(Book Review) Labor Economics from a Free Market Perspective by Walter Block

I must commence this book review with the disclaimer that this book is nearly unobtainable as a new, hard copy book. The book is not suitable for e-readers given the book is in the style of a large-paged textbook, and consequently, this book is not downloadable or available for purchase on the Amazon kindle store. If subsequent to reading this review, you intend to buy this book, you will only be able to obtain it as a used hard-copy or to be purchased as a readable pdf on your computer.

Labor economics is one of my favorite subfields of economics. Since nearly everyone at some point in their lives enters the labor force, I find the principles of labor economics to be very easily observable to the person with little understanding or familiarity with the field of economics.

As the title suggests, this book covers the principles of labor economics from a laissez faire capitalist perspective. Although included in the preface of this book that this is not a labor economics textbook, and should not be used in lieu of one, but rather, as complementary material, I find that this book is not absolutely written in the style of a non-fiction novel the way Sowell’s, Friedman’s, and Rothbard’s. Moreover, this book is not totally written like a textbook the way that McGraw Hill’s Labor Economics is composed.

There are twenty-nine chapters in this book, and the main six topics are wage determination, unions, minimum wage, immigration, redistributive justice, and fringe benefits.

Final Ratings

Difficulty for economically illiterate to understand: moderately difficult.

Explanation: This book doesn’t introduce particularly abstract concepts. Moreover, many of the assertions and arguments within the book are built on axioms of labor economics and microeconomics, which those unfamiliar with terms such as “labor demand” and “labor supply,” and among others, may find nonplussing.

Keeping the reader interested: only if you’re very interested in labor economics.

Explanation: Given the moderate complexity of this book, in addition to the somewhat textbook style this book is written in, only those very interested in the subject would be able to remain engaged in this reading.

Verifiable claims: Block verifies his claims.

Explanation: Block cites sources and references for his claims.

Subfield of economics: this a book about labor/labour economics.

Do I recommend this book, and for who? This is recommend to students of economics, aspiring economists, and economists.

While I enjoyed this book very much, I have awareness to the likelihood that someone who is not interested in economics would lack incentive to obtain, and read this book.

One of the most widely perpetrated myths is that a wage is different from a price. In fact, no difference exists between wages and prices. Quite simply, a wage is the price of labor that the employees agrees to work for and the employer agrees to pay.2 Therefore, the laws of supply and demand govern wages, and a minimum wage is nothing more than a price floor which inevitably causes a surplus of labor.

Walter Block and Paul McCormick. Labor Economics from a Free Market Perspective

Published by Daniel Ballesteros

An aspiring labor economist.

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