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The Best Book on the Market: How to stop worrying and love the free economy [Hardcover]

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Item description for The Best Book on the Market: How to stop worrying and love the free economy by Eamonn Butler...

The free market makes the world go around. Maybe it's time we all tried to understand it a little better. Luckily Eamonn Butler is the ideal teacher to get us all up to speed.

Markets are everywhere. But how many of us understand how they work, and why? What does a 'free market' really mean? Do free markets actually exist? Should we have more or less of them? Most of all -- do we really need to know all this? Answer: Yes we do.


If any mention of free markets sends your mind screaming back to your musty old school economics textbook, think again. TheBest Book on the Market will keep you gripped, intrigued and well informed. Abandoning complicated mumbo-jumbo, Eamonn Butler, Director of the UK's leading free market think-tank, demystifies the world of markets, competition, monopolies and cartels, prices and overspills. Using examples from our everyday lives Dr Butler explains how the markets we have, and the many more we need, can work to create a richer, freer and more peaceful world.


He delves into the morality of markets and interrogates important issues such as why feckless rock-stars are paid much more than worthy nurses; whether we should worry about people trading in arms, water, healthcare etc; whether black markets are immoral; and questions of equality; sweatshops, and fair trade.

"This book is about the free market andhow unfree it can be when there is a lack of belief in freedom itself. Eamonn Butler presents solid arguments against government attempts to 'perfect' the markets by regulation, controls, subsidies, or by adopting measures which obstruct competition and private ownership."

Vclav Klaus, President of theCzechRepublic

"Vividly and simply explains competition, entrepreneurship and prices".

John Blundell, Director, Institute of Economic Affairs

"A great little book that gets to the heart of how and why markets work, in a very engaging and easily understood way".

Dan Lewis, Research Director, Economic Research Council

"I welcome this witty, lucid explanation of how entrepreneurs and business people make a positive contribution to our lives, and why economists often don't".

Andrew Neil , leading journalist and BBC presenter

"Anything which educates the public - and politicians - on how the free economy actually works is always welcome. Dr Butler does this in style".

Lord Lawson, former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer

"Everyone in business would do well to understand the basic principles of markets which Dr Butler clarifies so well in this short book".

Allister Heath, Editor of The Business and Associate Editor of The Spectator

"This book does great justice to the vibrancy of markets and what makes them tick"

Ruth Richardson, former Finance Minister of New Zealand

"It's refreshing to see an economist who understands the importance of innovation and entrepreneurship in pushing progress forward, and who can explain it in straightforward language."

Trevor Baylis OBE (inventor of the wind-up radio)

"I'm glad to see that Dr Butler stresses the role of innovators -- and the importance of market structures that encourage innovation."

Sir Clive Sinclair (inventor)

"Dr Butler's book is a welcome and very readable contribution on the mechanisms and morality of the free economy."

Sir John Major KG CH (former UK Prime Minister)

"'Market' is one of the first six-letter words that every English-speaking child learns: as in 'This - little - piggy - went - to - market'".

Geoffrey Howe, former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer

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Item Specifications...

Pages   172
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.3" Width: 5" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 8, 2008
Publisher   Wiley
ISBN  1906465053  
ISBN13  9781906465056  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Biographies & Primers > Policy & Current Events
2Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > Free Enterprise
3Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > General
4Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > General

Reviews - What do customers think about The Best Book on the Market: How to stop worrying and love the free economy?

The title is accurate  Sep 16, 2008
I just read Dr Butler's book and the title is accurate. It is a 2 hour read that doesn't even seem like you're reading an economics text. It has well distilled insights into how markets work and why they are a good thing, and these are couched in colourful examples from Butler's real life experience. I highly recommend this book to anyone who would like to appreciate the market in a way that much more laborious treatments fail to do.
Quite amazingly, the title is correct  Aug 8, 2008
I haven't finished this book yet, but for me it actually IS "the best book on the market." I am no economist, but I have read Sowell's "Basic Economics, and Hazlitt, as well as large helpings of Ludwig von Mises and Hayek. All of these people wrote excellent books, but this particular minor classic rises to the status of a classic because of the author's very dry sense of humor, and also because of his excellent use of comparisons.

These things are not what comes "easily," or "naturally." My favorite comparison (so far) is with the old-fashioned cars which actually had a temperature gauge rising from the engine so you could tell when the engine was overheating. A dissatisfied customer complained that his gauge always read "hot." The author's father "fixed" the problem by soldering some gears in the gauge together, so that it would always read "normal."

Bad fix -- worse than a kluge. What happens when the engine actually boils over?

