High schools are the biggest problem in economics today. They rob the economy of the greatest human hopes, while the field is carried away by people who could do much better elsewhere - by people who will never understand economics. But it's no wonder when we look at who actually teaches economics there…
In the last few months, more and more of my acquaintances and friends have been asking me to "sit over the economy" - they are interested in an economic problem, we will meet and discuss it over some good fluid. This is how I helped my friend create a seminar, which - if she worked on it a little more - could easily be transformed into a bachelor's thesis in a few years (for example).
I recently talked like this with my younger friend. He is studying for the third year in high school, focusing on economics. He is taught there by a lady who is between 40 and 50 years old. This lady also "teaches" at the Faculty of Business Administration of the University of Economics in Prague.
By the way, the friend is an interesting man - when I met him two years ago, he claimed to be a young communist. Today, he is quite a solid liberal (in the classical sense). Well, even Hayek was a supporter of Fabian socialism in his youth. But back to the topic.
When I talked to that friend, I remembered one question from one university test (first year). Someone said it at a gathering of people interested in Mises.cz. The question is:
The Computer screen and the Computer are:
(b) complements and, in difficult circumstances, substitutes
I do not guarantee that the question with the possibilities is written in the correct original wording, it is loosely "reinterpreted".
What is the correct answer?
Substitutes and complements
For those of you who already know, I repeat - this is a question from the test for the first year. For the other little explanation of what it is surrogate and what is it complement.
While substitutes are goods that replace each other in consumption, complements are goods that complement each other in consumption.
- Robert Holman, Economics (3rd edition)
In other words, if I don't care if I write with a pen or pen, if I buy a pen or pen, the pen and pen are a substitute for me.
Well, if I want to go out in one pair of shoes, for example, the left and right shoes are complements for me.
What about the computer screen and the computer? The correct answer is for B. Not only in this example, but in everyone else. In general, all goods are substitutes and complements. The specific distinction is individual - it depends on the situation and the decision-maker. No farm is a complement or substitute in itself.
That there are certain situational stereotypes (see example with a shoe above), meaning that people often make the same decisions in certain situations (that the left and right shoes are complements when we want to go out in one pair of shoes) doesn't change anything - each such "situational stereotype" is a unique act choices when a person makes a decision. One evaluates things in a certain situation. It does not tell us anything about the properties of the thing, but only about the circumstances of the situation!
We have many stereotypes around us, which does not mean that they are an "iron law" that cannot be changed. What if the fashion of real shoes comes? What if we get into a different situation with the right and left shoes? Everything can change at once.
The task of the economist is to rise above these stereotypes. A person who cannot do this cannot be called an economist. Such a person will always be locked in his own stereotypes in economics, when he will not understand how others choose and evaluate others differently than himself. He will not be able to describe the mechanics of human behavior in a value-neutral way, which is the basic task of economics.
The inability to break free from stereotypes of substitutes and complements means the inability to "think like an economist." This is a fundamental mistake that has absolutely colossal consequences for a person who teaches economics at university and high school. Such a mistake is inadmissible for such a person.
How do you think that teacher answered my friend?
Of course, these are certainly always complements. If it was different in the college test, they had it wrong.
A friend gave an example - what if I come home from work, I'm upset and want to smash something? Then for me, screen and computer can be substitutes.
Answer? It is said to be "something else" that does not belong to the economy.
High school kills economics
Ladies and gentlemen, such experts teach future economists, entrepreneurs, and corporate economists. Dear parents, even "this" is taught to your children. However, this is not very special.
High school economics is teeming with many "experts" who let go of colossal proportions into the world. Who instead of economics in the subject of Economics teaches everything possible, but not that economics. Those people who could already be great economists will be so disgusted with this field that the whole field will lose generations of hope in the future.
These "experts" turn many promising students away from economics and, on the contrary, draw in the study of the field herds of people who already see economics as an easy subject to memorize. Not only do they completely devalue the economy as such (inflation of worthless titles), but they also devalue all other fields, which thus lose their hopes, which in the vision of an easy title will subscribe to the economy, which they will never understand.
Worst of all, these inflationary minds often also teach next-generation economics…
I would cancel the state high school. And all!