Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Basic Economics, Part 2

Well, I finally finished the book, Basic Economics . . . about a week ago. It's just taken me this long to find the time to write a brief post on it.

After finishing it, I think that it's even more worth reading than I did in the first post. Yes, Sowell does repeat himself at times, using the same story to illustrate more than one point, but the fact remains that he makes a great case for free markets over a controlled economy. But we've seen that. Think of the differences between East and West Germany, North and South Korea, Eastern and Western Europe, Cuba and the United States. Don't forget Taiwan and Hong Kong vs. China. Which way were people running? Who was killing people in order to stop their escape from workers' utopias? And then there's the rise of Singapore, while the countries around it remain mired in poverty. The fact that there are some in government and media who still want us to believe that the economy can be brought under control without destroying it, makes me wonder if these intellectuals are half as smart as they think they are. Who are they trying to kid?

The chapters on "Market Myths" and government meddling are worth rereading. Except you (or at least I did) end up getting angry that special interests are allowed to feed off of the rest of us in the interest of "fair trade" and "preserving American jobs". Why do special interests have so much power anyway? It's because the government has too much control over the economy as it is. They have created a system that fosters corruption, that has industries battling each other for government largess. In creating tariffs in order to protect jobs in the American steel industry, more jobs were lost than were protected due to artificially high steel costs. Why is sugar so expensive? Because of tariffs leveled against foreign sugar? Remember the gas lines under Jimmy Carter in the late 70s? They were because of laws capping the price of gasoline. Power shortages in California? Same cause, different politicians. Why do our leaders do this? In order to buy votes of course. Their first loyalty is to themselves.

Both Obama and Hillary are out to kill the goose that laid the golden egg in their rush to redistribute wealth from those who earned it to those who want it. They're going to kill us with Universal "Health Care." One of the biggest points Sowell makes is that all of these schemes to "level the playing field" and to end "exploitation" of the poor by the rich, price controls, wage controls, have all been tried numerous times throughout history, and they've led to increased misery and suffering every time. A major theme throughout the book is that there is a reason that things have prices. And if we allow the government or any organization, even if they pretend that they are benevolent, to raise or lower prices or wages according to whim, they will skew the market and cause shortages and worse chaos than there was before the meddlers began "fixing" things. You know what else? The Great Depression was not a failure of Capitalism, It was a failure of government. These are all facts and concepts that aren't taught in our schools, so people don't know. They're open to every demagogue who promises to make life easier and increase their wealth at the expense of the "evil greedy capitalist."

OK, that's it. No more posts on this book. I've said everything I have to say . . . I think. Now go out and read it.

P.S. Over at American Digest, there is an interesting post that relates directly to all of this and gives another reason . . . not . . . to . . . vote . . . for . . . O - b - a - m - a. Or will it be O'Bama for St. Patrick's Day?

And who is more of a Lady Macbeth? Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama?

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At 8:51 PM, Blogger Jungle Mom said...

Thanks fro reviewing this book. I plan to order it for my daughter as part of an economics course..


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