Economics, 3rd Edition

Course No. 550
Professor Timothy Taylor, M.Econ.
Macalester College
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Course No. 550
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Course Overview

We are all economists—when we work, buy, save, invest, pay taxes, and vote. It repays us many times over to be good economists. Economic issues are active in our lives every day. However, when the subject of economics comes up in conversation or on the news, we can find ourselves longing for a more sophisticated understanding of the fundamentals of economics.

  • How can I get an overview of the entire U.S. economy?
  • Why do budget deficits matter?
  • What exactly does the Federal Reserve do?
  • Why do most economists favor international trade so strongly?

Economics, 3rd Edition, will help you think about and discuss these and other economic issues that affect you and the nation every day—interest rates, unemployment, personal investing, budget deficits, globalization, and many more—with a greater level of knowledge and sophistication.

Designed for those who haven't already purchased our 2nd Edition economics course, this enlarged and reorganized 3rd Edition includes updated statistics and discussions of more recent events. It also features expanded coverage in areas of great public interest, such as anti-trust issues, corporate responsibility, and international financial crashes.

Master the Basics of Economics

These lectures require no special or advanced knowledge of mathematics. Instead, you will learn economics through intuitive explanations and in plain English, from an instructor who has won teaching awards at Stanford and the University of Minnesota.

Professor Timothy Taylor's first 18 lectures focus on "microeconomics," or looking at economics "from the bottom up." You will study the behavior of individuals, households, and firms; and how they interact in markets for goods, labor, and saving and investment. Topics in microeconomics include:

  • How does supply and demand operate in the free market to determine the prices of the goods we buy and the salaries we are paid?
  • How are interest rates determined? And what effects do they have on so many decisions we make—such as what house we will buy?
  • How do businesses compete with one another? What is a natural monopoly? What role does government have to play in encouraging and regulating competition?
  • Defining "public goods"—things like national defense and education—that we all benefit from whether we contribute to them or not. The difficulty of encouraging citizens to support production of public goods can be understood through a game theory problem known as the prisoner's dilemma.

The second half of the course covers "macroeconomics," or studying the economy "from the top down."Here you will examine the factors that help economists evaluate the economy on a national and global scale. Among these macroeconomic issues are:

  • Common ways the government taxes and spends, and how these actions affect the total demand and supply in our economy
  • The relationship between employment and inflation, and the different perspectives on this problem advanced by the two main schools of economic theory—the Keynesians and the neoclassicists
  • International economics: What are the arguments for and against international trade? How are exchange rates determined and what do they really mean to us as individuals and the economy in general? What are the future prospects for the global economy—which nations are likely to do well and which will lag behind?

Throughout this course, Professor Taylor helps you apply what you are learning to many of today's most frequently discussed and misunderstood issues. Has the world economy become truly borderless, and does globalization take jobs away from American workers? Why do markets for car and health insurance often seem so costly and controversial? What are our prospects for heading off the Social Security and healthcare crises that loom in the coming decades?

Learn to Think Like an Economist

One of the 20th century's top economists, John Maynard Keynes, once said, "Economics is a method rather than a doctrine, an apparatus of the mind, a technique of thinking which helps its possessor to draw correct conclusions."

You will learn that economics is essentially a way of thinking about big problems that face our society, and that economists sometimes think very differently about these issues than the rest of us do. You will practice thinking like an economist about a succession of topics that are in the news virtually every day, such as:

  • Is it realistic to view pollution as a moral wrong, as some environmentalists do, and try to eliminate it completely? Or can pollution actually have benefits? What would we have to give up if we tried to totally eradicate pollution?
  • How should the government decide whether or not to block a proposed corporate merger?
  • Should we control rents so that people can afford housing? Or should government subsidize low-income housing, or offer families rent vouchers? Which strategy would an economist favor? Which would a politician most likely choose?

In these lectures, you will appreciate the difficulties involved in formulating economic policies that are both effective and satisfying to everyone—consumers and businesses, Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor.

