Teaching Economics to High School Students

From: M
Sent: Thu 7/27/2017 8:51 AM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: Austrian economics for high school?
Dear Professor Block, Good morning. I hope this email finds you well. Let me begin by saying that your work in economics has inspired me a great deal. I am a former US Marine and Iraq war veteran who marched in war protests upon returning home. During this experience I became acquainted with the work of Ron Paul and later became a delegate for him in Colorado. It was through Ron Paul that I discovered Austrian economics and then all of your work as well as the work of your colleagues in this field. I teach history in a private high school and have just been offered a 3 week block to teach economics to 12th grade. My question to you is would you be open to sharing any advice or guidance with me? Specifically with designing an economics curriculum for 12th graders? I heard you say once that you teach mainstream economics 80% of the time and then dismantle it the other 20%. I would love to hear more about how you structure that. I feel like I have an incredible opportunity to teach these young people and I want to make the most of it. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, M

Dear M: Yes, I teach perhaps 80% neoclassical economics, and 20% of the class time offer an Austrian critique. Why? Because I like to send my students off to graduate school, and if I only taught Austrian economics, they would be at a great disadvantage. Also, Austrians are what, 1% of the economics profession, at most? It would almost be fraudulent if I didn’t cover this material even for undergraduates who didn’t go on to grad school in economics. Further, I think my students gain even more of an insight into mainstream economics due to the praxeological critique of it.

The books that initially converted me to free market economics and libertarianism were Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. So I highly recommend them to you. Here are some other books you might consider:

Have your students read these Rothbard pamphlets, all are available electronically for free

What has govt done to our money?
Depressions: their cause and cure; http://mises.org/daily/3127/Economic-Depressions-Their-Cause-and-Cure
the case against the Fed
the case for 100% gold money

Rothbard, Murray N. 1963, 1985, 1990 What Has Government Done to Our Money? Auburn, AL.: Mises Institute; http://www.mises.org/rothbard/rothmoney.pdf

Rothbard, Murray N. 1969. “The Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle,” p. 78-79, in Economic Depressions: Their Cause and Cure, Lansing, Michigan: Constitutional Alliance
http://mises.org/tradcycl/econdepr.asp; http://mises.org/daily/3127/Economic-Depressions-Their-Cause-and-Cure

Rothbard, Murray N. 1996. “Economic Depressions: Their Cause and Cure.” The Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle and Other Essays. Auburn, AL: The Ludwig von Mises Institute, pp. 37-64. (Originally published by the Center for Libertarian Studies, 1978.) http://mises.org/daily/3127/Economic-Depressions-Their-Cause-and-Cure

Rothbard, Murray N. 1994. The Case Against the Fed. Auburn, AL: The Ludwig von Mises Institute; http://mises.org/books/fed.pdf

Rothbard, Murray N. 1962. “The Case For a 100 Percent Gold Dollar.” Leland Yeager (ed.), In Search of a Monetary Constitution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 94 136. Reprinted as The Case For a 100 Percent Gold Dollar, Washington, DC: Libertarian Review Press, 1974. http://mises.org/rothbard/100percent.pdf


3:46 pm on July 30, 2017