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Basic Economics Research Papers

Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy is a layman’s guide to the basics of economics, free from technical jargon, written by Thomas Sowell. Thomas Sowell, currently the scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, uses real-life examples from around the world in order to illustrate his points, declaring that learning economics should be both uncomplicated and eye-opening.

Basic EconomicsCurrently in its fifth edition, Basic Economics has the benefit for the lay reader of being devoid of charts and graphs.

  • Sowell wants the book to inform readers, especially in the ways in which basic economic principles affect daily lives and society.
  • Sowell claims in the book that the basics underlying principles of economic thought are not hard to understand, and are largely similar in both ancient and modern societies, around the world.
  • At its most basic level, economics, according to Sowell, is the study of the use of scarce resources that have some alternative use.

Basic Economics explores the results of decisions that human beings, individually and in groups, make regarding the use of land, labor, and capital, in that these decisions are often more consequential to society than the resources being used. As Sowell points out in Basic Economics, the science of economics is not business administration or predicting the rise or fall of the stock market. Instead, it is systematic study of cause and effect, where consequences of decisions are more important than any goal.

Regionally, the U.S. attempts to achieve a broad multilateral consensus on hemispheric issues through participation in the Organization of American States (OAS), though the great majority of OAS member countries have decided to depart from preferred U.S. policy and open normal diplomatic and trade relations with Cuba.  Regional trade integration has taken place through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI). The African Growth and Opportunity Act, signed in 2000, expands the U.S. commitment to reducing trade barriers to encompass many countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) entered into force in 1994, merchandise trade among the U.S., Canada and Mexico has approximately doubled.  The United States’ relationship with Canada is perhaps the closest and most extensive between any two countries. Over US $1 billion in daily trade crosses the countries’ shared border, the longest open border in the world. The two countries are also each other’s principal foreign investors.

With the emergence of NAFTRA, factories called "maquiladoras" have opened along the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border.  These plants generally import and assemble components and re-export finished consumer goods. 

Overall, it is clear that while Americans need to hold on to their freedoms and their ideologies, if they continue to miss the point on the economy, there may not be much left to live for in the end. At the present time almost one-third of the population does not have health insurance. Although it is clear that the government currently does not have the money to fund state-sponsored healthcare, it is clear that if this trend continues, the public health crises that arise will significantly compromise the overall health of the economy. Further, even though the government and the President contend that they going to take steps to reduce the deficit, to date, not one spending bill pushed through Congress has been stopped. While Bush argues for fiscal restraint, he is will to put money into his pet projects will pulling money out of Head Start Programs, Medicaid and other vital social services programs that the public needs.

Americans do indeed need to be savvier about what is happening with the economy. The basic ideas of supply and demand should be taught to every elementary school student so that when these children grow up they will at least have rudimentary knowledge of how capitalism works. In this respect Coulter is on the mark. American’s need to realize that the current economic situation in the U.S. is not stable or improving; rather it is stagnant and tenuous. If change is to occur, more capital needs to be brought into the system, and not from more borrowing on the part of the government.

When put in perspective, the issues that Coulter raises in her book force the reader to look at the macroeconomics involved in the development of the economy and politics overall. Unfortunately, the two are critically linked at the present time, and the specific actions that are undertaken by the government invariably have definitive ramifications for the economy and the individual taxpayer. To some extent Americans need to be more aware of these integral connections so that when they hear the words “tax cuts” they are able to think about what these cuts will really mean for the development of the economy and society as a whole.

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