Economics Training for Regular Folks
In Manchester, groundbreaking economics courses are giving locals the means to challenge some of society’s received wisdom – for free.
Listen to Aditya Chakrabortty talking about game-changing economic models on The Alternatives podcast
In a makeshift classroom, nine lay people are battling some of the greatest economists of all time – and they appear to be winning. Just watch what happens to David Ricardo, the 18th-century father of our free-trade system. In best BBC voice, one of the group reads out Ricardo’s words: “Economics studies how the produce of the Earth is distributed.”
Not good enough, says another, Brigitte Lechner. Shouldn’t economists study how to meet basic needs? “We all need a roof over our heads, we all need to survive.” Nor does the Earth belong solely to humans. Her judgment is brisk. “Ricardo was talking tosh.”