Essentials of Economics
A brief Survey of Principles and Policies
Faustino Ballvé was a remarkable thinker and economist, educated in Spain and England and teaching and practicing law in Mexico City. He was here when Ludwig von Mises came to speak on a lecture tour. The talks that Ballvé heard sparked a new intellectual energy in him. He carried on a long correspondence with Mises himself, checking his education from graduate school against Mises's views. They became good friends.
The result of his studies and correspondence was this splendid book, which really ought to be considered a classic. It was published first in 1956, and had a massive impact in Latin America. It was translated and published in English in 1965, and went into many other foreign translations. The language is elegant and principles enduring. Its popularity was due in part to its brevity combined with its scope: at only 129 pages, it covers nearly the field of economics.
It covers ten essential lessons:
- What is Economics About?
- The Market
- The role of the Entrepreneur
- Capital, Labor, and Wages
- Money and Credit
- Monopoly, Crises, and Unemployment
- International Trade
- Nationalism and Socialism
- The Controlled Economy
- What Economics Is Not About
He combines history, theory, and clear exposition to present what might be called an orthodox Austrian view of the way the world works. It has no footnotes, a deliberate choice of the author to stay within the objective of the book, namely to educate the intelligent laymen in economic theory. It is also free of data that might have quickly become dated. The result is a dream in so many ways: a stable, balanced, and nicely proportioned introduction to economic theory for everyone.
Truly, even after a half century, the achievement of this book becomes clearer. It reads as fresh as the day it came off the press. Felix Morley adds this in his introduction: "Something of the warmth and cheerfulness of the author's personality comes through, to make the reader feel that his is listening to the conversation of an old and cherished friend."