Economics Everywhere: From Cowrie Shells to Edison, from Mohair to Mickey Mouse

Economics isn't just about numbers: It's about politics, psychology, history, inventions, and countless other aspects of human endeavor. As a result, it never lacks for interesting, surprising, or amusing content. The following are a few of many examples:

  • Thomas Edison's first invention was an automatic vote-counting machine. But he found he couldn't sell it, so he vowed only to make inventions people would buy.
  • The idea of using a "basket of goods" to measure inflation goes back a long time. During the Revolutionary War, Massachusetts paid its soldiers the amount of money that would buy the following basket of goods: 5 bushels of corn, 68 and four-sevenths pounds of beef, 10 pounds of wood, and 16 pounds of leather.
  • The first federal minimum wage law, passed in 1938, was intended to keep jobs in northern United States from flowing to the south, where wages were much lower. It intentionally put millions of low-skilled black workers in the south out of work.
  • The item that served as money over the broadest geographic area and the longest period of time was the cowrie shell. It was in use as early as 700 B.C. in China and was subsequently used in India, Africa, and southern Europe. It was an acceptable way to pay taxes in some African nations well into the 20th century.
  • The argument that a product should be protected against foreign imports because it is vital to national security is often abused. In the 1950s, the American mohair industry successfully argued for protection—which exists to this day—on the basis that military uniforms contained mohair and without support for the industry American soldiers risked going to battle naked.

In other lectures, you will learn how various ways to measure and analyze the economy were first developed—for example, how America's first statistical definition of poverty was formulated by one person, Social Security Administration employee Mollie Orshansky, in the 1960s. Professor Taylor takes you through the intricacies of patents, copyrights, and product advertising, with examples ranging from America's top corporations to Sonny Bono and Mickey Mouse. You will even see that economic analysis can be applied to behavior that doesn't seem related to economics at all, such as why so many Americans don't vote.

Be an Economics Conversation Starter. Or Stopper.

If you complete this course and devote some thought to its subject matter, you'll be able to hold your own any time the discussion turns to economics, whether it's at your office, in the news, or at the dinner table.

If you hear someone say, for example, "A tax on gas could be a good way of encouraging people to drive less," you'll be able to add, knowingly, "Perhaps, but of course, it all depends on the elasticity of demand for gasoline."

"I should warn you though," Professor Taylor says, from personal experience, "that comments like this can either lead to a really much more intelligent and informed conversation, or they can lead the conversation to an abrupt and uncomfortable halt."

Please note:

This course is not intended to provide financial or investment advice. All investments involve risk: Past performance does not guarantee future success. You acknowledge that any reliance on any information from the materials contained in this course shall be at your own risk.

