CrisisMaven’s Economics Study Guide
(For statistical material go to our References section!)
This blog has two main purposes:
- It is meant to comment upon and elucidate matters of economic inquiry and economic policy,
- and it acts as a systematic study guide in economics meant to complement more traditional teaching approaches.
This Study Guide is still a work in progress (and will probably always be) since I can’t work full-time on this blog naturally (it earns me no money) and since I try also to comment current critical developments (Bloom of Doom series) or try to refute common Economic Fallacies at the same time. One of the high priority projects is the Reference List which will eventually range in the thousands of links to economic data (current or historic), indicators, statistics, bibliographies and other sources to complement not only this Study Guide but also as a kind of one-stop shop for anyone looking for economic data sources, be they on the web or in libraries or currently in print.
What CrisisMaven believes sets this collection of articles and overviews apart is that each single post or article attempts to look at a certain well-circumscribed subject within the vast field of economics for once through the collecting lens of some current event, as CrisisMaven believes it is only then that one’s mind will be receptive and interested in such subject, as well as each post tries to analyse the matter at hand in enough depth so that a reader, when finished, may with some confidence claim to have understood it thoroughly enough to follow any spirited discussion, be it with academics, researchers, practitioners in the field or other interested laymen (and women).
And over time, when this blog has grown enough to encompass most subjects in sufficient number and ramification, even if one were to feel unsure about some issue one should be able to come back here and then find the missing pieces in sufficient number and sophistication to once again continue such discussion with confidence when next convenient.
To facilitate this endeavour this blog will on one hand contain said posts mostly reflecting on a current topic and explore it in at least such depth that anyone but the most casual reader will after perusal feel confident conversing about the subject as well as certain dedicated pages of a more general nature, such as references with overviews like economic timelines, e.g. stock quotes, indices, purchasing power comparisons, population figures and the like. True to his style, CrisisMaven will attempt to never, except in the most exceptional cases, maintain tables of his own but rather provide link registers that point to relevant websites and occasionally to books in or out of print if he feels the information cannot be conveyed in any easier way. Another service will be particular study guides pertaining to a certain subject or economic school of thought, citing both CrisisMaven’s own posts as well as reliable sources from the Internet. In fact, all sources will always be accessible directly from the page that CrisisMaven provides, though some may point to books, so that the link actually points to the respective bibliographical information e.g. in an online library or an online bookshop, regardless of the book still being in print. There is one post of a more general nature titled “What’s wrong with Economics?” which will eventually provide a basic reader in economics from which you will be able to find your way around this blog in a systematic fashion as well as material from other more voluminous sources on the Internet. In a sense, you could call this article the backbone of this whole venture.
To the (college) student
If you take the time to search and read carefully you should as a rule be able to find lots of information here that will make it easier for you to cope with assignments of a not too technical nature provided the respective topic has already been covered by CrisisMaven. This of course takes and CrisisMaven has, if you will, already a pretty heavy syllabus which he tries to work off over time and which, due to the nature of some of the subjects, requires it be done in a certain order while at the same trying to follow the cues that political and economic events provide.
And had it not been for the crises that began to visibly unfold round about 2007 (with its roots dating back to the beginning of last century actually – which will be explained in some early posts) CrisisMaven might not have bothered, since, and you will probably concur, he felt that no one wanted to listen to the more arcane details of economic laws and operations, causes and effects – everything seemed so well organised, securitisation had taken all the risk out of investing and lending, and anyone who would have predicted that it would be exactly these complex machinations that would soon destroy more banking capital than had ever been created by all mankind ever since banks in our meaning of the word sprung up between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, he would (actually no need to resort to the subjunctive here) have been ridiculed and ostracised. How things can change in only a few months!
So when, say, you were given an assignment on “The Ethical and Economic Implications of Commodity Speculation” you might turn to a post titled “Economic Fallacy II: Speculation is Harmful?“. If you hover your mouse over any link you will not only see a preview of the respective website (if it is HTML not a document) but also a detailed “friendly name” often with one of the most poignant quotes from the source referenced. This should normally be a sufficient guide for you to decide if you want to follow this lead or read on.
Links as a rule
- will always open the page in a new window or tab respectively,
- will normally not be changed unless the link becomes “orphaned” in which case CrisisMaven will try to replace it with a fitting substitute.
Thus you could, once you’ve acquainted yourself with the site and CrisisMaven’s style, bookmark certain pages as a source of references and build up on them without fear that important content might be moved. Of course, this being a not-for-profit and free site without pad content, this is not a legal guarantee and no part of this site shall be construed as a warranty whether express or implied and CrisisMaven will not be liable for any material or immaterial or consequential damages. If you use this material be sure to double-check yourself that it suits your purpose and when you quote, esp. extensively be sure to review the respective intellectual property situation in each case.
When quoting or reprinting CrisisMaven’s material you are free to do so provided you credit him truthfully and it is greatly appreciated if you include a link to the actual page (link path) the material is gleaned from (this can be done, as is CrisisMaven’s style himself, implicitly by using a HTML hyperlink with the link address plus “friendly name”). See our “Copyright Policy” also.
As already mentioned in our “Editorial Policy” standard references are often made to Wikipedia. Handy as Wikipedia may be please do not take it “prima facie”, don’t take everything for granted. Should CrisisMaven strongly disagree with (part of) a particular Wikipedia article he will of course try to say so if warranted at that point, but if not, don’t take it as a blind endorsement as, in fact, you shouldn’t with any source CrisisMaven links to.
And as a last reminder: this is very much a work in progress – it will take months (from now, end of January 2010) until the basic tenets of economics will have been covered, always interrupted by these blessings in disguise, current economic events and disasters (of which you will see some more in the coming months and years) which will provide the welcome backdrop to explain or disprove common wisdom and which will add spice to the otherwise a bit dry subject. And precisely because CrisisMaven wants to cultivate a bit more entertaining some subjects may require a little more deliberation and a conscious effort not to copy and regurgitate what every other textbook you’re probably already familiar with propounds.