Jan 4, 2013

Comics in the Classroom: The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume Two: Macroeconomics

Welcome to another edition of Comics in the Classroom! Click here for the archive.

Today I want to spotlight The Cartoon Introduction to Economics, Volume Two: Macroeconomics by Grady Klein and Yoram Bauman, Ph.D.

Despite being an economics major (I co-wrote this for fun), I'm much better with microeconomics (the study of individuals and firms) than I am with macroeconomics (the study of the economy as a whole). I never really quite understood why, but it sure is awkward when I tell people I'm an economics major and then they ask me about things like wages, the inflation, and unemployment, since I struggle to explain such things.

Enter The Cartoon Introduction to Economics. In 240 pages, Klein and Boram take the basics of macroeconomics, from unemployment to the role of government, and explain it to the readers in a fun, entertaining, and digestible manner. They make all sorts of jokes that make the ideas easier to understand, such as likening fiscal policy to feeding a child. One of their running jokes is a lighthearted mocking of the Nobel Prize.

Think about it: how much of how the economy works do you really know (if you're a macroeconomist, please don't answer that question)? Do you understand the need for unemployment, or why you can't have zero percent unemployment? Do you understand how much impact the government actually has on the economy, and how much of it is actually just damage control? Do you know that economics isn't an exact science?

Shouldn't this be the kind of things we know, and so, shouldn't this be taught in such a way as to make people want to read it?

As with my most comics I will feature in Comics in the Classroom, I'm not suggesting that The Cartoon Introduction to Macroeconomics should be used as a primary textbook, but it would be great supplementary material and useful for students who are struggling with the main textbook. A student having trouble grasping GDP can easily turn to this comic's chapter on it for more clarification. A student not understanding the connection between inflation and unemployment can glean more insight from reading this. It's a handy book to have around, and for that, I think it should be in the classroom.

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