Tim Worstall - 20 Economics Fallacies

Sunday, 11 August 2013 16:32



"Tim Worstall, always clear thinking, nails the myths that grow up around economics in this useful book. A terrific compendium of fallacies and their refutations."

Matt Ridley, author of the Rational Optimist.

"Tim Worstall is not simply outside the mainstream, he's usually in a minority of one. In my view, that almost certainly makes him right about everything."


Toby Young, journalist and author of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People


''Tim is the world's leading economic myth-buster. And here he is tackling some of the biggest economic myths. Economists of a nervous disposition should not open this book. For the rest of us, it is an essential guide to how our policymakers get things so wrong.''

Eamonn Butler director, Adam Smith Institute

Tim explains ...


This book is simply a discussion of those errors which I've had to repeatedly correct in this past decade of my writing about matters economic.

It gets rather boring having to point out the same errors again and again: thus putting the explanations into one simple format handy for waving at people rather than having to trot out the same old explanation again.


This book is an idiosyncratic look at a number of common economic fallacies and mistakes.


It does not pretend to be be exhaustive, a thorough examination of all the mistakes that economics, both folk and formal, can become prey to. Rather, it's about those that I've come across and find that I have to continually point out the folly of.


For example, the Labour Theory of Value has been around for a long time and forms the heart of the basic underpinnings of Marxism. Yet it was disproved at around the time that Marx was publishing Das Kapital: and it has remained wrong since then whatever the insistences of the ideologues. So there is a simple explanation of why that particular theory is wrong.


On what is perhaps more my side of the fence, free market zealotry (and I confess to being a market zealot) it is also wrong to proclaim that free markets can and will solve every problem. This is not, sadly, so: there are times when interventions must be made, even times when something must be done and government is the only actor able to do that thing.

Book UK £8.99 + Postage and Packing

worstall £8.99 Add to Cart

Published, July 2014.

(Roughly) 100 pages 


About Tim Worstall


Tim Worstall is an Englishman who has failed at many things. Thus his turn to writing, the last refuge of many who could make a living no other way. He is, as an example of his business and financial perspicacity, the head of the international scandium oligopoly: the only commodity which has not risen in price in the past decade.


Odd bits and pieces of his writing have been known to turn up in The Times, the book pages of the Daily Telegraph and the Philadelphia Inquirer, he’s been a long term contributor to TCS Daily and also blogs for Forbes, The Register,  The Business and the Adam Smith Institute.


What 'they' say about Tim Worstall

Table of contents

Fallacy 1: Infinite growth in a finite system is impossible Fallacy 2: We’re going to run out of mineral reserves in this coming generation Fallacy 3: The Labour Theory of Value Fallacy 4: Economics Can Tell Us The Solutions To Our Problems Fallacy 5: Companies Should Pay More Taxes Fallacy 6: We’re Successful At Trade Only If We Make Lots Of Exports Fallacy 7: Government Should Provide Goods And Services Because These Are The Things The Public Wants Fallacy 8: The risks of climate change mean that we should spend anything to prevent a 2ºC rise in temperature Fallacy 9: Neoliberal globalisation has only benefitted the rich: inequality is rising as a result Fallacy 10: Creating jobs is a benefit of doing something Fallacy 11: Developing countries should protect their infant industries Fallacy 12: Margaret Thatcher destroyed industry in the UK Fallacy 13: The Easterlin Paradox shows that more money doesn’t make people happier Fallacy 14: The value that a company provides to an economy is defined by how much it pays in taxes Fallacy 15: Financial speculation in food should be banned Fallacy 16: The lump of labour fallacy Fallacy 17: Globalisation is bad for the environment Fallacy 18: Markets can solve every problem: there’s no need for regulation at all Fallacy 19: But what can we trade if everyone is better at making everything than we are? Fallacy 20: The Laffer Curve shows that tax cuts always pay for themselves