Essentials of Economics

By Faustino Ballvé

Synopsis: First published in Spanish in 1956 by a Spanish lawyer and economist who was highly influenced by Ludwig von Mises, this is a book about the basics of economics, written for the layman. This book actually had a significant influence in Western Europe and Latin America. It is written at an introductory level, and introduces terms in italics for the reader. It covers all of the major topics important to economics in a very concise format.

Strong Points: This book is an excellent primer into economics. It is short and concise, and therefore not an intimidating read. Yet it covers all of the essential topics of economics (hence the name of the book). Within the book are discussions about the role of the entrepreneur, the nature and role of money, a straightforward elaboration of the Austrian theory of the business cycle, and criticisms of interventionism, socialism, and the command economy. It discusses problems with spurious economic theories and sets the record straight with the proper theoretical answer. It is also an interesting read and well-written. This book would be a great recommendation to a friend who has little knowledge of economics and is led into errors in thinking as a result.

Weak Points: Some figures that were given as statistics, while relevant to the message of the book, dated the book somewhat. Unfortunately, the book is little-known in North America and never really attained there the fame and acclaim that it deserved.

Interesting: 4/5

Must Read: 3.8/5

Overall: 4/5

Pages: 102

Selected Quote: “Production, around which all economic life revolves, is, then, the great adventure of mankind: it is the struggle with tomorrow, the struggle with the unknown. The champion, the hero, and frequently the victim in this struggle is the entrepreneur. He undertakes some enterprise in quest of profit. But in order to obtain it, he is obliged to satisfy the consumer, that is to say, the public in general. Competition takes care of this. The consumer never loses. The entrepreneur, on the other hand, can see all his hopes of profit transformed into a loss that he alone must bear: the profit that the consumers (the general public) made is theirs to keep, while the entrepreneur is ruined. This is an unavoidable necessity.” (p. 27).

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