My spouse is an economist, which means that I have, over the years, been exposed to much talk on the matter, and much reading. I am grateful for that, as I did not study it in school, but for an introductory course at the university level and – believe it or not – a general course in high school (we had an awesome man named Mr. Kronstein as teacher – he was super conservative. In 2021 he wouldn’t be allowed to teach kids about, well, anything).
As a journalist, have I attended both Mont Pelerin Society and Atlas (cannot find an appropriate link) conferences, which, one could argue, gave me insight into a certain school of economics. In short, I am not an expert. I have common sense knowledge – for example, if one has a lot of something, one likely won’t be careful with it. If one has limited resources, one might be inclined to take better care, etc. Also, people have “reasons” for making even lousy financial choices, even though said reasons might be puzzling to others. (Certainly, one excludes here people suffering mental health issues – can we really say, for example, that someone who “chooses” to sleep on a sidewalk grate in January is being rational? Of course not. This is where the law is needed and, sadly, seems to fail.)
This is my overly-wordy way of saying that I am interested and trying to learn. One way I do so is by keeping up with my favourite economics blog, Tyler Cowen’s Marginal Revolution. Cowen also hosts a terrific podcast, not just about economics, but generally related to its study. (One recent podcast featured Claudia Goldin – absolutely fascinating stuff.) So when the Nobel Prize for economics was announced this year, the first place I went for information and explanation was Marginal Revolution. Check out the link if, like me, you want a better picture of what the three winners have contributed to the field.