Microeconomics: The Economic Way of Thinking / Paul Heyne

This review appeared on my previous blog, Rat's Reading.

Cover of Microeconomics The Economic Way Of Thinking, Fifth Edition

I suppose I should put in something about my economics text, seeing as how I did read the whole thing for my class. Paul Heyne lectured at the University of Washington until his death in 2000. I’ve read that he was an excellent teacher, but at least this edition of his book is crap at least for learning well. Heyne presents concepts in a breezy, loosely structured manner. It doesn’t make well for trying to apply the concepts, though it does do a pretty good job of imparting the gist of things. Perhaps it is perfect for an Econ for Jocks class. But I often found myself thinking, but I need clearer directions on how to apply this concept, or, I wish I had a definition for this term. Throughout the book are lots and lots of subtle and not so subtle conservative views embedded within the text. Heyne takes the view that absent compelling reasons otherwise, capitalist economics should be unregulated and unfettered. An example is the minimum wage, about which Heyne weaves an argument that raising the minimum wage results in lay-offs of lower-wage workers. The studies I’ve read don’t support that. Or in an end-of-chapter question where he asks the question Why are the renters in New York City so rich? when in fact the data show that renters in rent-control apartments are overwhelmingly poor. There are some pretty good arguments against rent control (and I’m generally not in favor of the idea), but that isn’t one of them.

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