In Henry Hazlitt’s book, Economics in One Lesson, he introduces us to the single lesson to root out many common and, unfortunately, seemingly complex fallacies in economic thinking. His one lesson:
“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”
The rest of his book progresses from the simple, practical, and tangible to the complex, abstract, and removed problems that face economists daily. Without complicating his one lesson, he shows that much of today’s economic policies fallaciously seek the approval of those who emphasize the immediate solutions to the problems of special interest groups instead of considering the long term solutions to society.
While Hazlett is ambitious enough to propose that a single lesson can go a long way to clear the flack of fallacious thinking, he is humble enough to admit that there is much further to be understood. Below is a book list for beginning or continuing your own investigation in understanding economic policies and theories.
- Economics by Frederic Benham
- Principles of Economics by Raymond T. Bye
Readable and Entertaining:
- Wealth by Edwin Canaan
- Money by Edwin Canaan
- Essentials of Economic Theory by John Bates Clark
Thorough Economic Books:
- Human Action: A Treatise on Economics by Ludwig von Mises
- Principles of Economics by Frank William Taussig
- The Common Sense of Political Economy by Philip Henry Wicksteed
The Economic Classics:
- The Distribution of Wealth by John Bates Clark (1899)
- Principles of Economics by Alfred Marshall (1890)
- The Positive Theory of Capital by Eugen Böhm von Bawerk (1888)
- The Theory of Political Economy by William Stanley Jevons (1871)
- Principles of Political Economy by John Stuart Mill (1848)
- Principles of Political Economy and Taxation by David Ricardo (1817)
- The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (1776)
Books Similar in Ideology to Hazlitt:
- The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek
- Economic Planning and International Order by Stephen P. Robbins
- International Economic Disintegration by Wilhelm Röpke
- Ordeal by Planning by John Jewkes
- Planned Chaos by Ludwig von Mises
- Socialism by Ludwig von Mises (Considered the most devastating critique of socialism ever produced)
- Economic Sophisms by Frédéric Bastiat (Especially the essay on What Is Seen and What is Not-Seen)
Henry Hazlitt. Considered among the leading economic thinkers of the “Austrian School,” which includes Carl Menger, Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich (F.A.) Hayek, and others, Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993), was a libertarian philosopher, an economist, and a journalist. He was the founding vice-president of the Foundation for Economic Education and an early editor of The Freeman magazine, an influential libertarian publication. Hazlitt wrote Economics in One Lesson, his seminal work, in 1946. 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.
Many current economic commentators across the political spectrum have credited Hazlitt with foreseeing the collapse of the global economy which occurred more than 50 years after the initial publication of Economics in One Lesson. Hazlitt’s focus on non-governmental solutions, strong — and strongly reasoned — anti-deficit position, and general emphasis on free markets, economic liberty of individuals, and the dangers of government intervention make Economics in One Lesson, every bit as relevant and valuable today as it has been since publication.