Introduction To Econ010: Economics For Normal People

I am not a very observant person (you need to smack me in the face 4-5 times with a dead mackerel before I realize you have a fish in your hand). I don’t really make a point of watching other people when I go anywhere but lately I’ve been listening to talk around me. The people discussing next week’s election proposals on taxes, millages, proposals, and other conversations on minimum wage and inflation, interest rates and the economy in general has led me to an obvious conclusion: the average [American] knows nothing about economics.

Long, long ago in a galaxy college far, far away, I graduated with a BBA in Accounting. The following year, the dean at the school decided I could help to repair the damage to universal karma by teaching a couple of courses as retribution. I agreed to the sentence and was assigned to teach Basic and Advanced Algebra (not unexpectedly, as I was the only tutor for Calculus in the college and had a couple of students travel 60-90 minutes each way to come to my tutorial sessions, along with the countless others assisted in all math classes locally). Then she announced (with a strange gleam in her eye) I needed another class to fill, and casually announced I would take the 10:00 AM slot in Macroeconomics.

I thought I would choke to death. My protests of inadequacy and that I had only just completed the course the year previously were brushed off without a thought. “You’ll do fine” she announced and it was settled. I would teach mornings Monday through Friday and have office hours from nine to noon on Saturdays. There were over sixty victims in the two algebra courses and only 2 fatalities in grading.

The Econ group consisted of just seven brave souls and a terrified teacher. The principle truth of the education process is that you don’t necessarily need to know MORE than your students, just that you need to learn FASTER than they do. Eventually we finished, all much wiser (and at least fractionally smarter) than when we started. I felt we had accomplished a great task, that there were at least eight people in my local area that understood more about how the world worked that when we started.

Recently I discovered my notes from that class and, with the above mentioned observations, I have decided to write a series of posts to help others get an overview of this topic. I will setup a table of contents page (not sure where it will be or what it will look like, but I’ll get it worked out for you) listing articles as they come out, including a glossary with terms used for review. All relewant postings will start with the title ECON010 (based on the numbering system of schools where 1xx classes are first year, 2xx are second and so forth…while 099 is normally used to do remedial classes like refresher English or Math, I think the current level of general knowledge requires a remedial class to take the remedial class…). The goal is to post an article a week to this topic (a new Category and Tag will be made just for these postings) and there is at least a dozen lessons to cover. I suspect some (many) [most] {all?} will need to take a couple of posts to cover the materials, so eventually it will probably go to several dozen posts altogether.

I expect the first will come next week, the first full week in May. Of course it will depend on the available alternative choices and ultimately where the greatest utility lies (teaser) but I hope to have at least a small input in the lives of several people over the next year. So that (perhaps) the next time I hear a discussion at the mall I might hear something other than pointless drivel spewing from the participants.

Then again, maybe I need to move further away from the cell phone sales area…


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