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Applied Economics:Thinking Beyond Stage One

Publisher: Basic Books • 2009 • 352 pages
4.83 out of 5 • View Ratings Details • 12 Ratings

So much of our national political debate these days revolves around economic matters — taxes, health care, even affirmative action and immigration policy — that it is essential for every informed American to have a working knowledge of economics. In Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One, the renowned conservative economist Thomas Sowell has made it possible for you to grasp quickly and easily the economic elements of key public policies. Better yet, this revised and expanded edition now includes material on the roots of the Crash of 2008, the economics of immigration, and other timely topics.

With an experienced teacher’s knack for making the complex simple, Sowell explains why politicians frequently cheerlead for policies that are bad for the economy; why cities with rent controlled housing usually end up riddled with slums; why medical care costs just keep going up; and much more. He turns his keen eye also to the economics of discrimination and even examines the economic development of nations. And look out, Hillary: Sowell even explains why Socialist schemes like single-payer health care actually offer much less than meets the eye, and invariably fail. Sowell says that many disastrous public policies would never have been adopted if short-sighted politicians had been willing or able to trace the consequences of implementing them beforehand. In this book, he shows this can be done — how, in the words of the book’s subtitle, to “think beyond stage one.”

Thomas Sowell reveals:

  • How government intervention in the housing markets led to the current “subprime” mortgage crisis
  • Single-payer health care: why it makes the overall cost of medical care go up — and its quality go down
  • The unrecorded human costs of price-controlled medical care: how they reveal the bankruptcy of the whole idea of socialized medicine
  • Why New York’s ever-increasing corporate taxes are directly to blame for the abandonment of the city by many key corporations — leaving New York with a diminished corporate tax base
  • California’s electricity crisis: how blackouts and higher costs for consumers were the inevitable result of the state government’s attempt to keep consumer prices low by legal fiat
  • Central planning: how it drove the Soviet economy into the ground and why it simply doesn’t work, despite liberals’ continuing fondness for it
  • How the economic advantages of a market economy are accompanied by political disadvantages
  • Planned economies: how they inevitably turn decent people into criminals
  • A free labor market: how it benefits not only the worker but also the economy
  • Why the Soviet slave labor system was not as profitable as free labor, even though it accounted for huge sectors of the Soviet Union’s economic output
  • Price controls: why they are usually popular politically despite failing to accomplish what they are instituted to do
  • Why a free market is the best antidote to racial prejudice: how discrimination inflicts economic damage not only on those being discriminated against, but on those doing the discrimination
  • The outrageous distortions and half-truths purveyed by Ralph Nader and other self-styled “consumer advocates” (and their devastating economic effects)
  • Property developers: how they are unfairly demonized by liberal economists and activists
  • The immensely important role that geography plays in the economic realities of various places around the globe
  • Why cities with rent control laws have higher rents than cities that don’t — and how rent control reduces incentives to build new housing, as well as to maintain existing housing
  • How liberals distort and misrepresent statistics about black and white economic performance in order to exaggerate the lingering presence of discrimination in American society

“Sowell is right to preach the superiority of competitive markets to various forms of regulation that backfire with alarming regularity.” — National Review

“Informative and entertaining. . . . Sowell gives example after example of how the foolish policies of politicians have increased the common misery rather than the common good. … If you are interested in honing your knowledge ‘to think beyond stage one,’ you will not go wrong by reading Mr. Sowell’s new book.” — Washington Times

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