This week we will release the first beta of our introductory course in economics. We are delighted that Camila Cea, a recent economics graduate from the University of Chile, has contributed the preface to the course ebook. In Chile Camila helped organise successful student protests to demand curriculum reform, and now she is an advisor to The CORE Project. This is what she wrote for us:
This ebook is the start of a journey—to change the way economics is taught. Students and teachers tell us this is long overdue. When the Financial Times in the UK wrote about CORE in November 2013, it sparked an online debate about teaching and learning economics that attracted 1,214 posts in 48 hours. Students in economics all over the word were asking, just as I had asked a few years previously: why has the subject of economics become detached from our experience of real life?
Nataly Grisales, like me an economics student from Latin America, recently wrote about learning economics on her blog: “Before I chose economics a professor mentioned that economics would give me a way to describe and predict human behaviour through mathematical tools. That possibility still seems fantastic to me. However after semesters of study I had many mathematical tools, but all the people I wanted to study had disappeared from the scene.”
Like Nataly, I remember asking myself if my economics classes would ever get around to addressing the questions that motivated me to take up economics in the first place.
And that’s why my colleagues in The CORE Project have created this ebook. It sets out to present The Economy the way the CORE tagline promises: « as if the last three decades had happened ».
It is a response to the new opportunities for teaching and learning economics by more than 20 academics and several partner institutions, most of them giving their time for free, and is designed as an introduction to economics for undergraduate students.
If you wonder if economics is for you, and you start learning using The Economy, I’m pretty sure that it won’t be your last class. It has made me believe again that studying economics can help you to understand the economic challenges of the real world, and prepare yourself to confront them.
Rather than trying to be « everything you ever wanted to know about economics », this ebook is a first step in understanding how we produce our livelihoods, how we interact with each other when we do this, and how we interact with nature. It’s great to see that the curriculum addresses questions of inequality, climate change and financial crises—the questions students come to economics with. The book doesn’t pretend to know all the answers, but neither does it pretend the problems don’t exist.
Our course is open-access, online and free. This is the beta version, so we want to hear what you think of the ebook. We want as many teachers and students as possible to be a part of the change in economics. Please join us.