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36 lectures
 |  Average 30 minutes each
  • 1
    How Economists Think
    This lecture identifies ways in which economists think differently about human motivations, tradeoffs, and the workings of markets. It also introduces a number of terms: microeconomics, macroeconomics, opportunity cost, marginal analysis, and more. x
  • 2
    Division of Labor
    The division of labor means that almost no one produces all or most of what they consume. Since Adam Smith over 200 years ago, economists have explained how the combination of a division of labor and exchange of goods and services increases productivity. x
  • 3
    Supply and Demand
    Any market involves both buyers, or "demand;" and sellers, or "supply." The supply and demand framework predicts that markets will tend toward an equilibrium price, where the quantity supplied and the quantity demanded are equal. x
  • 4
    Price Floors and Ceilings
    Price floors, such as government support for farmers, set price minimums, while price ceilings, like rent control, set a maximum price. Both can hold prices away from equilibrium, and make demand unequal to supply. Price regulations impose costs on consumers or producers, and create inefficiency. x
  • 5
    Demand for orange juice is elastic—when its price rises, consumers can switch to other juices. Demand for gasoline is inelastic—when its price rises, drivers can't switch to other fuels. Elasticity is useful in evaluating how public policies will work. x
  • 6
    The Labor Market and Wages
    In the labor market, individuals are the suppliers, businesses are the demanders, and wages are the price. This lecture examines labor markets by discussing some prominent issues, like the minimum wage and how payroll taxes for Social Security affect wages. x
  • 7
    Financial Markets and Rates of Return
    There is a longstanding prejudice against capital markets in western culture—after all, charging interest used to be considered a sin of usury. This lecture focuses on the demand side of the capital markets, or primarily the demand for financial capital from businesses that seek to invest in plants and equipment. x
  • 8
    Personal Investing
    The supply side of the capital market is an ornate name for a more basic question: How can I get rich through financial investments? While this course is not intended to provide financial or investment advice, this lecture looks at the four major investment concerns—return, risk, liquidity, and tax status—and then considers a range of investments, and their tradeoffs. x
  • 9
    From Perfect Competition to Monopoly
    Competition between firms falls into four categories: perfect competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly, and monopoly. This lecture discusses these paradigms, and describes how prices, output, and profits are likely to differ in each. x
  • 10
    Antitrust and Competition Policy
    Antitrust refers to government policies to prevent monopoly and encourage competition. They include blocking proposed mergers between firms; forcing firms to change unfair practices; and in some cases (like AT&T in 1984) requiring large firms to be split into smaller ones. x
  • 11
    Regulation and Deregulation
    In some industries—like airlines, banking, and electricity—government has sought to regulate prices charged and/or quantities produced. This lecture discusses the situations when government regulation works best, and when it does not. x
  • 12
    Negative Externalities and the Environment
    "Negative externalities" are situations in which the buying and selling of goods creates consequences—like pollution—felt by third parties who are not part of the original transaction. Regulation can be inflexible and costly. Economists have instead proposed market-oriented policies. x
  • 13
    Positive Externalities and Technology
    The market can produce too few "positive externalities": good things like scientific research, innovation, and education. Policy solutions for this situation include patents, copyrights, direct government support, and tax credits to industry. x
  • 14
    Public Goods
    Public goods, like national defense or basic scientific research, are "nonexcludable" and "nondepletable." Potential sellers cannot exclude people from using them, and they are not used up as more people use them. Markets often do a poor job of producing public goods, so there is a case for government action. x
  • 15
    Poverty and Welfare Programs
    Economists have preferred anti-poverty strategies that favor cash and wage subsidies over trying to set prices low or wages high for the poor. However, recent welfare reform emphasizes another feature—that people take jobs as soon as possible. x
  • 16
    Inequality is the gap between those with high incomes and those with low incomes. Since the late 1970s, inequality has increased in the United States. This lecture discusses the possible causes, whether some government response is appropriate and, if so, what kind. x
  • 17
    Imperfect Information and Insurance
    Imperfect information, such as how much to charge for auto insurance when information about the risks of auto accident is imperfect, can raise havoc with markets. It raises two issues—moral hazard and adverse selection—that are fundamental to arguments over health insurance in the United States. x
  • 18
    Corporate and Political Governance
