Countering Socialism With Economic Literacy and Historical Fact

Patrick Tyrrell
By Patrick Tyrrell | March 16, 2016 | 3:42 PM EDT

A statue of George Mason stands in the heart of George Mason University's Fairfax campus in Fairfax, Va., Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Economics is one field of study that, for the most part, has not been driven off the railroad tracks by politically correct leftists steering college coursework toward progressive ends. The wasted time spent breeding resentment toward America and teaching students how to feel offended has yet to seep into most economics curricula.

Perhaps preventing that from happening is what motivates the founders of a new online university, Marginal Revolution University (MRU) to provide economics courses in easy to understand video formats online and for free.

Economic literacy is important because socialist ideas can sound plausible to people without basic knowledge of economics. To them, a centralized system of resource planning may sound preferable to markets where individuals are free to participate in commercial transactions of their choice. History teaches otherwise. Centralized command economies, such as Maoist China, have wrought destruction in all nations that have tried them.

The free online university currently has 13 courses, and over 96 hours of videos broken into 3- to 15-minute lessons.

Good places to start are Principles of Economics: Microeconomics, and Principles of Economics: Macroeconomics, taught by George Mason University professors Tyler Cowen, and Alex Tabarrok. I recommend Tax Revenue and Deadweight Loss taught by Tabarrok, and Moral Hazard by Cowen.

Because of MRU, economic literacy can be an achievable goal for many who did not take economics in college—or for those still in high school. It is important to be aware of economic truths underlying free market policies—the policies that have made America a free and vibrant society.

Ronald Reagan called America “The last best hope of man on earth.” A public educated in basic economics will go a long way toward keeping it that way.

Patrick Tyrrell is a research coordinator in The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis.

Editor's Note: This piece was originally published by The Daily Signal.

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