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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your Government Has No Idea How Bad A Mess It's Making
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...
Published on Feb. 16 2011 by D Glover

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Too simplistic
Although though we're (presumably) members of the same political choir, the author treats economics much too simplistically.
Calling this book a polemic on Keynesian economics would be accurate, calling it an economics treatise would be just plain wrong.
Time would be better spent reading Bastiat.
Published on March 30 2000


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your Government Has No Idea How Bad A Mess It's Making, Feb. 16 2011
By 
D Glover (northern bc, canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (Paperback)
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. Along with his use of common sense and plain logic, Hazlitt effectively uses statistics to prove his points (mercifully he limits his use of statistics, unlike many modern writers who use almost nothing but).

If Keynes is the alchemist wizard who has masterfully entranced his economist minions through a combination of academic sophistry and elitist intimidation, Hazlitt is the plain speaking sage who breaks the spell by speaking words that ring true with every person's experience of the real world and the economic forces at work within. This is not only a great place to begin one's study of economics but it is something that politicians and voters alike should have to re-read every election year before they cast their ballots. If we had been doing that up until now, we would not be in the economic disaster we currently are.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Short and Sweet., Feb. 9 2004
By 
Mark Twian (Brandon, SD United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (Paperback)
For as important as Economics is to the Past, Present and Future of Humanity, its met with a collective yawn and almost completely missunderstood! For just 20 bucks and 8 hours of your time you can have a mental grasp on the engine that drives...everything. Unless you are completely vacant this book can change your mind. Very important ideas. Give this one to everyone you know. If one person reads it, you have helped humanity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best intro to economics ever written., Jan. 13 2004
By 
Jorge Besada (miami, FL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (Paperback)
I have read at least 5 of the newer intro to economics books around and this classic is still the best. It is just barely 200+ pages with big easy to read letters, in one weekend this book can transform you from average ignorant american to inspired concerned citizen. The chapter on inflation was worth the price of the book by itself . I have noticed how the reviews for this book have increased dramatically over the last 6 months. It is happening, something wonderfull is about to happen...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The criticisms of this book are flawed, Dec 24 2003
By 
David J. Heinrich (Rochester, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (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.
The next criticism is related to the first: that Hazlitt doesn't discuss game theory. The reason for this is that game theory is particularly unworthy of discussion. Nash, founder of Game Theory, showed that in any finite game, there's an equilibrium in which no player can improve his or her outcome given the other player's strategies (the Nash Equilibrium). This is problematic in several ways. Firstly, there is absolutely no relation between the playing of games (which are less than net-zero, with one winner and one or more losers) and economics. Secondly, only Game Therorists behave in real situations in the ways in which Game Theory predicts. Thirdly, strategies are not data, but choices. Fourth, it is possible to break out of the specified game to achieve a superior result.
One particularly ignorant reviewer says that in a completely unhampered free market, monopolies form, destroying competition. This is non-sense. Empirically, Ancient Ireland was a completely Stateless society for a thousand years, with a completely unhampered free market, and no-such thing occured. And of course it is a bunch of non-sense that can't happen in reality anyeways. A monopoly is only harmful if you have monopoly prices. But in a completely free market, even if someone obtains 100% of all (say) rail-roads, there is still competition between that form of transportation and other forms, thus monopoly prices cannot be charged. The only time real monopolies with monopoly pricing have emerged is because of State interference.
This may not be the best book on economics that you can read (look to Mises' "Human Action" for what is most likely the strongest treatise on "economics" [actually praxeology, a much larger field]) ever written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars economics for non-economists., Sept. 12 2003
By 
This review is from: Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (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. Most of the "implicit assumptions" Hazlitt makes are unassailable facts of reality established a priori. (Except for the assumption that government can be the *only* provider of some services, like roads, "health officers," police, etc.) Also, mathematics is all but useless in economics. The Keynesian paradigm no longer deserves any serious attention since it has been so thoroughly refuted a hundred thousand times over. Inflation as being beneficial to the economy is a fallacy that is easily destroyed by someone with a basic knowledge of money & credit theory. Alan Greenspan a free market proponent? That's ridiculous -- he definitely was 40 years ago but he has since become anathema to the economic prosperity. In fact he's probably the most destructive Federal Reserve Chairman in history.
Pick up this book and Gene Callahan's _Economics for Real People_ and you'll probably have a better economic education than you will find with any undergraduate degree in neoclassical economics. I'm serious.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Economic Handbook, Feb. 5 2013
By 
Patrick Sullivan (Kingston, Ont. Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (Paperback)
This book is a fantastic introduction to economics. The language is in plain spoken terms. The issues covered by Hazlitt are everyday events, that anyone can relate too. In fact, it is hard to believe, the book was first written in 1946.

