Economics touches every part of our lives. Our jobs and livelihoods, our purchase and investment decisions, our choice of where and in what to live, even the way we vote—all depend to some extent on economics. The economy—the system that we as a society use to decide what to produce and who gets what—is a powerful force in our lives.
Yet few of us truly understand how our economy works. We may have conventional wisdom of the type summed up in old sayings: The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer. Money comes to money. The best things in life are free. There is even some truth to these sayings when you look at income patterns, returns on investment, and certain quality-of-life issues. But despite their truth, those sayings don’t ...

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