Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why I think Henry Hazlitt is dope

Picture this, a young man in his 19th year of life who has just moved back to Alaska to work during the summer before his freshman year of college. He visits the house of an old friend where his mother resides, after talking about his choice of major and up coming classes she gifts to him a book. This book was called " Economics in One Lesson " by Henry Hazlitt.

At the time, this young man was a staunch liberal who believed in several things. Some of these were that any government spending was good, businesses could only be improved by subsidies to industry and tariffs on foreign goods, and that inflation was caused purposely by big business to increase profit across the board. He would learn very quickly that all of this was false, but that his dreams for a futuristic and prosperous nation were not. 

This young man was myself, within 6 months of receiving this book I had finished my first economics class and had an amazing time participating in my first semester of SWEET had an amazing time. 

Within Henry's book, I gained an interest. I went from having little or no understanding of economics to having a basic scope of some of its principles. I understood things like supply, demand, the broken window fallacy, the tragedy of the commons, and many other things which put into perspective the reasoning behind decision making and voluntary exchange. I learned that things have value, and people value things differently, and that this concept was key to understanding how to achieve efficient usage of said items. I learned that a proper balance between regulation and freedom lead to an optimal social outcome. 

And I learned that in one easy summer afternoon a man can feel much better about his future in business than he had that morning simply from reading a book. 

Whereas now I would call this book introductory and simplistic, to someone dipping their toes in economics or just wanting an easy to understand explanation of some of its fundamentals it is an ideal work. I would suggest it as summer reading for any introductory economics class, be it high school or secondary education. 

Well done Henry, Well done

Henry Hazlitt
1894 - 1993

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