Every teacher of an introductory course in economics knows that his first problem is where to begin. Economics is not a subject with a natural starting point and logical development. You can begin almost anywhere, but wherever you do begin you cannot get far without wishing you had already dealt with something else to clarify the point you are making.

I have experimented with countless orderings but never managed to overcome the problem. The solution I have favoured has been to try to get students to skip quickly through their main text. 'Don't bother to master the details', I tell them, 'just get a feel for what the subject is all about and then go and start your serious study.' I do not know why I delude myself this is good advice. ...

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