Universal Economics: Title of a new textbook which tries to explain economics in a way that anyone can understand

Came across this new textbook titled Universal Economics By Armen A. Alchian and William R. Allen and Edited by Jerry L. Jordan:

Universal Economics is a new work that builds on the foundation of its two predecessors, University Economics (1964, 1967, 1972) and Exchange and Production (1969, 1977, 1983). Collaborating again, Professors Alchian and Allen have written a fresh, final presentation of the analytical tools employed in the economic way of thinking.

Universal Economics shows the critical importance of property rights to the existence and success of market economies. The authors explain the interconnection between goods prices and productive-asset prices and how market-determined interest rates bring about the allocation of resources toward the satisfaction of consumption demands versus saving/investment priorities. They show how the crucial role of prices in a market economy cannot be well understood without a firm grasp of the role of money in the modern world. The Alchian and Allen application of information and search-cost analysis to the subject of money, price determination, and inflation is unique in the teaching of economic principles.

Armen A. Alchian (1914–2013), one of the twentieth century’s great teachers of economic science, taught at UCLA from 1958 to 1984. Founder of the UCLA tradition in economics, he has become recognized as one of the most influential voices in the areas of market structure, property rights, and the theory of the firm.

William R. Allen taught at Washington University prior to joining the UCLA faculty in 1952. Along with research primarily in international economics and the history of economic theory, he has concentrated on teaching economics. Universal Economics is his third textbook collaboration with Armen Alchian.

Jerry L. Jordan wrote his doctoral dissertation under the direction of Armen Alchian. He was Dean of the School of Management at the University of New Mexico, a member of President Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisors and of the U.S. Gold Commission, Director of Research of the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis, and President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

Here is a brief book review by Prof Walter Williams of George Mason University:

Universal Economics’ 680 pages, not including its glossary and index, reflect a friendly chat I had with professor Alchian during one of the UCLA economics department’s weekly faculty/graduate student coffee hours, in which he said, “Williams, the true test of whether someone understands his subject is whether he can explain it to someone who doesn’t know a darn thing about it.”

That’s precisely what Universal Economics does — explain economics in a way that anyone can understand. There’s no economic jargon, just a tiny bit of simple mathematics and a few graphs.

Chapter 1 introduces the fundamental issue that faces all of mankind — scarcity. How does one know whether things are scarce? That’s easy. When human wants exceed the means to satisfy those wants, we say that there’s scarcity.

The bounds to human wants do not frequently reveal themselves; however, the means to satisfy those wants are indeed limited. Thus, scarcity creates conflict issues — namely, what things will be produced, how will they be produced, when will they be produced and who will get them? Analyzing those issues represents the heart of microeconomics.

Alchian and Allen want your study of economics to be “interesting and enjoyable.” They caution: “You’ll be brainwashed — in the ‘desirable’ sense of removing erroneous beliefs. You will begin to suspect that a vast majority of what people popularly believe about economic events is at least misleading and often wrong.” The authors give a long list of erroneous beliefs that people hold.

Here’s a tiny sample: Employers pay for employer-provided insurance; larger incomes for some people require smaller incomes for others; minimum wage legislation helps the unskilled and minorities; foreign imports reduce the number of domestic jobs; “equal pay for equal work” laws aid women, minorities and the young; labor unions protect the natural brotherhood and collective well-being of workers against their natural enemies, employers; and we cannot compete in a world in which most foreign wages are lower than wages paid to domestic workers.

….

At the end of many of Universal Economics’ 42 chapters, there’s a section named “Questions and Meditations.” Here’s my guarantee: If you know and can understand those questions and answers, you will be better trained than the average economist teaching or working in Washington, D.C.

Hmm… Should look this up..

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