Economics For Dummies, 3rd Edition (For Dummies (Business & Personal Finance))

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Economics For Dummies, 3rd Edition (For Dummies (Business & Personal Finance))

Economics For Dummies, 3rd Edition (For Dummies (Business & Personal Finance))

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This is my first “for dummies” book I’ve read, mostly because I felt insulted the entire time I was reading it, but it does exactly what it says it’s going to. Spells out complicated concepts for the feeble-minded among us. I gave this book a 2/5, but I should note that how one wishes to use this book is likely to change how it should be rated. As an introduction to pretty mainstream economics, this is a good guide as to what lots of economists think. As a guide to how we 'should' think about economics, I'd say it's not very good. Microeconomics gets down to the nitty gritty, studying the most fundamental economic agents: individuals and firms. This section delves deeper into the micro side of economics, including info on supply and demand, competition, property rights, problems with markets, and the economics of healthcare. Balancing supply and demand US spends more of its money on healthcare than any other country, but its life expectancy and infant mortality is poorer than many. For example, Singapore has much higher life expectancy and lower infant mortality than the US but spends SUBSTANTIALLY less. Just above them is UK, and Canada falls somewhere between the UK and the US (suggesting that the more socialized healthcare is, the better it is, in terms of cost and quality). Straight or curvy, you can visualize the fact that price and quantity demanded have an inverse relationship: When price goes up, quantity demanded goes down. The inverse relationship implies that demand curves slope downward.

Those biases aside, this is an excellent book. Sean presents his wealth of knowledge on the subject with just the right amount of detail and technical terms balanced by layman's terms and delightful wit that makes economics--all too often perceived as dry and boring--genuinely easy to learn about and fun to read.Economists like competition, so you shouldn’t be surprised that there are a lot of competing views. Indeed, it’s only through vigorous debate and careful review of the evidence that the profession improves its understanding of how the world works. This book contains core ideas and concepts that economists agree are true and important — I try to steer clear of fads or ideas that foster a lot of disagreement. (If you want to be subjected to my opinions and pet theories, you’ll have to buy me a drink.) Individuals make economic decisions about how to get the most happiness out of their limited incomes. They do this by first assessing how much utility, or satisfaction, each possible course of action would give them. They then weigh costs and benefits to select the course of action that will yield the greatest amount of utility possible given their limited incomes. These decisions generate the demand curves that affect prices and output levels in markets. I cover these decisions and demand curves in Chapter 5. People aren’t always rational, and that matters because most of economics was developed by asking what a rational person would do in one situation or another. Behavioral economics fills in the gaps by looking at decision-making when people aren’t being rational. Four billion years of evolution has left us with brains that are prone to errors, including being overconfident and too focused on the present, being easily confused by irrelevant information, and being unable to see the bigger picture when making financial decisions. I spend Chapter 13 rationally explaining all this irrational behavior. It’s crazy fun. Zooming out: Macroeconomics and the big picture Economics gets to the heart of these issues, analyzing the behavior of individuals and firms, as well as social and political institutions, to see how well they convert humanity’s limited resources into the goods and services that best satisfy human wants and desires. Considering a Little Economic History You like learning why as well as what. That is, you want to know why things happen and how they work instead of just memorizing factoids.

Most people consider such generosity “selfless,” but it’s also consistent with assuming that people do things to make themselves happy. If people give because doing so makes them feel good, their selfless action is motivated by selfish intention." The unemployment rate, which measures what fraction of the labor force consists of those without jobs who are actively seeking jobs, normally rises during recessions and falls during expansions. The main organizing principle I use in this book is to divide economics into its two broad pieces, macroeconomics and microeconomics:To view this book’s Cheat Sheet, simply go to www.dummies.com and search for Economics For Dummies Cheat Sheet for a handy reference guide that answers common questions about economics. p. 175: "If someone owned the atmosphere, the mill’s managers would have to pay for the right to emit pollution. And if the atmosphere were owned by the people who would have to breathe in the mill’s pollution, the firm would be forced to pay those people for the right to pollute and would be forced to take into account the harm that the pollution causes them." Economics is all about how groups and individuals make choices and why they choose the things that they do. Economists have spent a great deal of time analyzing how groups make choices, but because group choice behavior usually turns out to be very similar to individual choice behavior, my focus in this chapter is on individuals.

Of course, not everything is perfect. Grinding poverty is still a fact in a large fraction of the world, and even the richest nations have to cope with pressing economic problems like unemployment and how to transition workers from dying industries to growing industries. But the fact remains that overall, the modern world is a much richer place than its predecessor, and most nations now have sustained economic growth, which means that living standards rise year after year. Identifying the institutions that raise living standards The challenge moving forward is to get even more of what people want out of the world’s limited pool of resources. This challenge needs to be faced because problems like infant mortality, child labor, malnutrition, endemic disease, illiteracy, and unemployment are all alleviated by higher living standards and an increased ability to pay for solutions to such problems. By getting a thorough handle on fundamental economic principles, you can judge for yourself the economic policy proposals that politicians and others run around promoting. After reading this book, you’ll be much better able to sort the good from the bad. Framing Economics as the Science of ScarcityEconomists like to think of human beings as free agents with free wills. To economists, people are usually rational and, thus, normally capable of making sensible decisions. But that begs the question of what motivates people and, in turn, of what sorts of things people will choose to do given their free wills.



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