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September 17, 2008


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Paul Walker

"Anti-Dismal: you need to get out of the university and into schools! It is scary for me to see how much children know about conservation, and how little about economics."

Your point is well taken. The general level of understanding of economics by children and most of their parents is not great. It's a problem which will be highlighted this year with the election. But it's not clear how you deal with it. Economics is already offered at most schools for those who want it and there is a lot of material out there for the general reader, books, blogs etc. The problem is people don't read it.

The Optimist

I see this as separate from teaching economics as a subject. In my view they should teach a few basics in primary school as part of the normal syllabus. For example:

- supply and demand
- why milk costs what it does
- how world prices affect local prices
- what taxes and subsidies do to prices
- who actually pays the cost of regulation

These should get progressively move advanced from the age of 7 to 12 so that at the end children have every bit as much knowledge of this as they of the polar bear.

(my list is a bit arbitrary, just things I get annoyed about)

I reckon this could be taught in a very simple way to lots of kids and benefit the country. It doesn't need to be made particularly interesting, either. We already teach kids lots of boring stuff. But to add interest we could visit supermarkets, currency markets, etc.

Daniel Wilson

I thought you might be interested in this recent report: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ayLSMCD585X8&refer=home%20%20%3Cbr%3E

The Optimist

Good to see that it is progressing well. I have just added a post about it. Thanks for the link.

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