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The Seen, the Unseen, and the Unrealized


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 The How of the Market Chapter 2 The Price is Right Chapter 3 What Prices Communicate Chapter 4 Unbeatable, Imperfect Markets Chapter 5 The Seen and the Unseen Chapter 6 The Market and Natural Disasters Chapter 7 Taxation and Regulation Chapter 8 Attempts to Perfect the Market Chapter 9 The Unrealized Chapter 10 Implications for our View of Society

About the Author

Per L. Bylund is assistant professor of entrepreneurship and Records-Johnston Professor of Free Enterprise in the School of Entrepreneurship at Oklahoma State University.


Bylund (Oklahoma State) shows how markets help society improve choices about alternative future opportunities. Government regulations, in contrast, often make these choices less efficient for society as a whole. Bylund uses a thought experiment about the rational economic choices people in a small, simple, local society make. In a free market, apple growers and nail manufacturers depend on prices to signal the relative value of goods and services. These signals, in turn, guide entrepreneurs toward investments that make new, valuable things available. As economic production diversifies, prices coordinate entrepreneurs' activities. When governments regulate and subsidize specific economic activities, they change entrepreneurs' calculations about future investment, narrowing the possibilities for efficiently made and innovative products. Efforts to regulate or ban sweatshops, for example, hurt the unrealized potential of markets for increasing value in society. Markets allow for a more efficient and competent response to natural disasters than governments... [T]his clear, readable book will stimulate discussion in economics, business, philosophy, and economic policy classes. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. * CHOICE *
Public choice scholars are well versed in highlighting the unseen effects of regulation. However, Per Bylund, in his important book, The Seen, the Unseen, and the Unrealized, suggests that regulation affects individuals far more perniciously than what is typically recognized. Bylund paints a picture of the market process that is both elegant and nuanced. . . .The book synthesizes insights from many classic writers, including Bastiat, Menger, Mises, and Hayek, in a refreshing yet familiar manner. It is a well-written, detailed exploration of the functioning of the market process that gains a great deal of traction using straightforward concepts. The author encourages the reader to think more deeply about the process by which mutually beneficial outcomes tend to be consistently realized in the market. Indeed, reflection on the realistic features of the market's error-correcting tendencies- and the consequences of distorting these tendencies-makes this book a worthwhile read for laymen and scholars alike. * Public Choice *
Per Bylund's The Seen, the Unseen, and the Unrealized is a well-reasoned and written exposition of how regulations in the economy have deleterious effects on our everyday lives. It takes the reader through basic economic reasoning to telling examples and in the process makes the very important point about reorienting our perspective on exchange, production, and wealth creation as an ongoing process that is always in progress. Today's so-called inefficiencies are tomorrow's profit opportunities for those entrepreneurs that act upon them and release new ways to release the mutual gains from trade. Regulations thwart this ongoing and ceaseless progress. Entrepreneurship, on the other hand, is the prime mover of progress and improvements in the material conditions of man. A great read, highly recommended. -- Peter Boettke, George Mason University

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