    Shareholders may have trouble constraining the actions of top corporate managers and voters can have difficulty controlling politicians' actions. So skepticism is warranted about whether firms will seek efficient production, or whether politicians will act in society's best interest. x
  • 19
    Macroeconomics and GDP
    Macroeconomics has four policy goals—economic growth, low unemployment, low inflation, and sustainable trade deficits—and two main tools: federal budget policy and monetary policies of the Federal Reserve. Gross domestic product (GDP) is the standard measure of a nation's economy. x
  • 20
    Economic Growth
    In the long run, the rate of economic growth is by far the most important factor in determining the average standard of living. The key factors behind economic growth are increases in physical capital, human capital, and technology, all of which depend upon a supportive market environment. x
  • 21
    The economist's view of unemployment focuses on why supply and demand in the labor market are producing unemployment. The underlying causes of unemployment can be split into two broad categories: cyclical unemployment, and the structural or natural rate of unemployment. x
  • 22
    Inflation is an overall sustained increase in the level of prices. The inflation rate is determined by defining a basket of goods, and then tracking how the cost of that basket changes over time. Mild inflation is not a great policy concern, but higher levels can cause problems. x
  • 23
    The Balance of Trade
    The trade deficit is perhaps the most misunderstood statistic in all of economics. The United States ran extremely large trade deficits in the late 1990s and into the 2000s, turning the United States into the world's largest debtor economy. x
  • 24
    Aggregate Supply and Aggregate Demand
    Economists commonly think about the macroeconomy through the model of aggregate demand and supply. It indicates how growth, inflation, unemployment, and the trade balance are related; why certain goals sometimes involve trade offs; and which macroeconomic policies to use. x
  • 25
    The Unemployment-Inflation Tradeoff
    Some of the biggest controversies in modern macroeconomics revolve around whether an unemployment-inflation tradeoff exists. This tradeoff, known as the Phillips curve, existed quite clearly in U.S. data from about 1950 to 1970, but then fell apart. x
  • 26
    Fiscal Policy and Budget Deficits
    This lecture reviews the main spending and taxing components in the federal budget, surveys trends in federal budget deficits and federal debt, and explains why budget deficits exploded, contracted, and then exploded again in the last 20 years. x
  • 27
    Countercyclical Fiscal Policy
    Spending increases or tax cuts can mitigate a recession, and spending cuts or tax hikes can fight inflation. In the United States, these countercyclical measures happen automatically to some extent, but some believe government should go beyond these automatic stabilizers. x
  • 28
    Budget Deficits and National Saving
    When government budget deficits are large and sustained, two possible effects can result. First, less financial capital may be available for private investment. Second, the United States may need to attract foreign investors. In the long term, neither is healthy. x
  • 29
    Money and Banking
    Economists define money as whatever serves as the medium of exchange, store of value, or unit of account. Money's various modern definitions— traveler's checks, checking accounts, savings accounts, money market mutual funds, etc.— reveal that money and the banking system are tightly interrelated. x
  • 30
    The Federal Reserve and Its Powers
    The Federal Reserve controls monetary policy, and has great power over the United States and even the world's economy. Yet it is run by presidential appointees and bankers, not by elected officials. Although there are plausible reasons, this remains controversial. x
  • 31
    The Conduct of Monetary Policy
    Controversies exist over exactly how the Federal Reserve should fight inflation. Should it focus exclusively on inflation, or also pay attention to such goals as shortening recessions? Should it act when stock market or housing prices may be forming a bubble? x
  • 32
    The Gains of International Trade
    Economists are deeply supportive of foreign trade; the average person is much more suspicious. The expansion of global trade in the post-World War II period has brought large gains to the United States and to the world economy. x
  • 33
    The Debates over Protectionism
    Pressures to limit imports are called "protectionism." This lecture reviews arguments for protectionism—saving jobs, protecting the environment, and others—and the reasons that most economists find those arguments less than compelling. x
  • 34
    Exchange Rates
    An exchange rate is the rate at which one currency exchanges for another. Exchange rates can be considered as a (misguided) symbol of national economic virility, when in reality they are just a price for currency. x
  • 35
    International Financial Crashes
    This lecture explores international financial crashes—such as those suffered by Thailand, Russia, and Argentina in recent years—and policies that may reduce their risk. But such risks will likely continue as international flows of financial capital expand. x
  • 36
    A Global Economic Perspective
    This lecture discusses global economic prospects over the next few decades. Even with a number of potential stumbling blocks, the chances for several billion people to be far better off are extraordinary. The United States sometimes seems to fear this richer world, but it need not. x

