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
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 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Choose some alternatives and map them to the real world,
This review is from: Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (Paperback)Of the positive reveiews, they seem to be amazed that someone can define economics. It's not really rocket science, and, in an age of plenty, it's not really about scarcity. It's about individuals making choices to maximize value. They may be bad choices, uniformed choices or perverse choices, but they have, in the final analysis, impact limited to the individual. And in most cases result in some level of increased individual satisfaction.
The real danger, according to Hazlitt, is when the choices of a few people, with same kinds of fallacies noted above, are coercive, enforced by government or monopolies. Which leads us to to the negative reviews.
The negatives, if we can be allowed to throw out the obvious loser rants, seem to be concerned mainly with rapacious corporations, free trade among inequal countries and natural monopolies. While these are certainly provide distortions of individual choice and informed consent, they do in the long run tend to be self correcting -- see government-sanctioned coal and oil monopolies. The real interest is in how to minimize the effects of these diseconomies.
Hazlitt would argue that they are self-correcting via the collective effect of individual choices. The Marxists would argue that action based upon the sceeding of individual choice to a collective power is the solution. Surely, if we can assume there is no absolute, theoretical winner in this debate, we can look to the real world, based upon the actions of multiple forms of government and millions of individuals to provide some guidance on which path leads to the most for the most.
To that end, I would challenge you to read Hazlitt's book and a Marxist equivalent like Ivan Ilich's "Tools for Conviviality" and then, accepting both as plausibly complete and material, match them against your experience of recent history and your hopes for your personal future.
5.0 out of 5 stars Learned a lot!,
This review is from: Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (Paperback)I have no background in economics, so this book was very helpful. I feel as though I gained a grounding in the area and a much better understanding of the world!
Recommend to anyone :)
5.0 out of 5 stars Great economics starter!,
This review is from: Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics (Paperback)Having poor public schooling on economics, I decided to pick this book up. This is the perfect starter book for anyone wanting to learn about economics. Relatively short book, just goes through major topics each chapter. Short and to the point.
After this book, I would recommend "Naked Economics" by Charles Wheelan. I started off reading Milton Friedman and Thomas Sowell, and in comparison, this is a much easier read. I think I might have started backwards. =).
A must read for beginners.
5.0 out of 5 stars Economics in One Lesson by Hazlitt,
has a permanent benefit. What would we do today without cars?
Tariffs tend to benefit producers at the expense of consumers.
This book is a solid value for economists, households, students of economics , journalists and a whole host of constituencies.
5.0 out of 5 stars Economics in One Lesson,
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a great primer!,
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Read; Right on the Money,
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on Economics for the general reader,
By A Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, but Where is the MISSING CHAPTER?,
It should be noted that many of the ideas in the book come from an 1850 essay by Frederick Bastiat, "What is Seen and What is Unseen".
Using his lesson of thorough analysis, Mr. Hazlitt illustrates of how rent-control can lead to housing shortages, minimum-wage laws can lead to fewer jobs, and tariffs can lead to higher consumer prices. What is SEEN is the benefit to a special group (those in rent-controlled apartments, those with the jobs, or those receiving the protection of the tariff), but what is UNSEEN is the harm done to other groups (those that don't get the benefit of new housing, those who don't get jobs, and those who have to pay higher prices).
My criticism of the book is that there is an ENORMOUS OMISSION. After examining so many topics, Mr. Hazlitt fails to even bring up the government intervention that has had the greatest impact on our economic and political lives (for good and evil), the CORPORATION. Corporations are the biggest influences in our political campaigns, the recipients of the many of the benefits of tariffs and subsidies, and are the focus of many of the regulations of our government.
Mr. Hazlitt's book at least gives us the tools to look at the issue of the corporation.
Corporations have three qualities that are different from other business types: limited liability, personhood, and the perpetual life. I will get you started with the analysis of limited liability.
Limited liability means that an owner or stockholder cannot lose than he or she has paid for the shares of ownership regardless of the firm's debts.
Limited liability cannot be created by a free-market. What is SEEN is that limited liability shields investors from risk, but what is UNSEEN is that the risk is transferred to the other parties, or stakeholders. To some of the stakeholders the acceptance of the risk is an implied contract; employees, creditors, suppliers and customers should aware that by doing business with a corporation they are taking on the risk of the results of actions done in the names of the owners (most corporation special-interest advocates label this government intervention as "efficiency"). However, there is no implied contract with third parties (tort victims). If a corporation goes out of business owing money to third parties no one is held responsible, not owners, not managers. Limited Liability is government granted limited responsibility, or legalized irresponsibility. Government has transferred risks, and the associated costs without the associated benefits, to third parties.
I urge all readers to use Mr. Hazlitt's method to answer, at least, the questions below.
Now, what are the implications of corporate personhood?
There are a few other shortcomings in the book, but still it is a great exercise in thinking through ideas.
4.0 out of 5 stars Read the angry anti-Hazlitt reviews for a real indication,
By A Customer
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Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics by Henry Hazlitt (Paperback - Dec 14 1988)
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