Why are homeless people sleeping on the sidewalks of New York in the winter, when the abandoned apartment buildings in the city have four times as many dwelling units as there are homeless people in the city? Why did Russians have to import food to feed people in Moscow, when Russia itself had vast amounts of some of the richest farmland in Europe within easy driving distance? Why did unemployment reach 25 percent and American corporations as a whole operate in the red for two years in a row during the Great Depression of the 1930s? All these very different, but equally puzzling and needless, tragedies grew out of a failure to understand and apply basic economics principles. Explaining these principles for the general public in plain English, with neither graphs nor equations nor jargon, is the goal and achievement of Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell. His lively examples are drawn from around the world and from centuries of history because the basic principles of economics are not limited to modern capitalist societies and apply even to situations where no money changes hands, such as caring for wounded soldiers on a battlefield. The focus of Basic Economics is not on how individuals make money but on how societies create prosperity or poverty for their peoples by the way they organize their economies. Prosperous countries with few natural resources, such as Japan and Switzerland, are as common as poor countries with rich resources, such as Russia and Mexico. The fourth edition of Basic Economics is both expanded and updated. A new chapter on the history of economics itself has been added, and the implications of that history examined. A new section on the special role of corporations in the economy has been added to the chapter on government and big business, among other additions throughout the book. Basic Economics, which has now been translated into six languages, has grown so much that a large of amount of material in the back of the book in previous editions has now been put online instead. The central idea of Basic Economics, however, remains the same: that the fundamental facts and principles of economics do not require jargon, graphs, or equations, and can be learned in a relaxed and even enjoyable way.
About Thomas Sowell
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Published December 28, 2010
by Basic Books.
Business & Economics, Education & Reference.