Welcome to Economics on SchoolhouseTeachers.com
Editor’s Note: Due to unexpected travel with his job as a government manager, Mike’s “Economics Fistfight” series was delayed. The series is resuming and Part 3 is posted this week. The rest of the series will be delivered in October’s remaining weeks.
Mike has nearly a year’s worth of back material on economics archived on the site—see the Economics Lessons Archive link below. — Ed.
Welcome to my new series at SchoolhouseTeachers.com. For August through October, we’ll study what I call an “Economics Fistfight.”
We’ll study why some economists favor an active role for government, and government intervention in free markets—and we’ll study the opposing argument: pro-markets, and small (limited) government involvement. We’ll study some of the leading voices on each side—and have a review at the end, in late August.
It’s important to read each page of the slideshows that come with each lesson. You’ll be directed to my www.nanocivics.com site, and there find the link for “Economics Fistfight” near the very top.
ADAM SMITH’S “invisible hand” is real. Competition in the market allows the interaction between producers and consumers to control the price and quantity of produced goods.
However, all sorts of real-world, pragmatic issues also get in the way of the perfect market structures necessary for the perfect functioning of the invisible hand. And thus, these economists argue, the government should aggressively intervene in the market . . .
Go inside to the lessons to continue this week’s study . . .
Part 2: We’ll study the opposing argument.
Part 3 (October 7-12): “Economics Fistfight: Paul Krugman” slideshow, and more, including Paul vs. Paul and Paul Krugman’s blog.
Don’t miss my spring series on the Economics course at SchoolhouseTeachers.com. For four months, we’ll study “The History of Economics.” We’ll study three great minds in economics history, per month, through the end of June. I hope you’ll lay a foundation for understanding economics from a historical perspective through this four-month mini course!
Here’s a bit more on these four months: I plan to cover 12 great names in economics history in historical order. Our goals will be to:
1. Understand the economic and financial times in which they lived. An example: How bad was the Great Depression, what was its worldwide impact, and what did it teach the economists who lived through it?
2. To get to know the biography and personal lives of these great economists. And you will find out that one of them was a homeschool tutor!
3. To find out about their major works and the contributions they made. (Who made the list of twelve for applying economics principles to political behavior?)
4. To learn the foundations of economics through a historical perspective. For instance, what did the Corn Laws do to grocery prices and the poor in a country that’s a bad place to grow corn in the first place?
Economic textbooks are typically full of jargon that don’t make intuitive sense. (You’re tempted to wonder: Are Pigou Taxes a penalty on people who let their hogs run free? Is the Laffer Curve a funny bend in the road?) Yet, if you’ll join us for The History of Economics, you’ll find that they make perfect sense when we meet the great minds and historical events behind the jargon—and give us greater understanding of our modern economy.
Here’s the list of economists in the order that we’ll study them:
March: 1) Adam Smith; 2) Thomas Robert Malthus; 3) David Ricardo; Review Questions
April: 4) John Stuart Mill; 5) Karl Marx; 6) Alfred Marshall
7) John Maynard Keynes (May 6-10)
8) Friedrich Hayek (May 13-17)
9) John Kenneth Galbraith (May 20-24)
Review Questions (May 27-31)
10) Milton Friedman (posted)
11) James McGill Buchanan
12) Robert Lucas Jr.
Review Questions (June 24-29)
I hope you learn and enjoy! Look for these lessons in the Archives.
— Mike Sims
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Mike Sims and his wife have been married for 17 years and homeschool their six kids. He teaches economics at Trinity Valley Community College and serves as the Assistant City Manager for the City of Terrell, Texas, where he oversees the operations of the largest rural Tax Increment Finance district in Texas and works with local citizens solving local problems every day. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University and his Master’s Degree in Economics from the University of Texas at Arlington. He and his wife founded their family website, nanocivics.com, in order to spread the word about the importance of nanocivics, the small-scale relationships of local public life.