©2009 Thomas Sowell; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Applied Economics...is simply the must-have field guide to our economic landscape." (Jonah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times columnist)
"Applied Economics is full of...good sense - and serves as an excellent defense against the counterproductive promises of political candidates." (Wall Street Journal)
Look to the long term...that's the main message of Applied Economics. Dr. Sowell is a master of making the complex understandable. This book covers a number of topics such as rent control, land use restrictions, and corporate tax rates. He follows each through to its logical conclusion, pointing out that politicians often cast votes with an eye only on the current election cycle. We need to make wise decisions based on sound facts, not emotion or sound bytes. Dr. Sowell is a very wise man, and a wonderfully effective teacher! Any book he writes is worth reading! 100 percent!!!!
An in depth and well articulated work on the goings on of the American economy. Despite the comments of other reviewers, this book does not support the 'right wing' Rebuplican agenda like books by Glen Beck or Ann Coulter might. Rather, Sowell focuses on economic facts and calls members of both political parties for actions taht tend to damage economic prosperity.
Also, unlike the political cheerleader authors, Sowell's works are more educational in nature, and spend lest time bashing anyone than they do explaining actions and consequences. While he certainly notes that politicians (on both sides) tend to act against the best long term interests of economic growth... he shows why they will inevitably do so, regardless of party, by outlining the incentives that govern political decisionmaking in relation to economics.
Well worth the read, regardless of your political orientation. Be warned, however, the economics discussed here is based on looking at the choices real people make rather than on studying the aggregated graphs of entire populations (ala John Keynes). It's an easy listen as well, despite the offputting title. The prose is light and isn't filled with overly academic pretention, and the narrator handles the material well.
While listening to this book I was impressed by the excellence of the writing but disappointed as I found myself again and again distracted by the reader. The reader seems to think it's his job to dramatize the book. In all books, especially non-fiction, the reader's influence should fade into the background so that the writing comes to the forefront. This reader almost seems to be trying to upstage the writer by continually bringing the focus back to himself. It was a solid text and very interesting, I just wish they had rehired the guy who read Sowell's "Basic Economics."
When I was studying economics as an undergraduate, it was called political economy. Dr. Sowell's book illustrates how politics drives economics. The discussion of housing prices in California was especially illuminating to me. It makes me wonder how much of the cost of medical care is driven by politics.
I found this book to be very "listenable" and and helped numerous three hour commutes go by quickly.
Thomas Sowell did an excellent job organizeng this book, chapters are easy to follow and the book flows very well.
This is the best book I've ever read/heard regarding the impact of public policy on the public.
I was particularly interested in how the book differentiates between the intent of public policy and its after-effects, which can be completely opposite.
The narrator had a pretty standard delivery with no obvious mannerisms or other distractions.
Understanding the Ultimate Consequences of the Policies we Endorse
I read Thomas Sowell's Basic Economics before this one, and it is a good follow up. It does repeat a lot of the same themes covered in BE but with more focus on the long-run effects of policies that may appear to pay off in the short run. He also does diverge somewhat towards the end in his discussion about immigration, but it's still good analysis even if he sort of goes off on a tangent. Sowell is a master teacher, able to explain economics without charts and graphs and be understood.
This book is actually two books, somewhat intertwined: When the author discusses the develoment of civilizations or migration patterns he is interesting and insightful. For that, the book was worth it.
But then there is the second book, in which the author promotes extreme free-market libertarianism. His argumentation has two flaws. First, he uses evidence selectively to support his own thesis. First, he says that you cannot critisize the US healthcare system based on life expectancy, because there are other factors. Twenty minutes later he critisizes the healthcare system under the Soviets, partly based on life expectancy.
Second, and more fundamentally, he assumes that all government actions represent a failure to "think beyond stage one". He seems unable to understand that people might accept that political decisions arrive at sub-optimal economic results. It is possible that free markets might have eliminated Jim Crow laws after another hundred years, but that is not what people wanted.
The narrator is mediocre, tending to drag out the end of words in an annoying way that stresses the condecension of the author in his arguments.
A German audiobook
Well, it may not have been his fault. The book was often off the wall. He came across a little pompous, but, again, it may be the book content that caused me to hear it that way.
It made a few valid points.
This is a book that started with a conclusions in favor of the economic policies of the far right, then looked for a way to get there. At one point it suggested that the poor have adequate access to medical care via emergency room. This is often untrue. Emergency room only handle emergencies, not e.g. a chronic, non-life threatening events--and of course very expensive. Or it talked about how the founder of Woolworth started by working for free. How the success of a super-compentent person over a century ago applies to those less gifted today, the book did not say. If you are a member of the Tea Party, and only want to be told what you want to hear, you will like this book. Everyone else, including thoughtful conservatives, likely will find many shortcomings.
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