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Crunch by Jared Bernstein

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Introduction: So What Is Economics, Anyway?

So a doctor tells this unfortunate woman that she has but six months to live. “Isn’t there anything I can do?” she pleads. “Marry an economist,” the doctor replies. “It won’t cure the illness, but it will make the six months seem like five years.”

We might as well start with the basics, and I promise this won’t take anywhere near six months.

I recently completed my toughest speaking gig of the year: I taught an economics lesson to my first-grader’s class. The goal was to teach them the fundamental concepts of needs versus wants, goods versus services, and scarcity. These distinctions are critical, because a good working definition of economics is the following:

The economy is the way we organize our ...

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