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Economics in Two Lessons

Why Markets Work So Well, and Why They Can Fail So Badly

John Quiggin



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Princeton University Pres
01 May 2021
A masterly introduction to the key ideas behind the successes-and failures-of free-market economics.

Since 1946, Henry Hazlitt's bestselling Economics in One Lesson has popularised the belief that economics can be boiled down to one simple lesson: market prices represent the true cost of everything. But one-lesson economics tells only half the story. It can explain why markets often work so well, but it can't explain why they often fail so badly - or what we should do when they stumble.

As Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Samuelson quipped, 'When someone preaches Economics in one lesson, I advise: Go back for the second lesson.' In Economics in Two Lessons, John Quiggin teaches both lessons, offering a masterly introduction to the key ideas behind the successes - and failures - of free markets.

Brilliantly accessible, this book unlocks the essential issues at the heart of any economic question.
By:   John Quiggin
Imprint:   Princeton University Pres
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 216mm,  Width: 140mm, 
ISBN:   9780691217420
ISBN 10:   0691217424
Pages:   408
Publication Date:   01 May 2021
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

John Quiggin is the Laureate Professor in Economics at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. He is the author of Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk among Us (Princeton). Twitter @JohnQuiggin

Reviews for Economics in Two Lessons: Why Markets Work So Well, and Why They Can Fail So Badly

There is little doubt that Quiggin's Economics in Two Lessons will be an instant classic and feature on university reading lists around the world. It should also be compulsory reading for policymakers and public commentators, who all too often lack a framework for thinking clearly about the costs and benefits of markets. The good news is that Quiggin has one--and he's happy to share. ---Richard Holden, Inside Story This popular, accessible introduction to economics is organized around an idea that is brilliantly simple yet encompassing. --Suresh Naidu, Columbia University A brilliant book. People often try to write for readers who know no economics, but they rarely succeed. This book is an exception. --Roger Backhouse, author of The Ordinary Business of Life: A History of Economics from the Ancient World to the Twenty-First Century With a confident style, John Quiggin weaves together clear theory and fascinating stories to explain why markets work and why they fail. He makes the case that one-lesson economics, based on the idea that market prices are always right, is as useful as a one-wheeled bicycle. If you want to understand what free-market economics gets right, and when governments need to step in, this is the book for you. My two lessons: buy it, and read it. --Andrew Leigh, member of the Parliament of Australia With apologies to Isaiah Berlin, Quiggin is a foxy hedgehog: He knows two big things, and these twin lessons--about the virtues and limits of markets--sustain a pioneering, persuasive, and even passionate case for democracy and the mixed economy. Make room for two lessons in your mind, and on your bookshelf. --Jacob S. Hacker, coauthor of American Amnesia: How the War on Government Led Us to Forget What Made America Prosper

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