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Basic Economics, Fifth Edition

A Common Sense Guide to the Economy
Autor: Thomas Sowell
Sprecher: Tom Weiner
Spieldauer: 23 Std. und 47 Min.
4.5 out of 5 stars (61 Bewertungen)

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Inhaltsangabe

In this fifth edition of Basic Economics, Thomas Sowell revises and updates his popular book on commonsense economics, bringing the world into clearer focus through a basic understanding of the fundamental economic principles and how they explain our lives. Drawing on lively examples from around the world and from centuries of history, Sowell explains basic economic principles for the general public in plain English.

Basic Economics,which has now been translated into six languages and has additional material online, remains true to its core principle: 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.

©2014 Thomas Sowell (P)2014 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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free market propaganda

I consider myself to be a somewhat moderate European leaning slightly to a conservative standpoint. The book was highly appraised in the US media and I hoped to find an informative summary about the mechanisms and modes of economy, it’s theories, it’s constraints and controversies. I was baffled to listen to the highly politicized one-sided description of a free market-proponent, nothing short of propaganda.
The book is written in a simple language an it is easy to follow the line of thought. The narrator with his sonore voice does a wonderful job. Sowell vividly describes the basic mechanisms of an economy, but he always expresses a distaste to any form of regulation. While he claims to understand the motives of politicians who impose regulations in order to appease their constituents, in the end, Sowell always deems their decisions to be short sighted and any infringement on the free market to have negative effects for the consumers. This is an unscientific, unfalsifiable position which in light of some of the disastrous effects of deregulation and privatization in European countries is more than questionable. He frequently belittles politicians and people who do not share his extreme viewpoints in a condescending tone. As an open-minded and impartial analyst writing a book on the basics of economy one should refrain from such ad hominem attacks and assume the possibility that politicians are not just unable or unwilling to understand the mechanisms of the free market, but that they have to even out the undesirable effects the free market obviously can not answer for.

I first became skeptical when Sowell wrote about the negative effects of rent control in various countries such as Canada, the UK and the USA. The author lists some effects of rent control which contributed to the rise of rents in New York in the post-war period such as affluent couples keeping a second flat because of cheap rents, thereby worsening the shortage of affordable apartments. He than describes the positive effects of free market set rents such as families, old couples etc. just moving from one part of town to another if their need change.
I live in Germany where rents had been relatively stable for many years due to strict regulations designed to protect tenants and a rent control system. In the past years rents rose considerably especially in big cities such as Berlin and Munich and it arguably had nothing to do with restrictions of the free market, but because of mechanism imposed by it. Many factors did contribute to this rise, e.g. the low interest rates and the mass privatization of once state owned housing and apartment-complexes.
The authors pro free market- analysis of rent control constraints fails to describe these kinds of mechanisms which led to once stable and now soaring rents in Germany, where underprivileged and even middle-class families were forced to move into cheaper areas. He also fails to describe any negative repercussions this economic stratification of the population has on the functioning of a society…..well in an unrelated paragraph he describes the negative effects of making less profit for a dollar in poor areas, but he does not even consider the fairly reasonable assumption, that the development of such underprivileged areas, or ghettos, might be, at least in parts, a consequence of free market set rents and that rent control might have the intended positive effects.
What really baffled me was when he repeatedly criticized the model of universal, state-financed and thereby subsidized access to health care by e.g. citing a study which showed that only in the free market-driven health care system in the US patients had to wait less than a certain amount of time for elective surgery. Sowell exposes himself as an one sided agitator. He incessantly stresses the point, that only free market price fluctuations ensures the lowest prices on goods and services for consumers and he often cites media articles such as “The Economist”, but only if they prove his points. As an impartial analyst of economics he should have highlighted the fact, that the health care system is an example for the shortcomings of an unregulated free market to provide services at low costs and to meet the basic needs of all members of society. For example, a 2017 article entitled “The fix for american health care can be found in Europe” published in “ The Economist” compares the basic economic data of the US-system and various european systems. These numbers refute Sowells assumptions. The european health care systems e.g. in Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany are less bureaucratic, cheaper and more efficient in benefiting all members of society and providing highest quality standards. They provide nearly universal coverage at lower costs and fees than the american system. In the US free market, many people cannot even express their need for health care, because they lack the financial means, a disgrace which would be unbearable for many Europeans who consider health care to be a human right nobody should be deprived of. In many health care related key figures indicating the wealth of a society the US fall behind heavily regulated health care systems even in the third world such as Cuba. (e.g. child mortality). It is a prime example for why one should be skeptical of the notion, that the unregulated free market is the most efficient system to provide all the goods an services a civilized society depends on. But Sowell remains silent on all these controversial issues.
Which brings me to the last point. Sowell frequently depreciates the socialist economic systems. He mockingly describes the lack of professionality and courtesy of soviet waitresses as a result of a lack of financial incentive. This is just one examples of tiring anti-socialist rhetoric which seems more to be fueled by a could war mentality than by a desire to understand the rationals of people. A leftist might have stated, that in the Soviet Union the waitress would have their basic needs meet by the government so that she did not have to degrade herself by showing some false friendliness to costumers she barley knows just to be paid a minimum wage. I think nobody would appreciate such rhetoric in a book entitled “Basic Economics”.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Should be required reading for every person

I learned so much about how economics works. So many things now make sense to me. The book was interesting all the way through, despite being 24h long. I now am less of a leftist. I rather think that capitalism makes a lot of sense and alternatives are not as good as they might seem.

9 von 11 Hörern fanden diese Rezension hilfreich

  • Gesamt
    5 out of 5 stars
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Great!

Very interesting and informative! I never thought this stuff through but it is explained easily.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Ein muss für jeden Bürger und Wähler

Sollte jeder mündige Bürger und Wähler gelesen / gehört haben! Das Buch vermittelt in normaler Sprache wie unser Wirtschaftssystem funktioniert, was in anderen Wirtschaftssystemen anders / aus dem Ruder läuft (Kommunismus) und welche (desaströsen) Konsequenzen manche gut gemeinte Gesetze haben.

  • Gesamt
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Decent into to economics

The book does a good job in connecting and explaining various ideas in a digestible manner.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A masterpiece. Must read.

If you can only read one book about economics, I would recommend this one.

The book is especially valuable as it keeps you clear-headed in current political climate.

Basic Economics doesn't have math formulas, nor complex graphics. It is perfect for Audible.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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One of the best books I've read so far

I you're looking for a comprehensive but understandable guide to economics - this is it.
Thomas Sowell introduces numerous economic principles and discusses their implication through various real world examples.

0 von 1 Hörern fanden diese Rezension hilfreich

  • Gesamt
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

wonderful

An instant classic! Everybody should read this book, especially the ones who follows politics or have strong opinions about social issues.

0 von 1 Hörern fanden diese Rezension hilfreich