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Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

Economics in One Lesson, first published in 1946, criticizes some of the fallacies regarding the current economic system. For example, Hazlitt first highlights the commonly adopted view that destruction creates work, and that when human effort is required to fix said destruction, wealth is generated as payment made to the person who did the repairs. Of course, that obviously ignores the possibility that that wealth could have been spent on something constructive instead had no destruction took place.

In other words, the fundamental point made by Hazlitt is that just about anything can be justified when viewed in isolation. He examines other issues such as taxation, employment, minimum wage, pricing, amongst other things, applying the same mentality of looking at the big picture—that is, he considers the general, long-term and “secondary” effects instead of merely the short-term effects on a particular group or aspect of society.

Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

It is generally not a bad text. It is easily accessible and Hazlitt avoids unnecessary jargon. His criticisms go beyond many textbooks and it is at least a step in the right direction. However, the one weakness of his discussion is that he mostly accepts the modern debt-based economic system as is. Whilst he does in effect convey the principle that money is meant to represent human effort, he does not dissect the debt-based economic system driven by interest and fractional banking, which is the most important point if one wants to remedy the current evils of the system.


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