Economics in One Lesson

For another class, I read this summary of Henry Hazlitt's book, Economics in One Lesson. Thought written more than 60 years ago, his ideas have become more relevant with each passing decade, especially in the context of government spending during the past ten years or so. Even the summary is a bit lengthy, so you'll probably want to just skim it but here are two excerpts:

“It is highly improbable that the projects thought up by the bureaucrats will provide the same net addition to wealth and welfare, per dollar expended, as would have been provided by the taxpayers themselves, if they had been individually permitted to buy or have made what they themselves wanted, instead of being forced to surrender part of their earnings to the state.” (p. 36) "When the government makes loans or subsidies to business, what it does is to tax successful private business in order to support unsuccessful private business.” (pp. 47-8)

When government forcibly redistributes wealth from the rich to the poor, the increased costs that inevitably result cause a reduction in real wages.

1 comment:

Dr. Tufte said...

Hazlitt is great! Now I want to know what class you had to read it for.

Here's a mind stretcher, based on the quote: what if government taxed firms that lost money instead of made money? How would the world look different?