Essays On Economics In One Lesson

Henry Hazlitt wrote this book following his stint at the New York Times as an editorialist. His hope was to reduce the whole teaching of economics to a few principles and explain them in ways that people would never forget. It worked. He relied on some stories by Bastiat and his own impeccable capacity for logical thinking and crystal-clear prose.

He was writing under the influence of Mises himself, of course, but he brought his own special gifts to the project. As just one example, this is the book that made the idea of the "broken window fallacy" so famous. Concise and instructive, it is also deceptively prescient and far-reaching in its efforts to dissemble economic fallacies that are so prevalent they have almost become a new orthodoxy.

This is the book to send to reporters, politicians, pastors, political activists, teachers, or anyone else who needs to know. It is probably the most important economics book ever written in the sense that it offers the greatest hope to educating everyone about the meaning of the science.

Many writers have attempted to beat this book as an introduction, but have never succeeded. Hazlitt's book remains the best. It's still the quickest way to learn how to think like an economist. And this is why it has been used in the best classrooms for more than sixty years.

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The following links to a chapter-by-chapter summary of Henry Hazlitt’s brilliant 1946 book, Economics in One Lesson (PDF), prepared by Michael Dowsett during his internship.

This book acts as an invaluable and brief introduction to the basic concepts in economics, from the way in which prices are determined in a free economy to the follies of statism and economic planning. At its heart is the argument that politicians and officials should not just focus on the specific and short term effects of their policies, but should appreciate the long term, often damaging, outcomes which can result from government intervention. By doing so, those in positions of power can avoid harming the economy and society in the long run.

I’ll be releasing a chapter per week, starting in January 2012.

PART ONE: THE LESSON

I/ The Lesson

PART TWO: THE LESSON APPLIED

II/ The Broken Window

III/ The Blessings of Destruction

IV/ Public Works Means Taxes

V/ Taxes Discourage Production

VI/ Credit Diverts Production

VII/ The Curse of Machinery

VIII/ Spread-the-Work Schemes

IX/ Disbanding Troops and Bureaucrats

X/ The Fetish of Full Employment

XI/ Who’s “Protected” by Tariffs?

XII/ The Drive for Exports

XIII/ “Parity” Prices

XIV/ Saving the X Industry

XV/ How the Price System Works

XVI/ “Stabilising” Commodities

XVII/ Government Price-Fixing

XVIII/ What Rent Control Does

XIX/ Minimum Wage Laws

XX/ Do Unions Really Raise Wages?

XXI/ “Enough to Buy Back the Product”

XXII/ The Function of Profits

XXIII/ The Mirage of Inflation

XXIV/ The Assault on Saving

XXV/ The Lesson Restated

PART THREE: THE LESSON AFTER THIRTY YEARS

XXVI/ The Lesson After Thirty Years

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