What a delicious time to read this little book! Presidential elections, tax season – it’s the perfect context!
I’m going to do a little Economics for Dummies version. Here’s my distillation of this week’s reading.
~ Consider the invisible blanks (my word, not his): what doesn’t or can’t happen because of a particular economic decision.
~ need ≠ demand
~ Demand = need + purchasing power
~ Everything must be paid for. My mom used to say, “Nothing is free in this world, except salvation.”
~ Inflation = a vicious form of taxation
~ All credit (as in credit card, store credit, credit line) = debt
We ought to change the way we speak, giving names which are more accurate: debt card, debt line, etc.
The Broken Window chapter was especially interesting to me: a gust of wind blew out a 10′ x 6′ window at the pharmacy where I work. I read the chapter with my own broken window in mind.
I learned something:
~ Claude Frédéric Bastiat (1801-1850) an French economist whose major contribution was the admonition to take into account “the full picture”. Oh, what a find! My journal is filling up with quotes from this man!
~ Norris Dam referenced by Hazlitt as an example of a government project
This interview with Henry Hazlitt was helpful. He was an autodidact!
Interviewer: But wasn’t Keynes a very brilliant man?
Hazlitt: A very brilliant man, indeed, a very brilliant writer, a very witty writer. But being a brilliant writer was confused with being a brilliant economist. He wasn’t. We should never confuse wit with profundity.