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Course Guidebook Details:
  • 208-page printed course guidebook
  • Suggested readings
  • Questions to consider
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Your professor

Timothy Taylor

About Your Professor

Timothy Taylor, M.Econ.
Macalester College
Professor Timothy Taylor is Managing Editor of the prominent Journal of Economic Perspectives, published by the American Economic Association. He earned his Master's degree in Economics from Stanford University. Professor Taylor has won student-voted teaching awards for his Introductory Economics classes at Stanford University. At the University of Minnesota, he was named a Distinguished Lecturer by the Department of...
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Economics, 3rd Edition is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 126.
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Some course material is dated The course material is generally sound and appropriate for a person with no technical knowledge of economics. The material and presentation are quite adequate. Personally I had several economics courses in university, (which was long ago), and hoped for a refresher; the course was useful towards this objective, especially in the are of macroeconomics. All this said, I feel I have a few significant quibbles. The principal weakness of this course is that it was record in about 2006 and accordingly doesn't reflect the turmoil of 2007 to date. I feel no doubt that many of Mr. Taylor's comments would have a somewhat different slant or emphasis from a 2012 perspective. On specific shortcoming pertained to discussion of fiscal stimulus during a recession. Here Mr. Taylor equates tax reduction and government spending with no discussion of "multiplier effect". E.g. are tax reductions for the rich as reductions for the poor? Maybe not, because the poor will spend while the rich may save. Are either as effect as government spending on, say, infrastructure? It depends on the "multiplier effect". On the topic of declining real wages in the USA, Taylor attributes only 13% of this to globalization. Although Taylor provides does some references, I'm inclined to feel this is low. E.g. Taylor mentions declining union membership as a separate factor, but union membership has largely decline as a result of manufacturing migrating off shore. On the topic of environmental consequences of globalization and "fairness" in international trade where countries have stricter or laxer laws, Taylor is dismissive. He has an overly optimistic belief, in my opinion, that prosperity in rapidly developing countries will automatically lead to them intiating stricter regulations.
Date published: 2012-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from If I were shipwrecked on a deserted island, this is the course I would want to have in my possession (and a dvd player with charged battery, of course). I gleaned more practical information and gained greater insight about the factors that influence economic development and trends (personal, national, and international) from this course than all the (relatively boring) economics lectures in college. I say "relatively boring" because Professor Taylor is articulate and engaging, and the course content is very well organized and presented skillfully. He impresses me as the type of person I would like to know personally...highly knowledgeable but very human and approachable. If you want to become more informed about economics and related issues (unemploymernt, national debt, inflation, balance of trade, etc.) this is the course to get.
Date published: 2012-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from None better than Professor Taylor. This is the updated version of the economics course I slept through many years ago with a different professor when I was an undergraduate. I did not sleep through this one. I knew Professor Taylor through his repulation at Stanford where he is still considered one of the best of the best by his former students. I expected a knowledgeable and engaging presentation; I was not disappointed. My objective in taking this course was to refresh my knowledge in preparation for his course on global economics. I think that was a wise move, not so much because the global course is difficult, but because this one teaches so much. I should add that I did this course entirely from audio CD without feeling that I lost anything in the process. I did study the very few graphs and tables prior to the lessons but found that Professor Taylor's explanations were understandable without much else.
Date published: 2012-04-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Belabored Markets Professor Taylor covers some great topics at a slow pace. His explanations are clear and convincing, but he belabors and pleads his points, as if debating a room full of stubborn disbelievers. Since nobody is arguing back, it seems excessive. Professor Taylor presents plenty of good material in this course, but the tempo drags. Less reiteration and argumentation would improve the pace.
Date published: 2012-04-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding overview I studied economics for a number of years prior to entering university to undertake my law degree. My business interests in recent years required me to be at least fluent in economics in terms of understanding political-economic events. This course was a breath of fresh air. It allowed me to cut away unnecessary "noise" and realy understand the key concepts that underpin the discipline of economics. Professor Taylor is absolutely superb and I have bought two other courses he has done and they too are brilliant. I would buy any course Professor Taylor does; he packages deep wisdom in a way that is easy to digest and without losing the intellectual rigour needed to understand of complex topics. Great job!
Date published: 2012-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great introduction to Economics... This course is a great introduction to, and explanation of, the field of Economics, a subject that has always been a great mystery to me. I really appreciated Timothy Taylor's teaching style - informative but also humorous. His 36 lectures might be considered to be roughly the equivalent of a one-semester introductory college Economics class. Certainly Economics is a complicated field of study involving governments, companies, and individuals and all the choices that each make. Turn one knob to make an economic adjustment here, and over there a (perhaps unexpected and unintended) side-effect occurs as well. Mr. Taylor makes clear that the choices we all make have many effects on the economy some predictable, some desirable, and some not. A thoroughly enjoyable course, with a few surprises for those who want to enjoy an introductory Economics course.
