This revised edition of Applied Economics is about fifty percent larger than the first edition. It now includes a chapter on the economics of immigration and new sections of other chapters on such topics as the “creative” financing of home-buying that led to the current “subprime” mortgage crisis, the economics of organ transplants, and the political and economic incentives that lead to money earmarked for highways being diverted to mass transit and to a general neglect of infrastructure. On these and other topics, its examples are drawn from around the world. Much material in the first edition has been updated and supplemented. The revised and enlarged edition of Applied Economics retains the easy readability of the first edition, even for people with no prior knowledge of economics.read more
This book is highly recommended by G. Gordon Liddy, as is printed on the dust cover, something I find misleading, as even though the author also belongs on the far right on the political scale, his work has little in common with the gun parading antics associated with Liddy and his sphere. The book opens a bit slowly, repeating the organising ability of free market prices, but then launches into the economic realities of slavery, with lots of odd facts and figures from history. Like that the value of the life of a black slave in the American South, as being the property of a rich man, was higher than that of an Irishman, being owned by his poor self; and that the Soviet Gulag slaves were actually less profitable than paid workers doing the same job.A bit slower, or at least less intriguing, is the next section dealing with the health service. Noting that medicine makers need money for research and that this has to be taken out of pill prices is a bit of a yawn. Next up is high California house prices and the reasons for this, selfish and hypocritical lefties being to blame here as elsewhere! Then we’re into discrimination. Mr Sowell has a lot of examples showing that capitalists, be they anti Jew, anti Black or anti Pole, still hires those who will make their firms most profitable. And he has the figures to show that equally qualified people to a large degree have been paid the same salary (in a free market), even before anti discrimination laws.The book ends with a section on the economic development of nations; the author finding the long backwardness of Africa more likely to stem from that continent's lack of navigable waterways than anything explainable with an exploitation theory.In spite of the perhaps all too expectable conclusions all through the book that laissez-faire is good and state intervention bad, this is really an entertaining “believe it or not” collection of economic facts and figures. I found it a good read.read more
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While politicians squabble over the pros and cons of price controls on prescription drugs, onlooking citizens are often left scratching their heads. Many of today's economic issues are obscured by their inherent complexity and the blarney coming from political talking heads. In his follow-up to Basic Economics, Sowell, a leading conservative spokesman and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, seeks to alleviate this confusion. He highlights the major differences between politicians (who act for the short term, i.e., reelection) and economists (who look at the long-range ramifications of policy), and urges voters to keep these differences in mind. Sowell then focuses on a few issues, including some political hot potatoes: medical care, housing, discrimination, insurance and the development of nations. He urges readers to consider not only the intended, immediate goal of a particular policy, but also its unintended, long-range impact. For instance, he says, supporters of nationalized health care overlook the fact that it often results in health-care shortages, reduced quality of services and black markets. The great achievement of Sowell's book is its simplicity. His writing is easy and lucid, an admirable trait considering the topic at hand. This book will not satisfy hard-core economic junkies, and Sowell does not pretend it will. His target audience is the average citizen who has little or no economics background, but would like the tools to think critically about economic issues. Some readers will be turned off by Sowell's preference for free-market principles, but the author is an esteemed economist and his explanations fit well within the mainstream. As a basic primer for the economically perplexed, this volume serves very well. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved