He begins by elucidating the differences between politicians, who are often compelled by political considerations to act for the short term, and economists, who are more concerned with long-term ramifications. Sowell then focuses on the application of economics to major contemporary real-world problems: housing, medical care, discrimination, and the economic development of nations.
©2004 Thomas Sowell; (P)Blackstone Audio Inc.
"The great achievement of Sowell's book is its simplicity. His writing is easy and lucid, an admirable trait considering the topic at hand....As a basic primer for the economically perplexed, this volume serves very well." (Publishers Weekly)
Semi retired small business person/ college professor/ investor.
I you liked Basic economics you should also like this book. More of the simple concise explanations of the economics behind what is going on in the world today. The discussion of the health care system alone makes this book worth reading. In my opinion Sowell is probably one of the greatest minds of the late 20th century.
While you have to love a book on economics--who wouldn't--I am not sure I can heartily recommend this book. I enjoyed it, and the author explains the concepts in an interesting and enlightening way. However,he follows systems thinking back to a point that always makes an argument for a conservative agenda and stops conveniently at that point. Moreover, I work in health care, and I don't think he had a strong grasp of the economic challenges in health care. I would recommend reading it, but be careful about swallowing his conclusions.
I found applied economics was lacking hard facts to support the ideas. Often times using an assumption that supported his idea in one chapter, and the next chapter directly contradicting the first assumption.
I would say the root of the problem being is Sowell assumes rational text book economics in which case the info he has is sound and backed up. However to leap from there with out test in the real world that have no control groups, isnt acceptable to me. Especially when he gives countless real world examples by hand picking scenerios that support his idea.
This book covers several areas of applied economics ranging from discrimination to health care to dealing with third-world labour. Unfortunately, the approach is consistently one-sided and fails to fully explore the issues.
For example the section on health care makes a strong case against price controls but completely skips over the data showing that government-funded hospitals in the U.S. have lower mortality rates than private hospitals due to their use of staff with higher training.
It would have been nice to see a more thorough discussion of these ideas instead of pushing through dogma.
The over-riding synopsis is that price controls are bad and unbridled free-markets are the only solution to society's ills. There is no research into anything that may contradict this argument.
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