Principles of Economics

Principles of Economics is a university-level textbook in economics that offers a clear and concise exploration of the most important economic concepts.

This book is unapologetically Austrian in its approach. It tackles major economic concepts and topics independently, but in a logical sequence aimed at delivering the reader an understanding of economics at an individual and societal level, and the widespread implications of economics as a topic. The first part of the book introduces the foundational concepts in economics and the Austrian method, the second part of the book introduces the actions that individual humans perform to economize.

After two decades of studying and learning economics at university level, this book represents the knowledge of economics I would have liked to have when I was 17.

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Want to get a taste for this book? Read Chapter 1 and 12 for free here: Chapter 1: Human Action and Chapter 12: Capitalism. See the full table of contents by scrolling down.


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Saifedean discusses this book with Jeff Deist, President of The Mises Institute

Free Preview: Read Chapter 1: Human Action, and Chapter 12: Capitalism

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Principles of Economics

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Table of Contents


1. Human Action

Action, Purpose, and Reason
Economic Analysis
Quantitative Analysis
A Contrast of Approaches

2. Value

Utility & Value
Valuation: Ordinal and Cardinal
Value And Price
Free Exchange
Determinants of Value
Marginal Utility
Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility
Valuation by the Least Valuable Use
Water-Diamond Paradox

3. Time

The Ultimate Resource
Opportunity CostMaterial AbundanceSimon's Bet
Time Preference
Economizing Time
Economizing Action


4. Labor

Labor and Leisure
ProductionProductivity of Labor
UnemploymentWill Work Ever End?Is Labor Exploitation?

5. Property

Scarcity and Property
Types of PropertySelf-Ownership
Importance of Property Rights

6. Capital

Lengthening Structure of Production
SavingHigher Productivity
The High Cost of Capital
Delayed gratificationDestructionDepreciationRiskCapital and time preference
Saving FallaciesLimits to Capital

7. Technology

Technology and Productivity
Technology and LaborSoftware
Property in Ideas

8. Energy and Power

Energy in Human History
Energy AbundancePower Scarcity
Energy and freedom


9. Trade

Subjective Valuation
Absolute advantageComparative advantage
Specialization and the Division of LaborExtent of the market

10. Money
The problem money solves
SalabilitySalability across time: stock-to-flow
Why one money?Money and the state
Value of money
Money's uniqueness among goods
How much money should there be?

11. Markets

Consumer Good MarketsEquilibriumProducer Good MarketsEconomizing in the Market OrderConsumer SovereigntyA Contrast of Approaches

12. Capitalism

Capital Markets
Capitalism is entrepreneurial, not managerialProfit and Loss
The economic calculation problem
Modern economics & calculation
The effects of entrepreneurial investment


13. Time Preference

Time preference and money
Time preference and savingTime preference and investment
Time preference and civilization
Time preference and bitcoin

14. Credit and Banking

CreditCommodity credit
Interest rates
Can interest be eliminated?

15. Monetary Expansion

Circulation Credit
Mises' Typology of MoneyBusiness Cycles
The Business Cycle Graphically
Capital Market Central Planning


16. Violence

Non-Aggression Principle
Government CoercionRationales for government violence
Information Asymmetry
Imperfect competition
Externalities and Public GoodsRationality in Economics

17. Defense

The market for defense
The market for law and orderState monopoly of defense and law
State monopoly failure modes
A free market in defense
Economizing Time
Economizing Action

18. Civilization

The cost of civilization
The case for civilizationThe fiat slavery alternative to civilization