Date published: 2012-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Basic Course I have no background in Economics and this course layed a great foundation for my understanding of basic material in newspapers, magazines, etc.. It used to be that when I heard the term "money supply" or "foreign investment" was bad. This course set me straight both in macro and micro economics. The lecturer repeats himself using concrete examples so as to drive the point home - and he does so in a very engaging way, very easy to listen to. It was a great course and the material is so timely that I purchased the upgrade to the 3rd edition just for updated information...
Date published: 2011-12-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Economics 3rd Edition Excellent presentation. Professor Taylor blends the history and real world applications into a seamless listening and learning experience. Only fault is time line ends in the 90's. I would love to hear an update with all that has gone on the past 12 years. G. Trip
Date published: 2011-10-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Economics, 3rd edition, an excellent course Downloaded version. As a physician, I have never studied economics or anything related to the field, so I anticipated and received a lot of new information. Some was obvious from just listening to the news and observing the current events, but some was quite new and interesting. Professor Taylor has a nice voice and a good delivery. It does not sound as if he is just reading his notes, like some professors do. He seems genuinely interested in the subject matter and it comes through. I learned a lot about labor, supply and demand, how interest rates are regulated, and many other things. I have heard expressions such as fiscal policy, monetary policy, central bank, etc. and thought I knew what they meant, but I was wrong. Now I have a much better understanding of the national and global economy. The professor provided many examples that apply to the current state of affairs, which made his lectures current and applicable to our time. There is just one area of disagreement. I was surprised when he spoke with praise about John Maynard Keynes and his idea of increasing government spending to stimulate the economy and improve employment. This course was recorded a few years ago, so the professor could not have been aware of the almost $1 trillion government stimulus that the current administration implemented. It was done with the very goal of improving the economy and reducing unemployment. Instead, the economy is heading for a recession, unemployment remains unacceptably high (9.1%), and in the month of August (2011) there were zero jobs created by the private sector. So clearly the ideas of Mr. Keynes do not work. Other than that, I found the course useful, informative, comprehensive and enjoyable. I plan to listen to it again soon and recommend it highly.
Date published: 2011-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Another Masterpiece by Taylor It was a great pleasure to listen to the 36 lectures. They went by so fast that when I finished, I thought I had just finished lecture 24! I found myself actually wishing my commute was longer so that I could listen to more in one sitting. There were times when I even took an extra trip around the block just to hear more. Taylor's goal in this series is to make economics understandable to the layman. He does not assume you understand the jargon of economics. Rather, he goes through the concepts one by one, explaining them in a very easy to understand manner. Taylor was equally terrific in his course on the great economists. I wholeheartedly recommend him.
Date published: 2011-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from T. Taylor is one of the best instructors I have bought every course of Dr. Taylor's and have never been disappointed. I own the first and third addition of this and feel it provides a tremendous foundation for understanding the field. I find him to be politically neutral and just provides logical analysis that can't easily be poked through.
Date published: 2011-08-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Wealth of Information This review concerns the audio CD version. Let me begin by stating that I have never had any formal economics education until recently. A few months back, I took Dr. Bartlett's course on "Thinking Like An Economist." I would advise or recommend that course as an excellent preparation for this course. Professor Taylor is a very caring, dedicated professor. He obviously enjoys teaching about fundamental economic principles, and doing so in an understandable way. While it is true that many economic ideas and concepts can be controversial( oftentimes due to political reasons) he does a superior job of putting 'everything on the table' for you. Professor Taylor is always using examples to make concepts as clear as he possibly can. And more importantly, he shares insights from differing viewpoints. As I see it, he gives us the tools we need, in order to help make our own sound, rational economic choices. 1) from the personal, or microeconomic standpoint (first part of the course) 2) from the broader, macroeconomic standpoint ( remainder of the course) This information is eseential today in order to help decipher what we here about the US and world economy on a daily basis. As far as the content, I found it to be quite understandable, with just a bit of attentiveness on my part. The guidebook certainly did enhance my learning experience, since many of the critical graphics, such as the supply/demand curves, are well presented there. I would certainly recommend this course to anyone that might have little or no prior experience in economics, but yet want to be better informed about current issues. Thank you, Professor Taylor-I look forward to taking your other TTC courses.
Date published: 2011-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from awesome course once again, I am ranking this as a spectacular course!!!! As a physician, I do not have as much time to listen to non-medical "topics" as I would like, but, Dr Taylor provides a superb clear, INTERESTING , and, yes, CAPTIVATING course. I cannot more HIGHLY recommended this course for anyone interested in learning about economics -- get rich quick, no; but for those of us who never took micro or macro "econ", or for those of us who desire to be "in the know", this is an awesome INTERESTING lecture series if I could .... 6 out of 5 (and yes, still after listening 4 times) I WISH I had more time to listen..............