This "bad fix" is compared to ALL government attempts to regulate prices. They ALWAYS fail and they are ALWAYS a bad idea. It's just like soldering the gears together.

As one of a billion examples, during the recent tsunami in Thailand, the then Prime Minister came out with a bold speech promising to punish those who were "profiteering" from the catastrophe, and fixing all prices in the area of the tsunami. Could anybody think of a surer way to ensure starvation in that area? Of course, this being Thailand, it is highly probable that everyone overlooked the Big Speech.

I also particularly enjoyed the author's selection of Princess Diana's death as an illustration of the efficiency of the price system. The price of flowers in London went through the roof, and this information instantly reached flower wholesalers on the Continent, and shortly reached Kenya -- which instantly began to send more flowers to satisfy the overwhelming demand. As the author points out, in a centrally-planned economy, it would have taken at least a week for the current report on the "Flower Situation" to hit the desk of the appropriate minister, and at least a month for the Ministry of Flowers to do anything about it.

A classic book! (And I don't say that lightly.)
It's the best  Jul 17, 2008
Witty and gripping. Butler's penetrating gaze includes fair trade, black markets, and equity. He believes that when markets are allowed to work without government interference but within the framework of just laws they can create "a richer, freer and more peaceful world".
A very sharp and effective introduction to market economics  Jul 2, 2008
I think Dr Butler has penned an excellent, succinct and effective introduction to the case for liberal, free markets. It is particularly effective for anyone who has not encountered these arguments before, because it is fair, jargon-free and resists the temptation to ram home the ideologial message too hard.

It covers all the main bases well. If I have a tiny quibble, I would argue that on complex issues such as patents, copyright and limited liability companies, it might have been useful to explain that even among ardent free marketeers, there is a lot of debate on whether, for example, patents are either justified or right.

But that is a minor point. This book ranks alongside such works as Basic Economics by Tom Sowell, Free To Choose by Milton Friedman and Economics In One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt as a superb introduction to the field. It can be read easily in an hour or so. It should be on the reading list of young students interested in business and might help to counter a lot of lazy, statist thinking.
The Best Book On The Market  Jun 25, 2008
Eamonn Butler, Director of the Adam Smith Institute, has a wonderful ability to express the fundamentals of economics and exchange in ways that lay readers can understand and enjoy - and empathise. This ability combines with an essential technique - to start at the beginning! The path from a single deal between two consenting people (possibly in different countries) to large-scale free enterprise, is a simple continuum. Requiring only the freedom to associate, at every point participants are free to exchange - or not - and the choice may or may not be made with regard to ancillary matters such as specialist advice and contracts. Thus Dr Butler starts with a visit to a street market in Lanzhou, China, and ends (or nearly ends) in discussing multi-national companies. On the way, he covers most of the important consequences of this freedom; for example specialisation and exchange, (to the point where exchange is the fundamental social relation) money, the informative role of prices, and capital accumulation.

Dr Butler is (among other things) a proper economist. By this I mean he has no time for the Keynesian macro-economics churned out by most universities; markets, and life itself, are never in equilibrium, so why build up a "science" on the assumption that they are? There is no Utopia; it's just that markets and freedom from governments are much nearer to it, adjusting constantly in their quests to do better. As he says, "the free-exchange system [markets] has an uncanny power to steer the right resources to the right place at the right time". "Unorganised order", he calls it. In contrast government is working in a vacuum; its operations are based on whims not price signals, and it torpedoes markets whenever it can (starting with money, where "governments manage to make paper completely worthless by printing pictures of dead presidents on it").

Dr Butler rightly castigates big government as the arch-enemy of markets, censoring them and their miraculous signals at every turn. Yet the failure of government projects is an endemic feature, while their perpetrators sing the "market failure" mantra at every opportunity - nowhere more loudly than on the environment, where as Dr Butler points out, markets don't exist.

He might have added "because they were nationalised". But elaborating on that takes time and space, whilst a major feature of this wonderful little book is that it is, well, little; you can read it in one sitting - although many readers will use it as a handy reference as well.

The book is similarly succinct in addressing government regulation of business. Often deliberately sought as a means of protection from competition, this practice is rife and provides government with a scapegoat when things go wrong. (A thorough nailing of this issue and its true causes is long overdue.)

Dr Butler has touched on scores of other matters which are best dealt with by markets not governments - the benefits of competition, prices as messengers, transaction costs, externalities, (where tax itself remains the supreme externality) patents, licences, entrepreneurs (as opposed to "experts") the crucial role of property, and the essential morality of free markets. (Enforced behaviour has no moral component, of course, and in any case charities are within the free market rather than outside it.)

Definitely the best book on the market that's on the market!

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