Economics in One Lesson

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Economics in One Lesson  
Economics in one lesson 2007 ed cover.jpg
Cover of 2007 edition
Author(s) Henry Hazlitt
Country United States
Language English
Subject(s) Economics
Publisher Harper & Brothers
Publication date 1946
Pages 218
ISBN 0517548232
OCLC Number 167574

Economics in One Lesson is the seminal work of Henry Hazlitt. First published in 1946, it is based on Frédéric Bastiat's essay Ce qu'on voit et ce qu'on ne voit pas (English: "What is Seen and What is Not Seen"). It was written to expose the popular fallacies of its day. It became his most enduring contribution.[1]

The Lesson

Hazlitt attacked the fallacies of his time by analyzing each in light of the titular "one lesson." This lesson is the the same as the fundamental lesson of Frédéric Bastiat's parable of the broken window: that one's economic analyses must go beyond what is seen to what is unseen, or beyond the obvious, localized, and short-term effects of an action or policy to its subtler, wider reaching, and long-term consequences. The failure to take these latter into account is known as "the broken window fallacy" in reference to Bastiat's parable. Hazlitt viewed this as the supreme economic error, and it was this, in manifold manifestations, that he set out to expose in Economics in One Lesson. As Hazlitt explained in the book's first part:

[one main factor] that spawns new economic fallacies every day . . . is the persistent tendency of men to see only the immediate effects of a given policy, or its effects only on a special group, and to neglect to inquire what the long-run effects of that policy will be not only on that special group but on all groups. It is the fallacy of overlooking secondary consequences.[2]


See also


  1. Rockwell, Llewellyn H., Jr. "Biography of Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993)", referenced 2010-06-24.
  2. Hazlitt, Henry. Economics in One Lesson (PDF), Foundation for Economic Education, 2005-04-01, via on 2010-11-12, p. 3.