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The Common Sense behind Basic Economics

A Guide for Budding Economists, Students, and Voters

Justin Vélez-Hagan

Although it may sometimes seem like studying trigonometry in Latin, basic economics really is just plain common sense. But, it’s become so complicated in its presentation that very few are able to learn the basics. Whether academics, researchers, pundits, or legislators, few seem to have the skills to present economic topics in easy-to-understand language, or they simply don’t know very much themselves.
With such misinformation being strewn about, it’s easy to see why the average citizen, first-year economics student, young professional, or even elected official becomes so easily confused. The truth, however, is that basic economics is actually quite simple and even more commonsensical . . . and it should be explained that way. It rarely is, however, and that’s why I’ve written this book: to explain the basics of the basics in simple and easy-to-understand language that isn’t drier than the Atacama Desert, without the charts, graphs, and formulas typically found in text books. Adding in an occasional dash of humor and politics, this book is intended to be a fun, Cliff’s Notes-style supplement to the typical basic econ textbook, but can also be used as a standalone introduction. Topics include most of the themes presented in an Econ 101 course, as well as a number of end-of-chapter discussions on the policies relevant to economics today.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 174Size: 6 1/4 x 9 3/8
978-1-4985-0900-8 • Hardback • October 2015 • $80.00 • (£52.95)
978-1-4985-0901-5 • eBook • October 2015 • $76.00 • (£49.95)
Justin Vélez-Hagan is an economic policy researcher at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.
Chapter 5Common Sense Economics Defined
Chapter 9Do Markets Fail?
Chapter 17Do We Really Need Uncle Sam?
Chapter 18Dollars and Common Sense
Chapter 19The Global Economy
Chapter 20Current Issues in Economics
Guide to Further Reading
About the Author
It’s been a joy working with Justin over the past few years on Op-eds and political roundtables. Justin has a remarkable understanding of economics and explaining his viewpoints for my Millennial generation. An economic and political book for Millennials, by a Millennial.
Jeb Bush Jr.

Vélez-Hagan promises common sense in this primer on economics and delivers with a clear, conversational writing style. Those new to the study of economics will appreciate the author’s translation of economics jargon into plain English. And for those previously turned off by the ‘dismal science’ Vélez-Hagan provides a refreshing and demystifying take on the economic policy issues that capture the attention of both traditional and social media.
Ryan R. Brady, United States Naval Academy

The Common Sense behind Basic Economics attempts to take a very dry subject—economics—and fuse it with an energy and spirit. The text literally jumps off the page allowing the reader to comprehend complex issues using a bit of humor. This combination integrated with real-life examples brings a clarity and focus to the economic principals the author is presenting. A must read for the individual beginning their quest for knowledge and understanding of the economic principals driving business today.
George T. Solomon, George Washington University

In an economy full of changes and challenges, this book provides a guide and the framework for students to understand clearly and simply how the economy works.
Gustavo Vélez, Inteligencia Económica

Mr. Velez-Hagan offers the perfect blend of core foundational principles for understanding how markets and governments should work, relevant discussions of essential 'Economics 101' subject matter that students and the citizenry at large ought to be thinking about, and pragmatic real-world examples to make his points.
Charles Davidson, New York Law School

In the world of academia, it's hard to find an introductory economics text that explains what has been called 'the dismal science' in accessible language that truly entertains, while also informing. . . .[This book] aims to fill this void and educate the public on the importance of understanding the basics of economics before participating in upcoming elections. . . .Adding in a dash of humor and politics, the book can be a fun supplement to the typical basic econ textbook, or can be used as a standalone introduction, with additional end-of-chapter discussions on today’s relevant policy discussions.