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Category: Business Parent Post

Originally Published as an Instablog by Private Trader on Sep 24, 2011.


Originally Published on Seeking Alpha as Instablog on September 24, 2011:

How Many Trillion Could The World Save by Strictly Requiring Economic Education? [Edit or Delete]0 comments

Sep 24, 2011 9:17 PM | about stocks: TBT, TLT, SPY, QQQ, GLD, GLL, GG, SLW

Why is it that many of us only learn about TBT, TLT, SPY, QQQ, GLD, GLL, etc. when we, or our national economies are in crisis?  While I am not in the worst crisis of my life, I am long TBT and TBF and have some positions in GG and SLW.  I also hold other positions that are arguably appear more optimistic about the US economy.  I would argue that, if others were taught the dynamics of such positions as early as they were taught the dynamics of playing one's position in baseball, football, or especially team sports, then we might live in a more financially healthy world. 

What if all schools and teachers started from the premise that, when teaching core subjects, no matter what subject (math, language, etc) it had to be linked to a reality based concept of economic health of the student and/or his or her community?  

I think I would have studied subjects I did not like (math for example) far more, if I was shown how my parents had to balance a checkbook to keep the household running smoothly (rather than calculate how long it would take Train A to catch up to Train B). 

I would have also enjoyed researching stocks and the market if I had known it could actually pay for my living.  Hey, why not start reading SeekingAlpha.com early?

If we were told that having some kind of "school currency" would have allowed us to skip a class we did not like, or go home early on Friday, etc, my friends and I would have worked harder to get "rich".  It's amazing what an early concept of currency can do.

It would have also been important to show, as early as possible, that using currency to skip a class, does not necessarily mean that you will succeed in your goal of passing all your classes that year.  

Also, just because all my friends were using their "school dollars" to skip a class, that didn't mean that we would all be happier.  We might all find ourselves in summer school - straightening out the boring math and/or social studies problems that we ignored all year (sound like the US housing bubble? or the Euro debt crises?).  There are limits to manipulating money and time.  The earlier we learn that, the better.

Also, I think my classmates and I would have understood the difficulties of economic justice lessons by role-playing for our favorite lunch foods.

Imagine not knowing any of the skills or weakeness of your classmates on the first day of class.  Being told to run your class as as country competing for higher scores on all subjects with the neighboring class (ie - GDP).  And before seeing how good you and your teammates were, being told of Rawls' Veil of Ignorance: 


Once informed, we would have to decide how to push each other to ALL study and ALL do our best even at subjects that we didn't all have a natural interest or skill in learning.  Inevitably, we would see that we cannot expect ALL of us to do as well at every thing required, but nonetheless a sense that ALL of us are a team has a great albeit virtually intangible value.

The kids in the classroom next door were trying to do the same thing.  The leaders had to inspire all of us to be strive for success, otherwise all of us would have to 
to eat lunches that, although arguably healthy, were composed of whatever the successful class did not want to eat.

Or, on a simpler level, we could have been told to role play being a parent that had a family with 2 kids to feed, but whose parental partner had unexpectedly died without leaving any insurance or savings.  What if any skills could we leverage?

I think requiring more role playing and economics games could have saved the US trillions of dollars, and based on the European debt crisis, the world too.  

If anyone knows of an educational or similar company that I can invest in to ensure such economic role playing takes place, please recommend it.  I apologize that I cannot recommend one.  And, it is my fear is that, what this generation learns about economics will not be passed on so well, thus we will again repeat 1930-1940, when most of us would have liked to enjoy summer instead of the extra work of summer school.  

Themes: Education, Economics, Role Playing Stocks: TBT, TLT, SPY, QQQ, GLD, GLL, GG, SLW
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