As the reader proceeds through the book, a reoccurring theme presents itself. Hazlitt starts off by explaining, how and why an interested party will try to alter an economic policy. One example was in regards to rent controls. Obviously there are a large group of renters, that are interested in limiting the cost of rental properties. Hazlitt lays out the political process, that is taking place in the case of rent controls. Then he takes things a step further. He outlines how this effects other groups, within a society. He also examines the big picture, and sums up the total effect on all of the population. This is Hazlitt over all theme; to explain events in terms of the effects on the entire population.

Hazlitt analyzes all sorts of various economic issues. Most of these will be very familiar to the reader. Some examples include; tariffs, minimum wage laws, savings versus spending, company profits, public work projects, and government price fixing. All of these issues, will be evaluated in a straight forward format. In fact Hazlitt himself states, "the conclusions we arrive at usually correspond with those of unsophisticated common sense". Economic common sense, may perhaps be the best description of this book.

I highly recommend this book, to anyone looking to achieve a basic understanding of many economic issues.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Intro to Important Economic Principles, May 8 2009
By 
Mark Nenadov "arm-chair reader" (Essex, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (Paperback)
This is a simple, but amazingly profound, mind blowing introduction to some basic economic principles. The principles outlined here are quite simple, and yet it seems so many people today can not grasp these basic truths.

Granted this book is a bit dated, but most of it is still useful and much of it seems as if it were written today.

I sincerely wish more politicians and voters today would read this book, it would go a long way toward restoring some knowledge of basic economics and some common sense to the decisions that get made on the political sphere.

There are many economics books that are so dense that I would take no delight in reading nor would I feel comfortable recommending to someone who is not already an economics wonk. However, with this title, I have no such reservations. I can wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone. I guarantee it will be enlightening in at least one or two areas!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential look at introductory economics, Nov. 7 2003
By 
Timothy Walker (Orlando, Florida USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (Paperback)
"The whole of economics... can be reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."
So begins the brilliant and controversial work of Henry Hazlitt. As it is not the purpose of this forum to debate economic theory, let me simply suggest that you obtain this book and draw your own conclusions from it. The richer understanding of trade policy, taxes and tariffs, and government regulation you will obtain from spending a lazy afternoon with this book will provide more long-term value than its price... in short, buying Economics in One Lesson is sound fiscal policy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very clear, well argued, and timeless economics lesson, Sept. 26 2003
By 
Patrick Gaughan (Austin, TX United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (Paperback)
Hazlitt has a gift for clarity. His arguments simply cannot be misunderstood. With nearly unassailable logic he explains the subtle economic implications of many government policies in terms the simplest novice can follow. This is an awesome book for any reader.
This book was not at all what I expected when I ordered it. I expected a textbook like approach to all the classic concepts of economics (supply/demand curves, law of diminishing returns, effects of shortages/gluts on prices, etc.) Instead, Hazlitt simply states that true economics involves tracing both the seen and unseen consequences of each action or policy. This is primarily a book about government policy in economics, but it scope reaches to every choice we make with regard to the economic well-being of our nation.
I had many 'Ah ha!' moments while reading this book. I felt I had a fairly good grasp on many economic prinicples after reading Skousen's 'The Making of Modern Economics', but Hazlitt has a way of crystalizing thoughts that are still fuzzy. One thing that comes through consistently is how money confuses and distracts people from a true understanding of wealth. Money is not wealth. True physical wealth lies in the products (goods and services) you have or can afford to buy. The wealth of a nation lies in the aggregate products it produces. If you want economic prosperity, increase production. Not senseless production, but production of things people actually want. When all is said and done, money is just the "medium of exchange". Ultimately, all products are paid for by other products.
Despite my high regard for this book, at times it dragged. Many topics are similar, and it seemed at times repetitive to go over the same ground again.
I wish every American (especially politicians and aspiring politicians) would read this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Readable, Feb. 24 2013
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This review is from: Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (Paperback)
A concise summary of how legislation and the outcome of ithe legislation sometimes differ in practise from the intended purpose.
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