Date published: 2011-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Economic laws may be psychological laws I just finished this course. I enjoyed it and feel that I learned a lot, especially in the earlier lectures. It seems that many economic laws are really psychological laws, and there are many places where the two fields intersect and inform each other. The professor is engaging and keeps the class moving at a steady pace. Well worth the time spent listening to this course.
Date published: 2011-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Making Economics Interesting My casual impression has always been that economics is the science of stating the obvious about the mundane. While I still think that's partly true, my interest in the subject has been raised several levels by this course. Some of the early lectures do seem a bit basic, but that's in large part due to the subject and not a criticism of the professor. As the course progresses, the lectures become less basic and more analytical, and some of the later lectures are quite involved. I ended up listening to some of the lectures a second time, and I'll probably listen to the entire course a second time. Professor Taylor does several things very well. First, he does an excellent job of covering the important topics without getting sidetracked on lesser issues. Second, he makes the course timely by discussing current events in nearly all of the lectures. (This course pre-dates the 2009 recession.) Third, he does a very good job of conveying how economists think. And finally, he does an excellent job of making each course interesting. Taylor is one of those lecturers who are so excited about their topic that they can't help but convey a level of enthusiasm to their students. This a timely topic and an important one for anyone interested in understanding current events. In light of the recent major economic turmoils, TTC may need to update this course. If it does so, it should certainly keep Taylor on as the professor. He's put together an excellent introductory course and his lecturing stlye is top-notch. This course delivers the level of excellence you've come to expect from TTC. It's a five-star course in all respects.
Date published: 2011-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Ideal course I found this, yes, occasionally too basic, but a great course in preparing one to be a thoughtful citizen. Also, I appreciated his taking great pains to fairly lay out the arguments on both sides of controversial issues.
Date published: 2011-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Basics Course This course is very informational on the basics of economics. The topics are well organized and explained in a straightforward manner. Dr. Taylor is an engaging instructor. Very easy to listen to. I would like to see a follow on course which delves into more details on some of the topics. Overall, this is a great course.
Date published: 2011-03-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from An Immediate Benefit Despite what I consider to be a decent education, my familiarity with economics was so poor as to almost be embarrassing. After listening to this course I feel much more conversant about the subject and discipline of economics. Great course.
Date published: 2011-02-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Information First, I would like to say that I purchased the audio download version of this lecture as an additional viewpoint for my college economics class. With that said, most of the concepts and terms were not new to me and probably led to my understanding of this professor’s concepts without difficulty. This lecture starts out slow with a few bad jokes about how economists think/are. The professor picks up around lecture two or three and provides good explanations of the concepts. The lectures are ordered in a way that takes the student from one concept to the next without gaps of understanding. The professor does speak fairly quickly at times and you may have to rewind to fully grasp the meaning of his words. This is an economics class so it does get a little dry through some of the lectures, but this is due to the material, not the professor. This series of lectures has increased my knowledge of economics and has been very helpful in my understanding of concepts that we have gone over in class. I would recommend this lecture to anybody that is clueless in economics, or, like me, wants to supplement their learning.
Date published: 2010-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional I did enjoy Economics while in college and this course was exceptional. Well organized and starts with a sound explanation of the basics. Builds effectively to involve more complex topics. Eerily timely topics occur frequently (housing bubbles, federal deficits,monetary policy,world trade, currency manipulations) I whole heartedly recommend this course to anyone who wishes to make sense of current economic affairs. Professor Taylor gets an A+
Date published: 2010-11-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Satisfactory The course content was enough to cover the basis for non-economists to understand day-to-day economics. I would have prefered more advanced content, but this was satisfactory too. Instructor is very good. Presentation and speaking tone is very engaging. I really liked the real life examples that the instructor used frequently. I really enjoyed a course which could have been quite boring if taught badly.
Date published: 2010-10-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Supreb presentation! I couldn't agree more with the many positive reviews here. Professor Taylor's course is outstanding for many reasons--I'll focus on two. First, Professor Taylor imbues his lectures with a vibrant energy that kept me hanging on every word. During the course of a 36 lecture course, you'd expect to mentally drift away at least a few times, but Professor Taylor (who's voice sounds a bit like Ron Howard's brother Clint) easily kept my attention the whole way. When a CD reached the end, I had the next CD at the ready. Second, Professor Taylor's lectures abound in real world examples that illuminate the concept he's teaching and allow you to check your understanding. To me, the myriad examples and practical illustrations allowed me to internalize the economic principles at the heart of each topic. Moreover, they made the lectures (on economics, mind you!) interesting, practical and valuable outside of the classroom. I highly recommend this course to anyone who's looking for an introduction to, or review of, economics. And while I can't yet recommend Professor Taylor's other course, I know I'll be taking them soon.
