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How to Think about the Economy: A Primer

How to Think About the Economy: A Primer

Tags Austrian Economics Overview

08/17/2022Per Bylund

From the Preface ...

This little book was written to accomplish something big: economic literacy. It is intentionally kept very short to be inviting rather than intimidating, as economics books typically are. If I managed to meet this bar, you, the reader, will gain life-changing understanding of how the economy works in practically no time. This is lots of value at a very low cost.

If I have managed to exceed expectations, this book will also make you excited about what economics has to offer. Because economic literacy is mind-opening. Sound economic reasoning is an enormously powerful tool for understanding both the economy and society. It uncovers what is going on under the surface and why things are the way they are. In fact, economic literacy is necessary to properly understand the world.

Part I: Economics
1.   What Economics Is
           The Economy
           The Economic Problem
           Economics as Understanding
2.   Economic Theory
           The Starting Point
           Unpacking Human Action
           The Genius of the Action Axiom
3.   How to Do Economics
           The Meaning of Exchange
           Price and Value
           Price Mechanism
           The Step-by-Step Method
           Economics as a Social Science

Part II: Market
4.   A Process, Not a Factory
          A Coordinated Process
          Continuous Innovation
          Continuous Uncertainty
5.   Production and Entrepreneurship
          Production to Overcome Scarcity
          Capital and Production
          The Role of the Entrepreneur
          Entrepreneurs Make Mistakes
6.   Value, Money, and Price
          The Problem of Measuring Value
          The Use of Money
          The Emergence of Money
          The Importance of Money
          Money Prices
          Fiat Currency and Price Inflation
7.   Economic Calculation
          The Nature of a Productive Economy
          The Driving Force
          The Production of Value
          Entrepreneurship and Management

Part III: Intervention
8.   Monetary Intervention
          The Boom-Bust Cycle
          The Rate of Return and Capital Investments
          The Cause and Nature of the Artificial Boom
          The Turning Point
          The Corrective Bust
9.   Regulatory Intervention
          The Seen
          The Unseen
          The Unrealized
Conclusion: Action and Interaction
Further Reading

Note: The views expressed on are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

Contact Per Bylund

Per Bylund is associateprofessor of entrepreneurship & Records-Johnston Professor of Free Enterprise in the School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University. Website:

Cite This Article

Bylund, Per, How to Think about the Economy: A Primer (Auburn, AL: Mises Institute, 2022).

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