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Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics Paperback – Dec 14 1988

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business (Dec 14 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517548232
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517548233
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.5 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 9 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #16,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"A magnificent job of theoretical exposition."

—Ayn Rand

“I strongly recommend that every American acquire some basic knowledge of economics, monetary policy, and the intersection of politics with the economy. No formal classroom is required; a desire to read and learn will suffice. There are countless important books to consider, but the following are an excellent starting point: The Law by Frédéric Bastiat; Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt; What has Government Done to our Money? by Murray Rothbard; The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek; and Economics for Real People by Gene Callahan.
If you simply read and comprehend these relatively short texts, you will know far more than most educated people about economics and government. You certainly will develop a far greater understanding of how supposedly benevolent government policies destroy prosperity. If you care about the future of this country, arm yourself with knowledge and fight back against economic ignorance. We disregard economics and history at our own peril.”

—Ron Paul, Senator from Texas

About the Author

Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993), was a libertarian philosopher, an economist, and a journalist. He was the founding vice-president of the Foundation for Economic Education and an early editor of The Freeman magazine, an important libertarian publication.  Hazlitt wrote Economics in One Lesson, his seminal text on free market economics, in 1946, bringing his ideas and those of the so-called Austrian School to the American scene. His work has influenced the likes of economist Ludwig von Mises, novelist and essayist Ayn Rand, and 2008 Libertarian Party Presidential nominee and congressman, Ron Paul. Hazlitt has been cited as one of the most influential literary critics and economic writers of his time.

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ECONOMICS IS HAUNTED by more fallacies than any other study known to man. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By D Glover TOP 500 REVIEWER on Feb. 16 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Henry Hazlitt has done the layman a huge favour in writing this book. Unfortunately, it is not only the layman who desperately needs this book. It is the world's politicians, the presidents of central banks, and those who control monetary policy who have severed their moorings with common sense and are now afloat on a raging sea of market fall-out and who don't understand how they got there who need to read this book, like, yesterday.

A proponent of Austrian Economics (the free market, self-governed through the law of supply and demand, with minimal gov't intervention), Hazlitt puts forth an irrefutable case against the foggy-headed reigning economic model of the day - Keynesianism. He does this by effectively exposing and refuting the many fallacies which Keynesians embrace as orthodoxy. Where Keynes is complex and convoluted, Hazlitt is simple and straightforward. And unlike Keynes, whose work wreaks of ivory-tower arrogance and elitist snobbery, Hazlitt writes with everyday wisdom and appeals to the common sense of the average person who knows instinctively that you can't improve your financial standing by plunging into debt in order to spend your way to affluence. If only our governments understood this.

At the heart of Hazlitt's book is the principle that true economics must consider the general effect over the long term of any policy it enacts. It is from the solid foundation of this principle that Hazlitt attacks all modern economic fallacies which, he argues, all have at their heart the problem of looking only at the effects of a policy on one special group in the short term. And Hazlitt reminds us that what would be foolish for household finances is all the more foolish for a nation since it the same foolishness magnified a million times over.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David J. Heinrich on Dec 24 2003
Format: Paperback
Rather than explaining why this is a good book (other revierw's do that), I'll explain why some of the idiotic criticisms levied against this book are wrong.
The most silly criticism of Hazlitt (and other Austrian free-market economists) is that they aren't "scientific" and in short "don't use enough math". This is an absurd criticism. Firstly, human beings are not deterministic particles who's behaviour can be predicted by simple equations. Any attempt to reduce human behaviour to some mathematical equation is pure non-sense. We must consider human beings as individual entities who can choose, not fixed constants in mathematical formuli.
Secondly, there is a mathematics that is relevant to Austrians. It is chaos theory and network theory. Chaos theory is currently used to predict the weather. The calculus used by Keynes and other idiots like him is completely useless for describing the behaviour of chaotic systems where individual choice is involved. Hazlitt may not mention Chaos Theory. For that, see Murray N. Rothbard, "Choas Theory: Destroying Mathematics from Within?"; and Gene Callahan, "Why Austrians Should Care About Network Science". Anyone with any sympathy for Keynes and his idiotic followers should note that Keynes put forth a "treatise" before General Theory, which was demolished by Hayek. Hayek then made a strategical mistake in not demolishing General Theory, feeling that the book's idiocy stood for itself. Also note that while Hayek recieved a Nobel Prize for work which was basically an extension of Mises business cycle theory (Mises died the year before Hayek's Nobel), Keynes received no Nobel, showing that even the dimwits awarding that title realized Keynes work was inherently worthless.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lord Chimp on Sept. 12 2003
Format: Paperback
In fact, I think most economists need to read Hazlitt's classic too. And if they've already read it...they should read it again, because I think quite a few of them need to be reminded of some simple truths.
I am a graduate economics student and I have trudged through extremely technical economic literature in my time. Most leading economists these days become hyperspecialized and esoteric in some paltry technical issue to the point where their work is practically useless to the average person. This is a very terrible thing. Because knowledge of economics is so crucially important to our understanding of human behavior and the world, I think it *should* be accessible to more people. For this reason, I am always on the lookout for books that help people understand economics easily. That way, we can have a much better world.
I have found few books better for the beginner than _Economics in One Lesson_. Henry Hazlitt's book here is very highly regarded and for good reason: it's an excellent, simple look at economic issues that teaches an important lesson. That lesson? That good economics entails looking at the long-term effects of economic policies on *everyone*, rather than the short-term effects on one group. With this, we can see that when the government intervenes in the economy, there are always consequences that not immediately evident.
Although the book was originally published in 1946, the topics covered by Hazlitt are pertinent and explore issues that still confront us more than 50 years later. Topics include inflation, tariffs, taxation, price fixing, labor unions, savings, the importance of profits, rent control, and more. Hazlitt writes well and doesn't obfuscate the truths of matters with cumbersome graphs and math.
Please ignore James McDuffie's fatuous review.
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