Economics in One Lesson

Economics in One Lesson

ECONOMICS IN ONE LESSON by Henry Hazlitt Nobel Laureate in Economics, F.A. Hayek said in 1974 about Hazlitt‟s book: “It is a brilliant performance. It says precisely the things which need most saying and says them with rare courage and integrity. I know of no other modern book from which the intelligent layman can learn so much about the basic truths of economics in so short a time.” (Back cover) “This book is an analysis of economic fallacies that are at last so prevalent that they have almost become a new orthodoxy....its effort is to show that many of the ideas which now pass for brilliant innovations and advances are in fact mere revivals of ancient errors, and a further proof of the dictum that those who are ignorant of the past are condemned to repeat it.” (pp. 9-10) “As Morris R. Cohen has remarked: „The notion that we can dismiss the views of all previous thinkers surely leaves no basis for the hope that our own work will prove of any value to others.‟” (interior quote: Reason and Nature (1931), p.x.; Hazlitt, p.10) “It is the beliefs which politically influential groups hold and which governments act upon that we are interested in here, not the historical origins of those beliefs....Fallacies, when they have reached the popular stage, become anonymous anyway.” (p.11) The Lesson: “Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other study known to man. This is no accident.” (p. 15) “While every group has certain economic interests identical with those of all groups, every group has also, as we shall see, interests antagonistic to those of all other groups. While certain public policies would in the long run benefit everybody, other policies would benefit one group only at the expense of all other groups. The group that would benefit by such policies, having such a direct interest in them, will argue for them plausibly and persistently. It will hire the best buyable minds to devote their whole time to presenting its case.” (p. 15) “[There] is the persistent...

View Full Essay