Matt's Reviews > Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy

Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell
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Apr 29, 12

bookshelves: cribb-family-required-reading, economics
Read from January 18 to April 15, 2012

The text book to Atlas Shrugged! More specifically it the text book to the economics behind Ayn Rand's magnum opus.

This is truly a great read! (even if you didn't like or haven't read Atlas Shrugged). If you had to choose between the two books to read, then read Basic Economics!

Thomas Sowell's clear, no-nonsense treatment of economics. I know... this sounds like watching paint dry but this book is fantastic. Here is why:

1) Dr. Sowell makes the case why we can't opt out of understanding Basic Economics.

2) He explains clearly how a price coordinated economy is more effective than ANY other system for allocating scarce resources among alternative uses.

3) He explains what I'll call the Economist's Cassandra Complex when it comes to political decisions. Namely how sound economical analysis can lead to poor political decisions; Whereas politics often drives to solutions that don't make economical sense, but do make a lot of political sense (if the goal for a politician is to be re-elected). Dr. Sowell's treatment of political decisions is clinical and objective to the point it made my laugh many times as illustrated many absurdities.

4) Dr. Sowell includes numerous compelling examples to illustrate and support his points.

5) He uses NO GRAPHS or EQUATIONS. As much as this pains me as a mathematician, I think it compelled him to clearly explain the relationships between tangible parameters and economic measures of performance in a way that is clear and understandable.

6) No jargon. Dr. Sowell explains economics in clear English, and not jargon. He does however explain economic jargon; e.g. "Favorable Balance of Trade" (sic).

7) Dr. Sowell courageously explains how price and wage controls such as rent control and minimum wages end up hurting the people they are intended to help; often with devastating effects.

Don't let the size of this book intimidate you. After reading the first few chapters you'll wish it was longer!

See if this happens to you: As I was reading this book, I found my self trying to devise ways to get it in the hands of members of congress, world leaders, not to mention several Hollywood actors who's drivel, while well intended, runs contrary to Basic Economics.
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