Summary of Basic Economics

A Citizen's Guide to the Economy

Basic Books, more...

Buy the book

Basic Economics book summary
Economics is a science that is wide open to interpretation as seen in this classic, if conservative, explanation.


7 Overall

6 Applicability

7 Innovation

9 Style


Anyone not familiar with the work of Thomas Sowell would be well advised to check out the blurbs on the back of the dust jacket of Basic Economics, where praise flows from conservative bastions like The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and the American Enterprise Institute. Take this as a warning that, even though Sowell’s book does offer an excellent plain-English explanation of fundamental economics, its real mission is to explain how many societal catastrophes are caused by government policies he deems faulty. In so doing, he takes aim at minimum wage standards, rent control and, through his spirited defense of international trade, the anti-globalization crowd. But no matter which side of the ideological fence you occupy, suggests reading this book for its insightful distillation of some of our most passionate political debates down to their economic essentials.

In this summary, you will learn

  • The concepts and terms that make up basic economics;
  • How basic economic principles guide and affect markets, societies and government policies; and
  • How politicians and the media distort and ignore economic fundamentals to advance their own agendas.


What is Economics?
When the African countries of Ghana and Ivory Coast achieved independence in the 1960s, the presidents of neighboring nations made a bet about which nation would be more prosperous in the years to come. At the time, it seemed like a sucker’s bet: Ghana was already richer...
Get the key points from this book in less than 10 minutes. Learn more about our products or log in

About the Author

Thomas Sowell is the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has taught economics at colleges and universities across the country and has published articles and books on economics in the United States and overseas.

Comment on this summary

More on this topic

By the same author

Customers who read this summary also read

More by category