Date published: 2010-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very well presented Tim Taylor is an outstanding lecturer, and he makes what could be very dry material come alive. This is a great introduction to the study of economics.
Date published: 2010-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Economics demystified I have studied economics many years ago and wanted to have a fresh perspective. This course exceeded my expectations. The course is very well organized, delivered by a passionate economist. I particularly enjoyed the lecture on fiscal policy and budget deficit and the lectures on international economics. A course like this could do so much to raise the political debate. My only regret was that this course was made in 2005. I am looking forward to listening to Professor Taylor's insights in the economic challenges faced by the US since 2008.
Date published: 2010-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Engaging, Informative & current I've bought and listened to every econ course by Prof. Taylor offered, and will continue to do so! This one has something informative and valuable no matter how little or much prior economics you've taken. From how wages and interest rates send a price signal to the labor and capital markets, to explaining clearly how trade deficits and fixed exchange rates can create fiscal imbalance in national economies. Prepared in 2008, this course is also recent enough to make sense of the global financial crisis that was already in its early stages at the time. Most of all, Timothy Taylor is simply enjoyable to listen to, which is extremely important when plowing through 18 hours of recordings. His style is brisk, lively, warm and lightly humorous. Great course!!!
Date published: 2010-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Changed my view of Economics I never paid much attention to economists; I somehow got through college without taking a course in it and my exposure to them generally consists of news article sound bites. Nothing impressive in those, so I didn't have a high opinion of the discipline. Timothy Taylor does a great job of earning respect for a field that's too often paraded around by pundits pushing an agenda. I was actually very impressed by the apparent honesty of the discipline, which probably speaks tomes about the way economists are presented to the general population. Taylor speaks about things like price floors/ceilings and subsidies, then says it's just a sneaky way of giving people money, which economists frown on. Better to just tax someone or give them money, then the transaction is on the books (which is probably why politicians don't use this tactic). This is a refreshingly honest outlook. Overall he goes through a wealth of topics we all hear about weekly but probably don't think too deeply about, then deconstructs them. He starts with the definition (I love that), then the pros and cons, and looks at specific cases of where this happened. Very insightful course, I highly recommend it.
Date published: 2010-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Mission accomplished Professor Taylor's lecture style, clear explanations, subtle humor and support of free markets gave me a new knowledge base. This was my first formal economics course and I am grateful to Timothy Taylor for making it a great experience!
Date published: 2010-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great intro I have no background in Economics, and was hoping this course would fix that lack. It definitely did. As a course that covers so much, don't expect to be an expert in any area, but at least you can speak intelligently in all areas. I've come to realize how important economics issues are in today's world, how often they are a part of every day life, and yet how little people really understand anything about it. This course combined w/Modern Economics Issues gives one a solid foundation in economic thought and ideas.
Date published: 2010-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just great I have always avoided the subject of economics because it always sounded boring to me. Not sure why; I like math. I took a winter semester (aka. blow-off) econ 101 course in college in which I engaged myself as little as possible in order to eek out an easy A. This course changed all that. I signed up for the course because I wanted to at least be able to stand on firm ground when discussions related to the economy came up and in the past brushed right over my head. In addition to easily fulfilling that goal, I surprisingly found myself extremely interested in the subject. I credit Professor Taylor with not only conveying the material in an understandable way, but also for sharing his enthusiasm for the subject. The lectures go into the perfect amount of detail: deep enough to thoroughly examine each subject (ok, as deep as one can go in 30 mins) yet still easily understandable without much prior knowledge. I appreciate that the professor does not treat listeners like idiots, as is often the case in introductory courses (though I have been consistently impressed by The Teaching Company's record in this area). I'm excited to see that Professor Taylor instructs another Teaching Company course that I'll download as soon as it goes "on sale" (eg. the price that normal people can feasibly pay). Until then, I'll keep regretting not taking advantage of my university's wealth of econ courses when I had the chance.
Date published: 2010-04-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Valuable Foundation Course This is a solid and comprehensive introductory course on economics. Professor Taylor gives informative and comprehendable lectures; he makes complex and intimidating subject matter accessible and user friendly. I believe you can take more useful information from this course than you would from a basic undergraduate course on the subject. Had I purchased the DVD version I likely would have given it 5 stars. Visuals would have been helpful - without them, particularly while driving, I easily lost my way and found myself having to repeat numerous tracks. Still, if you want to buy the audio, I wouldn't discourage it. This is a valuable foundation course for other more specialized economic courses, well organized and enjoyable. I would take other courses by this professor.
Date published: 2010-03-30
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