May 11 2007

Why learning Economics is SO important!

caveman economics, not so complicatedHere’s a fascinating article about the importance of learning economics in order to overcome our innate, perhaps genetically ingrained understanding of human exchanges as a zero-sum game, where one person’s gain comes at another’s loss.

Paul H. Rubin – Evolution, Immigration and Trade – washingtonpost.com

Rubin finds several fascinating links between evolutionary biology, psychology, and economics.

“Our primitive ancestors lived in a world that was essentially static; there was little societal or technological change from one generation to the next. This meant that our ancestors lived in a world that was zero sum — if a particular gain happened to one group of humans, it came at the expense of another.”

“Economists have argued for more than two centuries that voluntary trade, whether domestic or international, is positive sum: it benefits both parties, or else the exchange wouldn’t occur.”

This ingrained belief of one person’s gain coming at the expense of someone else leads to dangerous policies such as protection and trade barriers, which as we know limit an economy’s growth and improvements in standards of living. Therefore, learning economics is as important to society’s progress as learning to read is to an individual’s education. Rubin concludes with this interesting insight:

“A useful analogy is between speech and reading. All humans growing up in a normal environment learn to speak, but reading must be taught because it does not come naturally… A deeper understanding of economics is like reading — it must be taught.

America’s success in lowering its barriers to outsiders shows that we can and do learn. But like reading, we must teach each generation anew.”

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About the author:  Jason Welker teaches International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Economics at Zurich International School in Switzerland. In addition to publishing various online resources for economics students and teachers, Jason developed the online version of the Economics course for the IB and is has authored two Economics textbooks: Pearson Baccalaureate’s Economics for the IB Diploma and REA’s AP Macroeconomics Crash Course. Jason is a native of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and is a passionate adventurer, who considers himself a skier / mountain biker who teaches Economics in his free time. He and his wife keep a ski chalet in the mountains of Northern Idaho, which now that they live in the Swiss Alps gets far too little use. Read more posts by this author

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Why learning Economics is SO important!”

  1. Welker’s Wikinomics Blog -on 15 May 2007 at 2:06 pm

    […] Why learning Economics is SO important! […]

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  4. jc penneyon 26 Sep 2007 at 6:32 am

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  5. jovanon 07 Mar 2010 at 5:42 pm

    why economics do important