Category: Economics

Economics is special because it contributes to two classes of knowledge. First, it serves as a “means of communication among people, incorporating a basic vocabulary or logic that is so frequently encountered that the knowledge should be possessed by everyone.” Second, it is a “type of knowledge frequently needed and yet not susceptible to economical purchase from experts.”

Economic literacy certainly contributes to the first class of knowledge. People like to think and talk about the economic issues that affect them as consumers, workers, producers, investors, citizens and in other roles they assume over a lifetime. Economic literacy also gives people the tools for understanding their economic world and how to interpret events that will either directly or indirectly affect them. Nations benefit from having an economically literate population because it improves the public’s ability to comprehend and evaluate critical issues. This understanding is especially important in democracies that rely on the active support and involvement of its citizens.

Economic literacy contributes to a second class of knowledge. For some economic decisions, such as buying a home or investing in the stock market, it is possible to hire professional or technical help when making a choice, but in most cases it is neither economical nor practical for an individual to hire a skilled professional every time an economic decision needs to be made. Even when such advice is given, the final choice must be made by the individual, not the adviser. What this means is that each person must ultimately serve as his or her own economist in making many economic choices, whether those choices involve buying a product, getting a loan, voting on candidates and economic issues, or something else. Economic literacy improves the competence of each individual for making personal and social decisions about the multitude of economic issues that will be encountered over a lifetime.

William Walford, Why It’s Important to Understand Economics

hospital costs

Hospital Costs Should Be The Focus In The US Healthcare Debate

Over the past 20 years, the price of US hospital services has increased by more than 200%, compared with average inflation of 60%. Yet large hospital networks, which contribute three times more than drug prices to total US healthcare spending, have largely remained out of public and political scrutiny according to Nisarg Patel in the Financial Times....

student loan debt

Student Loan Debt and the Status of Extending or Cancelling It

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. suspended payments and interest on federal student loans, but those protections are set to end on Sept. 30, 2021. Democrats led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) are making a renewed push for President Joe Biden...

pandemic economy

Despite Third Quarter Gains, The Pandemic Economy Is Still Behind Schedule

The Commerce Department reported that the pandemic economy grew at an annualized pace of 33.1% in the third quarter. That headline figure overstates the actual growth rate, however, just as the official number for the April to June quarter showing an annualized contraction of 31.4% exaggerated the economy’s decline (Both figures describe...