Thursday, September 10, 2009

Anatomy of an Economic Ignoramus

I'm posting this mostly for my Foundations of Economics students who read this blog, but I suspect that it could be interesting reading for lots of folks. Read it here.

Much of what the avatar "Che" offers up as economic wisdom in this piece is widely believed by people who ought to know better, just based on their own life experiences. Sadly, the sort of economic wisdom sported by "Che" in the article I offer here seems to match up pretty well with a majority of America's politicians --- the majority that got elected last November.

At least that's a charitable interpretation of those politicians' thoughts, speech, and votes so far. An alternative explanation would be that those pols are not really that ignorant; they're just that duplicitous. But that would be a truly uncharitable hypothesis, wouldn't it?

The level of economic literacy in the United States is abysmally low, despite a variety of programs in the schools that were supposed to raise it. The college where I teach does not require even one course in economics of all its graduates, even though hardly anything else will have such a profound influence on their future lives as economics will. Go figure.

And even though the state of Virginia has a law that says all college students must complete a program in personal finance, that law is widely ignored. I doubt if even one college or university in Virginia requires such a course of its graduates. Go figure.

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