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For your introduction to the global market place, visit Samuelson-Nordhaus, ECONOMICS, 17th ed., 2001.



ECONOMICS: An Introduction

Paul A. Samuelson and William D. Nordhaus

Seventeenth Edition, 1998, McGraw-Hill



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Internet Preface to Economics, 17th edition

by Paul A Samuelson and William D. Nordhaus

February 2001

       As 2001 begins, the prospects for the United States economy are less favorable than at any time during the record-breaking expansion of the 1990s. Real output growth has slowed, the stock market is treading water, the high-technology sector is slumping, and the "" world is in full retreat. This pause in economic activity follows a decade of economic records for the U.S. In February 2000, the expansion became the longest in U.S. recorded history, with several years of strong economic growth, full employment, and low inflation. Outside the United States, January 2001 marked the second anniversary of the EURO, a fascinating experiment in conducting a multinational currency under the new European Central Bank. The Japanese economy continued to stagnate while the East Asian countries recovered from their sharp slump of 1997-98.
       Even with the current fear of recession, we must recognize that during the last half century much of the world has experienced a spectacular rise in living standards, particularly those in the affluent countries of North America, Western Europe, and East Asia. While the first half of the century was marked by two world wars and one great depression, the last half century has been one of virtually uninterrupted growth of living standards and the spread of free markets, democracy, and personal freedoms to many corners of the globe.
       The central question for the years ahead is, Will the good fortune spread from the affluent minority to the poor majority?
       You might think that prosperity would lead to a declining interest in economic affairs. Yet, as we reviewed our subject for the seventeenth edition of ECONOMICS, we found paradoxically that an understanding of the enduring truths of economics has become even more vital in the affairs of people and nations. The world has become increasingly interconnected as computers and communications create an ever-more-competitive global marketplace. The Internet is connecting people and places in ways that were undreamt of a few years ago.
       Countries like Russia or China, which are traveling the rocky road from central planning to a market economy, need a firm understanding of the institutions of the market if they are to make a successful transition. At the same time, there is growing concern about environmental problems and the need to forge new market mechanisms that will preserve our precious natural heritage. All these fascinating changes are part of the modern drama that we call economics.
       For more than half a century, ECONOMICS has served as the standard-bearer for the teaching of elementary economics -- in classrooms in America and throughout the world. Each new edition has distilled the best thinking of economists about how markets function and about what society can do to improve people's living standards. But economics has changed profoundly since the first edition in 1948. Economics is above all a living and evolving organism. The need to keep Economics at the frontier in the rapidly evolving world economy affords us an exciting opportunity to present the latest thinking of modern economists and to show how the subject can contribute to a more prosperous world.

     For you, the beginning studend, this trip in the land of economics is an adventure that will reward you for your entire lifetime. So, as you embark, we wish you bon voyage!