Why Study Economics?


    Why study Economics?
            (excerpt from National Council of Economic Education)

    ..."The principles of economics bear directly on the ordinary business of life, affecting people in their roles as consumers and producers. Economics also plays an important role in local, state, national, and international public policy. Economic issues frequently influence voters in national, state, and local elections. A better understanding of economies enables people to understand the forces that affect them every day, and helps them identify and evaluate the consequences of private decision and public policies. Many institutions of a democratic market economy function more effectively when its citizens are articulate and well informed about economics.

    Learning how to reason about economic issues is important also because the analytic approach of economics differs in key respects from approaches appropriate for other related subjects such as history and civics. Yet valid economic analysis helps us to master such subjects as well, providing effective ways to examine many of the "why" questions in history, politics, business, and international relations.

    Skills, as well as content, play an important part in economic reasoning. The key skills students must develop in economics include an ability to: (a) identify economic problems, alternatives, benefits, and costs; (b) analyze the incentives at work in an economic situation; (c) examine the consequences of changes in economic conditions and public policies; (d) collect and organize economic evidence; and (e) compare benefits with costs.

    Students should have gained several kinds of economic knowledge by the time they have finished the twelfth grade.

    First, they should understand basic economic concepts, and be able to reason logically about key economic issues that affect their lives as workers, consumers, and citizens, so they can avoid errors that are common among persons who do not understand economics.

    Second, they should know some pertinent facts about the American economy, including its size and the current rates of unemployment, inflation, and interest.

    Third, they should understand that economists hold differing views on some economic issues. This is especially true for topics such as the appropriate size of government in a market economy, how and when the federal government should try to fight unemployment and inflation, and how and when the federal government should try to promote economic growth. Nevertheless, there is widespread agreement among economists on many issues and in their basic methods of analysis.

    The essential propositions of economics are identified in the 20 content standards that follow."

    Voluntary National Content Standards in Economics

    These twenty standards were designed by the National Council of Economic Education in partnership with the Foundation for Teaching Economics and the National Association of Economic Educators and reflect the essential elements of economics.