How to become a more effective learner about the general economic climate?

As a young person, it is easy to be confused by what you see and hear in the media about the economy. One hears phrases like ‘quantitative easing’, ‘monetary policy’, ‘stagflation’ and ‘double-dip recession’ regularly rolled out by important sounding people as if their meanings were notorious and undisputed. One suspects that the people employing such phrases would have great difficulty explaining what they mean to school-aged students; or, indeed, to anyone.

The starting point for a young person beginning to grapple with the workings of the modern economy is to constantly ask questions. If you hear a word, phrase or concept that you do not understand, either ask someone nearby or consult the Internet. If you ask someone and their explanation does not make complete sense to you, ask more questions. If you are still not satisfied, consult the Internet.

The Internet is a terrific source of information and explanations for any questions that arise. If you have access to the Internet on a smart phone, put the word or phrase into a search engine and compare different sources of information. Often, a good starting point for economic concepts is to search Wikipedia. Wikipedia has the advantage that other words in the explanation that might not make sense are hyper-linked, allowing you to efficiently understand the meaning of a difficult concept. If you do not have access to the Internet on a smart phone, you might be able to make a note of the difficult concept on your phone, allowing you to explore the concept at a later time.

One habit that is often found in the very best students is the constant asking of questions and never letting a concept pass without first understanding it. This is true at all stages in life, not simply while you are at school. If you are in a position to ask a teacher, parent or friend to help you understand a concept, do so. If you are not comfortable asking these people, remember to discover the answer in your own time.

But always remember to discover the answer, even if you suspect that it might not be important. It is very easy to let something you do not understand pass, but it is much more rewarding to discover answers to your questions.

The acquisition of knowledge is important in and of itself—with a lifetime of experiences ahead, now is the time to get into the habit of seeking answers to all of your questions. Remember that knowledge is acquired over time; no one expects a young person to have a fluent economic vocabulary when most adults do not. Develop an intrepid attitude to learning and understanding what the world is all about.

Additional resources:

Studying Economics
Tell me About the ‘Dismal Science’
Economics Essay

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