Dollars and Sense:  An Introduction to Economics

by Marilu Hurt McCarty
New York: Harper Collins, 1994
Seventh edition
372 pp.

Rating: D

Too often, this book labors to inculcate government solutions rather than instruct the student in the economic way of thinking. The author fails to give the student a true understanding of the market’s ability to coordinate economic activity. Moreover, she accepts the outdated idea that if the free market is to work, "there must be perfect competition in the marketplace." That idea was popular fifty years ago, but few economists accept it today. On the subject of poverty, McCarty seeks to pin the blame on discrimination, a theory many economists reject. But instead of a penetrating analysis of the economics of discrimination, the student gets only a blanket conclusion of doubtful accuracy. McCarty presents Keynesian theory in much detail, with no critical analysis, giving no alternative explanations for the business cycle. The book leaves the student with the belief that market economies are inherently unstable and that government must solve that problem in some way. Students never learn that many economists regard this conclusion as erroneous. Not only does McCarty fail to teach economic analysis, she propounds as unchallenged truth ideas that have been vigorously attacked for decades.

A more detailed critique is available.