Understanding Economics

A while ago a non-economist friend who had read my book “Transforming India” said that as he did not understand economics would I write a book explaining some of the basic concepts of economics? It would be a “prequel” to the “Transforming India” book. That sounded like a good idea and over the last couple of months, I have spent some time on such a book. The working title is “Understanding Economics.” Not the most brilliant title but that will change to something more attractive by the time it is ready for publication.
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The distinction between Rights and Freedoms.

Now for the important matter of the distinction between rights and freedoms. Of late, there has been a proliferation of rights. There’s the right to information, right to employment, right to food, right to education, and so on. Somehow people start thinking that the expansion of rights enhances freedom but in fact it is the opposite: the expansion of rights actually reduces our freedom.
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What is Economics?

On twitter, I got into a bit of back and forth with two people about economics. In 140 characters, one cannot have a real argument. Instead it is just a series of assertions. One gentleman came down heavily against the idea that economics studies human behavior. It’s all about money, he seems to think. Another person got angry at the claim that “markets work” because, as he pointed out, they fail. I responded, tongue in cheek, “Planes don’t fly. They crash. They kill people and are worthless for transportation.” That set him off a bit more. C’est la vie.
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