Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Humor in Economics

I recently participated in a workshop that taught financial education leaders how to incorporate art into their lessons. Anyone who has sat through a class that discusses finance or money understands just how boring such topics can be.

At the library today, I came across three amusing books in the finance section. All three discussed economics, but two were in comic book form and the third was written in an advice columnist format. Skimming through the books, I decided they were a brilliant strategy to getting lay people to understand an otherwise complex and technical subject.

Most students sleep through their economic courses. There are two every student is required to take to earn their undergraduate's business degrees. Macroeconomics is a broad approach to how the economy works, while microeconomics looks at how individuals contribute to economic forces. If you don't wind up with a professor competent enough to guide you through the courses without sticking exclusively to charts and graphs, chances are you will barely pass the class. Unfortunately, that is the attitude many students have when it comes to these basic economics course: they're fine with just passing.

But economics is an important topic, naturally. One that explains the costs of making choices, how interest rates affect investments and the overall economy. It offers solutions to deal with poverty, productivity, and how businesses can succeed. The problem is that it's wrought with theories and jargon that if not persistently applied, can be forgotten like yesterday's news.

So humor is a good thing in just about any topic we're exposed to, especially financial matters and the economy. It's important to understand the basics so we understand market forces and how policies influence our daily lives. If you can use a little humor in your life, I recommend you take the time to borrow the books from your local library and give economics a chance.

Titles of books:

The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Klein and Bauman
Dear Undercover Economist, Tim Harford

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