The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups. -Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson, 1946

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Monday, September 28, 2009

EIOL Preface 1978 Hazlitt

Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

Preface, 1978, Hazlitt

The first edition of this book appeared in 1946. Eight translations were made of it, and there were numerous paperback editions. In a paperback of 1961, a new chapter was added on rent control, which had not been specifically considered in the first edition apart from government price-fixing in general. A few statistics and illustrative references were brought up to date.

Otherwise no changes were made until now. The chief reason was that they were not thought necessary. My book was written to emphasize general economic principles, and the penalties of ignoring them-not the harm done by any specific piece of legislation. While my illustrations were based mainly on American experience, the kind of government interventions I deplored had become so internationalized that I seemed to many foreign readers to be particularly describing the economic policies of their own countries.

Nevertheless, the passage of thirty-two years now seems to me to call for extensive revision. In addition to bringing all illustrations and statistics up to date, I have written an entirely new chapter on rent control; the 1961 discussion now seems inadequate. And I have added a new final chapter, "The Lesson After Thirty Years," to show why that lesson is today more desperately needed than ever.

Wilton, Conn.
June 1978