You may have heard of Adam Smith and most certainly Karl Marx, but what about John Stuart Mill or Jean-Baptiste Say or John Manard Keynes? These men and many others are the forefathers of classical economic thought and On Classical Economics is an in depth look at their theories and writings. Author Thomas Sowell is a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and one of my favorite writers and a prolific one at that. You can read his regular columns at TownHall.com.
On Classical Economics is not a book for light reading and probably is more for folks who really want to probe the depths of classic economic theory.
In 1946 the price of gasoline was 15 cents a gallon, the average cost of a car was $1,120 and an average house was $5,600 and I wasn’t born. Also in 1946, Economics in One Lesson was published as an economics textbook. A few questions probably come to mind:
- Why read a textbook?
- Why read a book about economics?
- Why read a book written in 1946?
I bought the book because Henry Hazlitt is credited as the author of the Broken Window Fallacy and I was interested in the concepts behind the story. I did not realize that it was a textbook and didn’t expect much as I started to read. It only took a few pages to become immersed in the pages.
How would you like it if the cost of milk were only two dollars a gallon? Milk for 99 cents a loaf (and that’s for the fresh stuff)? How about a gallon of gasoline for 75 cents. Why doesn’t the government just set the price for us?
That did happen in the old Soviet Union and is currently being implemented in Venezuela. Has it ever happened in the United States? Generally, prices in the U.S. are kept artificially high to “protect” producers. There has been a minimum price on milk for decades. Nixon, Ford, and Carter, however, promoted gasoline price controls in the 1970s.