. Starting Capital in the 21st Century now, and will go from there, I guess.

f
flygt
Feb 04, 2018

I thoroughly enjoyed this and now feel I know something about economics. The book does what it claims presenting economics with cogent arguments. It should be required reading for all voters. I think Thomas Sowell is an American national treasure and its too bad he never threw his hat into the political arena, lord knows we could use his common sense up here in the Great White North eh.

r
rjk5656
Oct 10, 2017

I am not a reader and plowed through this in less than a week. While the book is 600+ pages, Sowell moves rather quickly from point to point and example to example. If you are interested in common sense economics you will find this very interesting. If you have already studied economics this will challenge what you believe. Sowell makes a compelling case that free markets, capitalism and individual freedom have created more wealth, more opportunity and more mobility (from poor to wealthy and visa versa) than any other system in history.

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ryanwillock
Apr 08, 2017

What are the intentions of, and incentives created by: minimum wages, rent controls, and generous EI benefits? If I told you the answers might surprise you, would you want to know more?

Analyzing such questions and discussing just exactly how the heck this whole 'economy' thing is even working at all, this book is either an excellent, meticulously constructed one-stop introduction into thinking rationally about macro-economics, or a (rather large) piece of neoliberal propaganda.

I leave it up to the reader to make this decision as an exercise.

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ryanwillock
Apr 08, 2017

ryanwillock thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

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