Economics and Free Markets: An Introduction

A short guide to economics and the market economy.

How Does the Economy Work?

When we stop to consider it, a free economy is a marvel. Millions of people, mostly unknown to one another, each producing some particular good or service, somehow manage to coordinate their actions in a vast, cooperative, productive order with no one in charge. How does it work?

Economics helps us understand.

This book introduces the concepts on which all of economics is founded, concepts such as subjective value and gains from trade, scarcity and opportunity cost, thinking at the margin, division of labor, and comparative advantage. It then introduces the foundational theory with which we understand how market prices emerge and change to reflect changing conditions: supply and demand analysis.

It also introduces the principles that underlie spontaneous economic order: market prices provide the information we need to coordinate our actions with others’ actions, while profit-and-loss feedback guides entrepreneurs as to how best to satisfy others’ wants. Private property rights and freedom of exchange give us the incentive to interact in mutually beneficial ways.