Book Review: Economics Made Easy by David S.H. Ng (ISBN: 983-834-095-2)

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In Economics Made Easy, the author, David S. H. Ng discusses economic concepts step-by-step, keeping the technical jargon to a minimum. This book is presented in an easy to read format and it is not heavy for beginners. It covers the basic economics concepts in a simple and straight forward manner. David presents economics in simple language in order to facilitate reading and understanding of the students. The size of the book is small, thus making it easily portable. The coverage is appropriate and it is suitable for introductory economics courses and generally for those who are interested in Economics.

The book comprises six parts in two sections — four parts in the Microeconomics section and two parts in the Macroeconomics section. The introduction defines economics, factors of production and emphasizes the basis of the subject that is scarcity. It lays out the main problems of economics and explains how different economic systems in the world solve their basic economic problems. The author uses a simple diagram to illustrate the production possibility curve.

In chapters 2 to 4, the author discusses demand, supply, price determination, elasticity and government intervention with simple data tables, diagrams and clear examples. The author also uses standard mathematical tools to explain elasticity in chapter 3 and utility theory in chapters 5 to 6. Chapters 7 to 8 engage the learner in a comparative study of short-run and long-run costs. The author examines the different environments in which firms operate in the real world in chapters 9 to 12. Chapter 13 will give readers some ideas of the labour market and how to determine the optimum factor. Throughout these chapters, the author uses data tables, diagrams and examples to illustrate cost, revenue, profit maximizing output and input.

In the Macroeconomics section, chapters 14 to 16 deal with national income. The author uses diagrams, flowchart and simple mathematical equations to explain the equilibrium income and develop readers’ understanding of concepts. The author presents chapters on money, banking, fiscal policy, monetary policy, unemployment and inflation in an easily understandable and well organized manner. These chapters cover the essential content of the macroeconomics and each chapter breaks down in a structured and orderly way. The author uses integrative approach and combination of contents makes the reading more interesting. For example, he has reduced repetition of contents in topics of banking, monetary policy and inflation. He uses integrative approach in chapter seven where he illustrates the difference between accounting profit and economic profit. The integrated learning of economics and accounting makes the lesson more motivating during the learning process.

In chapter fifteen, students are asked to derive the consumption function, draw the equilibrium income diagram, calculate the size of the multiplier and compare the characteristics of a recession with a boom. Combination of these skills will help students to understand economics in relation to real-world situations. For example, if the students can understand determinants of consumption, then he or she can also understand the fluctuation in national income better.

International trade was discussed in chapter 22 onwards. Some illustrations and worked examples in comparative advantage analysis are provided. Informative and well presented, this book of over 160 pages, on the whole, is a good read. One of my favorite things about this book is the author’s ability to tell readers what the subject is all about and present it in easily understood manner to engage the readers’ attention. In conclusion, I believe this book is suitable for beginning tertiary students taking courses in economics and those who are interested in economics as we actually live in a world of economics.

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