Cover image for Basic economics : a common sense guide to the economy
Basic economics : a common sense guide to the economy
Sowell, Thomas, 1930-
Personal Author:
Fifth edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Basic Books, [2015]

Physical Description:
ix, 689 pages ; 24 cm
A presentation of economics in plain language.

A presentation of economics in plain, straightforward language, without the jargon, graphs, or equations that dominate most other economic writings. This book is aimed at people with no previous study of the subject, namely the general public and beginning students in economics. Basic Economics illustrates economic principles with vivid examples from countries around the world, to make those principles memorable in a way that technical jargon or mathematical presentations may not. The fifth edition includes a new chapter on the reasons for large differences of income and wealth between nations. It also examines some popular explanations of these differences that will not stand up under scrutiny. This chapter, and the chapter on the history of economics itself, give the beginning student a larger context for understanding the role of economics.--From publisher description.
Part 1: Prices and markets. The role of prices ; Price controls ; An overview of prices -- Part 2: Industry and commerce. The rise and fall of businesses ; The role of profits--and losses ; The economics of big business ; Regulation and anti-trust laws ; Market and non-market economies -- Part 3: Work and pay. Productivity and pay ; Minimum wage laws ; Special problems in labor markets -- Part 4: Time and risk. Investment. ; Stocks, bonds and insurance ; Special problems of time and risk -- Part 5: The national economy. National output ; Money and the banking system ; Government functions ; Government finance ; Special problems in the national economy -- Part 6: The international economy. International trade ; International transfers of wealth ; International disparities in wealth -- Part 7: Special economic issues. Myths about markets ; "Non-economic" values ; The history of economics ; Parting thoughts.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HB171 .S713 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In this fifth edition of Basic Economics , Thomas Sowell revises and updates his popular book on common sense 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.

Author Notes

Thomas Sowell is the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, and Amherst. Author of Intellectuals and Society and the classic Basic Economics, among others, Sowell lives in Stanford, California.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

In this fifth edition of his best-selling introductory economics book, Sowell (Hoover Institution) updates his presentation and discussion of several topics from the fourth edition (CH, May'11, 48-5211). For example, the chapter previously called "Controlled Labor Markets" has been changed to "Minimum Wage Laws." While modifications like this do not reflect a significant change in content, they do indicate that Sowell is paying attention to what readers are interested in and providing them with more focused content. This is most evident in the one entirely new chapter titled "International Disparities in Wealth." While the new chapter does a good job covering the role played by geography, culture, human capital, population size, and imperialism, it is disappointing that Sowell does not touch on the role of institutions in economic development. Douglass North's Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance (CH, May'91, 28-5186) and Acemoglu and Robinson's Why Nations Fail (CH, Sep'12, 50-0390) have shown the important role that political and economic institutions play in economic development. Failing to include them mars what is otherwise an excellent revision to an already highly regarded book. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers. --Joshua C. Hall, West Virginia University