Economics by Gary North

Christian Economics in One Lesson is Dr. North's reworking of Henry Hazlitt’s classic introduction to economic thought, Economics in One Lesson. That book set the standard as an introductory economics book.

Nothing has come close to replacing it ever since it was first published in 1946.

Why is it necessary to replace a classic? There are several reasons. First and foremost, it was written in 1946. A lot has happened since then, including the publication of Ludwig von Mises’ Human Action (1949). Second, it was written under a strict deadline. Hazlitt had been given a six-week leave of absence, and he had to produce the book from start to finish. Third, he targeted a different audience: readers of his business columns. This one targets Christians. (Orthodox Jews are invited to come along for the ride.) Fourth, ethics are placed at the heart of this analysis: the deliberate breaking of the window. Hazlitt did not—not explicitly, anyway.

Christian economics must begin with the issue of ultimate ownership. This sets it apart from modern economic analysis, which begins with the issue of scarcity. Second, this leads to the issue of theft, which in turn raises the issue of ethics.

The ultimate form of causation in human history is ethical: right vs. wrong. Modern economists do not share this view. In fact, it goes beyond this. They openly reject it. They proclaim economic analysis as value-free—this is self-deception. It is a variation of an ancient temptation: “Hath God said?” Yes, He has. “Thou shalt not steal.” There are negative sanctions attached to this commandment. These negative sanctions are both inherent in the economy and imposed by God on the economy. Our attention to this principle, especially in regard to intervention by the State, determines long-term economic growth or decline. It is time for Christians to be better-equipped for paying such attention.

If you want to know what’s wrong with Bernie Sanders’ economics, start here.

If Christians voted in terms of what the Bible teaches about economics, Sanders would not have a chance politically. But Christians don’t understand what the Bible teaches about economics. They don’t understand that the welfare state is based on this revised commandment: “Thou shalt not steal, except by majority vote.”

Christian Economics in One Lesson is a training manual for Christians who are concerned about the leftward drift of American politics. It’s not just Sanders. It’s millions of millennials who want to see him elected. They will still be around after he is gone. They will vote.

Christians had better start teaching their children the basics of Christian economics. The public schools are not about to do it. This book is ideal as a textbook for Christian homeschool families. Any homeschooled teenager can understand it.

Is it worth a few dollars to teach your children the basics of Christian economics?

If you sense that something is seriously wrong with Sanders’ economic views, but you just can’t put it into words, this book will teach you how to put it into words. You will never again be tongue-tied when you try to defend the free market. You will be able to explain why socialism can’t work . . . and not just socialism – the whole welfare state system of high taxes and business regulation.

Is this worth a few dollars to you?

The book’s title is based on an earlier book, Henry Hazlitt’s 1946 defense of free-market economics, Economics in One Lesson. It has sold over 700,000 copies.

In 1971, Hazlitt took 29-year-old Gary North under his wing. North was just beginning his career as a financial commentator, historian, and pioneering scholar of what the Bible teaches about economics. Hazlitt encouraged him. He gave him advice based on half a century of experience as a financial commentator.

Now it is North’s turn to be a mentor. As with Hazlitt in 1971, he has been writing professionally for over half a century. He has written over 50 books and over 2,000 articles.

The Bible teaches what Hazlitt taught regarding the free market. Yet until he met North, Hazlitt had not heard about the connection between the Bible and his own free-market economic theory.

North has now taken Hazlitt’s classic book and has rewritten its 24 chapters in terms of what the Bible teaches about economics: same conclusions, but from a biblical approach. Every chapter begins with a Bible passage and an analysis of the passage.

Hazlitt’s target audience in 1946 was the business community. North’s targets are church members who are concerned about the drift of American politics towards socialism. Chapter by chapter, he shows how the Bible defends private property and voluntary exchange.

North shows that the United States government is headed for what he calls the Great Default. The government is not going to be able to make payments to all of the old people who are dependent on Social Security and Medicare. He shows that Hazlitt’s warning in 1946 was not taken seriously. It is still not taken seriously. Yet the present value of the unfunded liabilities of the federal government are now in excess of $200 trillion. These are off-budget obligations that cannot possibly be met by the taxpayers. The government will default.

You can read this book in a few hours. It will provide you with the intellectual ammunition you need to answer anyone who says that Jesus was either a socialist reformer or a defender of the welfare state. He wasn’t. Neither were Moses and the prophets.