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November 30, 2006

Timothy Taylor on Sale

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

I notice that Timothy Taylor's lecture series about Economics for the Teaching Company are currently on sale. I've listened to them all, and I've found them all to be superb: clear, enthusiastic, and hyper-informative.

Taylor seems to see economics not as a hard science full of immutable and unbendable truths so much as an ongoing, open-ended conversation. He's no Aspergery fundamentalist, but he's no relativist either; in the course of the Econ discussion, a lot of smart, useful, and helpful things have been said.

That's a view of econ I can get with. This is human behavior -- and not the properties of minerals and asteroids -- that's being observed, described, and analyzed after all. Economics as he presents it isn't physics. It's more like a blend of psychology, philosophy, and sociology -- only with far more reality checks than those fields sometimes permit themselves.

Bless his heart, Taylor also presents his subject in non-techie terms. (Let's hear it for that underused resource, namely plain and vivid English.) Which means that his lectures are an excellent way for the math-phobic among us to crack this annoying but essential and finally fascinating subject.

My humble suggestion: Start with his Legacies of the Great Economists. It's a fun history-of-thought survey that'll give you an overview of the terrain. Then move on to Economics for the real content. History of the American Economy in the 20th Century will bring you up to the present here at home, and Contemporary Economic Issues will help you make sense of the headlines.

Back here, a bunch of us traded tips about a lot of intro-to-econ resources that we've found useful.



UPDATE: Tyler Cowen points out an article that attempts to explain why most people don't get economics.

posted by Michael at November 30, 2006


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