Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Common Sense Economics

Common Sense Economics

What Everyone Should Know About Wealth and Prosperity

James D. Gwartney, Richard L. Stroup, Dwight R. Lee, and Tawni Hunt Ferrarini

St. Martin's Press




"The authors tell us what everyone should know about economics in language we can all understand. It's refreshing when four of the best in the profession avoid the all-too-common practice of writing in a code that only other economists can comprehend." ---Robert McTeer, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas

With the global economy recovering from a steep recession, those who fail to grasp basic economic principles such as gains from trade, the role of profit and loss, and the secondary effects of government spending, taxes, and borrowing risk falling behind in their professional careers--even their personal lives. Common Sense Economics discusses key principles and uses them to show how to make wise personal and policy choices.

This new edition of a classic from James D. Gwartney, Richard L. Stroup, Dwight R. Lee, and Tawni H. Ferrarini, with reflections on the recent recession and the policy response to it, illuminates our world and what might be done to make it better.




Life is about choices, and economics is about how incentives affect those choices and shape our lives. Choices about our education, how we spend and invest, what we do in the workplace,...


Praise for Common Sense Economics

“Economic Journalism is often based on slip-shod analysis; scientific treatises are analytically coherent but unintelligible. This book is an effort to bridge the awesome gap between these levels of discourse. It is solid economic analysis, simply presented.” —Nobel Laureate James Buchanan

“If this book had been written a century ago the wasteful experiments with command economies might have been avoided. After my college-age children read this new edition, their understanding of how markets create social cooperation and wealth and how they can personally be guided in their finances sharply advanced.” —Gary M. Walton, Professor of Economics, University of California, Davis and President of the Foundation for Teaching Economics

“I gave a copy of Common Sense Economics to one of my colleagues who teaches accounting here. He read it this weekend and thought it was so good that he is considering paying his students (half the cost) to read it. We both think the lessons are perfect.” —Kelly Hunter Markson, Ph.D., Instructor of Economics, Wake Technical Community College

“My high school students really enjoy this book. It is easy for them to understand and it presents important economic concepts in plain language using clear, often clever, examples. They read the whole book, and we discuss it page by page during class discussion. I believe they get more out of it than their regular text.” —David Gardner, Principal and Teacher, Frederica Academy (Georgia)

Common Sense Economics is about both personal prosperity and the wealth of nations. It explains how and why ordinary people are able to accomplish extraordinary things when they are economically free and when the policies and institutions of their government are supportive of that freedom.” —Wayne Angell, Member, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (1986–1994)

Common Sense Economics makes economic principles as obvious and simple as they can be. By weaving careful reasoning with memorable examples and clear writing, the authors explain how economies grow (or don't grow); how prices coordinate economic activity; and how governments promote or deter economic progress. This is an extraordinary contribution to economic education.” —Kenneth G. Elzinga, Robert C. Taylor Professor of Economics, University of Virginia

“Economics is not only fun and exciting, it's mostly plain common sense. The authors have done a yeoman's job in proving just that. Common Sense Economics is not only a fun, readable read but can serve as a handy and important reference for students, teachers, businessmen, members of the media, politicians, and trained economists.” —Walter E. Williams, John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, George Mason University

Common Sense Economics takes the economic way of thinking to the next level. If every high school graduate understood the principles in this book, people would make wiser choices as consumers, producers, and citizens and the United States would be more prosperous.” —John Morton, former Vice President for Program Development, National Council on Economic Education

“In a time when public policy is being influenced primarily by need, greed, and compassion, this text sets out, in laymen's terms, the most basic understanding of how the economy really works. Common Sense Economics is a must-read for anyone interested in the truth about wealth creation and effective public policy.” —J. R. Clark, Probasco Chair, The University of Tennessee and Executive Director, Association of Private Enterprise Education

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

James D. Gwartney, Richard L. Stroup, Dwight R. Lee, and Tawni Hunt Ferrarini

James D. Gwartney holds the Gus A. Stavros Eminent Scholar Chair at Florida State University and is the director of the Stavros Center for the Advancement of Free Enterprise and Economic Education.

Richard L. Stroup is the author of Eco-Nomics and an adjunct professor of economics at North Carolina State University.

Dwight R. Lee is coauthor of Getting Rich in America and holds the William J. O'Neil Chair of Global Markets and Freedom at Southern Methodist University.

Tawni H. Ferrarini is the Sam M. Cohodas Professor of Economics and the Director of the Center for Economic Education and Entrepreneurship at Northern Michigan University.

James D. Gwartney

James D. Gwartney

Richard L. Stroup

Richard L. Stroup

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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