II. The Broken Window m. The Blessings of Destruction iv. Public Works Mean Taxes v. Taxes Discourage Production vi. Credit Diverts Production vn. The Curse. PART TWO: THE LESSON APPLIED. The Broken Window. III. The Blessings of Destruction iv. Public Works Mean Taxes. v. Taxes Discourage Production vi. Henry Hazlitt Economics in One Henry Hazlitt Economics in One Shield icon library. Topics. Big Government · Biographies · Booms and.

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Nobel Laureate in Economics, F.A. Hayek said in about Hazlitt‟s book: “It is a “[T]he whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that. Henry Hazlitt Economics in one lesson. Angelo De Florio. Loading Preview. Sorry , preview is currently unavailable. You can download the paper by clicking the. PART ONE: THE LESSON. 1. The Lesson. PART TWO: THE LESSON APPLIED. 2. The Broken Window PART THREE: THE LESSON AFTER THIRTY YEARS.

My greatest debt, with respect to the kind of expository framework on which the present argument is hung, is to Frederic Bastiat's essay Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas, now nearly a century old.

The present work may, in fact, be regarded as a modernization, extension and generalization of the approach found in Bastiat's pamphlet. My second debt is to Philip Wicksteed: in particular the chapters on wages and the final summary chapter owe much to his Commonsense of Political Economy.

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My third debt is to Ludwig von Mises. Passing over everything that this elementary treatise may owe to his writings in general, my most specific debt is to his exposition of the manner in which the process of monetary inflation is spread. When analyzing fallacies, I have thought it still less advisable to mention particular names than in giving credit. T o do so would have required special justice to each writer criticized, with exact quotations, account taken of the particular emphasis he places on this point or that, the qualifications he makes, his personal ambiguities, inconsistencies, and so on.

The object of this book is not to expose the special errors of particular writers, but economic errors in their most frequent, widespread or influential form.

Fallacies, when they have reached the popular stage, become anonymous anyway. The subtleties or obscurities to be found in the authors most responsible for propagating them are washed off.

A doctrine becomes simplified; the sophism that may have been buried in a network of qualifications, ambiguities or mathematical equations stands clear.


I hope I shall not be accused of injustice on the ground, therefore, that a fashionable doctrine in the form in which I have presented it is not precisely the doctrine as it has been formulated by Lord Keynes or some other special author. It becomes economical to ship goods across the two ends. As a result, more commerce springs up on both sides, and the economy becomes more vibrant thereby creating more jobs.

The increase in income both in terms of more jobs and more profits generates revenue for the government that more than pays for the cost of the bridge even without raising taxes.

Is this a fantasy scenario? No, not really. I don't think anyone can deny that that facilitated trade in an enormous way. The internet is another thing that was developed by the US government and that has generated billions of dollars in new forms of trade and business.

Of course, according to Hazlitt these facts can't exist. I guess we'll just have to modify reality then to fit the theory.

Counterfactual 2: On the other hand, a private company builds a bridge. It charges a toll to cross the bridge. It not only makes some money, in fact, it makes a pretty good profit, because it effectively has a monopoly on the fastest transport route between the two points. This would also be the most beneficial form of rent extraction for the management who stand to benefit most from this kind of immediate return on investment. It therefore has an economic reason to charge the highest toll that the market can bear.

But because transport costs don't go down by much, the impact on the economy is minimal.

[PDF site] Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics

Some extra jobs are created, but income is largely diverted into the costs of paying the toll of the company. The company pays its management more, who then fly off to Ibiza to party and spend their wealth. The rest which is not spent is housed in a numbered bank account in Switzerland to evade taxes.

You think companies don't behave in a greedy, short-sighted way? Think Enron or Lehman Brothers.

Or Goldman Sachs. Or hey, the original robber baron himself: Rockerfeller. You really don't have to try too hard. Counterfactual 3: It's during a massive depression. People aren't spending money and saving what little trickles their way. A company looks into the possibility of building a bridge across the valley thinking it might be a good investment opportunity. After doing its sums, it decides that the return on investment will be too low since the economy is rotten and people aren't consuming.

It decides against it, and instead decides to invest by bidding for a construction infrastructure job in China where the government subsidies make the job more profitable. Note, by the way, that this is a variation on what is currently happening with the solar panels industry in the US and China.

Counterfactual 4: It's still a massive depression, and people still aren't consuming.

Hazlitt Economics in One Lesson

Deflation is destroying company profits but a brave company decides to invest in building a bridge. The capital investment requires a bank loan.

After looking at the business plan, the bank refuses the loan because it decides the risk is too high. Real life possibility? Yep, just happened. Lots of banks tightened lending even to solvent profit-making companies during the Great Recession. This hit SMEs particularly hard. Not only were they not in a position to invest in new opportunities thereby creating more jobs , some perfectly good companies faced potential shut-down when revolving credit facilities were turned off.

Relying on revolving credit is a perfectly normal and legitimate business strategy to even out cash flow. Counterfactual 6: The bank agrees to the loan.

But because the economy is in the doldrums and in deflationary mode, relative to the price of tolls that can be charged, the cost of the loan increases year after year. This eventually causes the company to go bankrupt. Because the economy is bad, no one wants to download the bridge.

The inability to recover on the loan causes the bank to close shop destroying what savings people had stored in it. To save costs, the company had cut corners on building the bridge which due to lack of repair collapses. Real life example? Oh, just look at any developing country where short-sighted, unregulated companies look to make a quick profit. Hey, I don't even have to look at a developing country.

The fact that there is more and cheaper coffee for everyone is lost sight of; what is seen is merely that some coffee growers cannot make a living at the lower price.

The increased output of shoes at lower cost by the new machine is forgotten; what is seen is a group of men and women thrown out of work. One of the more important lessons of Public Choice economics is that political institutions induce people to choose an inefficient policy when the rules of the game allow them to concentrate benefits and disperse costs.

Suppose though that there are , taxpayers but only 10 beneficiaries of the trees.

It occurred to me that here is another way of expressing the contrast between the logic of politics versus the logic of the market process. Namely, in interventionist politics it makes sense to concentrate benefits and disperse costs, while in a flourishing economy, competition sometimes concentrates negative consequences and disperses benefits. That goes especially for economists who wish to explain complex ideas to a popular audience.We disregard economics and history at our own peril.

He was writing under the influence of Mises himself, of course, but he brought his own special gifts to the project.

Of course, according to Hazlitt these facts can't exist. My greatest debt, with respect to the kind of expository framework on which the present argument is hung, is to Frederic Bastiat's essay Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas, now nearly a century old.

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Random House. After doing its sums, it decides that the return on investment will be too low since the economy is rotten and people aren't consuming.

And it hurts the economy because production becomes less valued.