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- [Professor Tyler Cowen] I love economics. I began studying economics when I was 13 and I
haven't stopped yet. Economics really has changed my life and the whole way I see
the world. What's so powerful about the discipline is just how much it shapes how
you understand everything around you.
- [Professor Alex Tabarrok] But perhaps you're asking, what's my incentive to learn
economics? Well, that's a great question. You've already hit on a key economic
insight, incentives. For example, why is the service at a local restaurant
typically so much better than from the cable company?
- Or why do laws which supposedly protect endangered species,
sometimes end up with more of those animals being killed?
- Or why do big toy companies sometimes advocate for
regulations which raise their costs? Incentives are the key.
- Another example might help us explain. Way back in 1787, the British
government hired sea captains to ship convicted felons to Australia.
The conditions on those ships were just awful. On one voyage, more than one-third of the
men died and the rest arrived beaten, starved and sick. The public was outraged,
newspapers called for better conditions, the clergy appealed to the captain's sense
of humanity, and British Parliament passed regulations requiring better treatment of
these prisoners. Unfortunately, those attempted solutions simply didn't work.
The death rate remained shockingly high.
- So Tyler, as a good economist. How would you solve this problem?
- Well, there was one economist at the time who came up with a
novel solution. It was implemented and it basically worked. Instead of paying the
captains for each prisoner who embarked to Australia, the government would pay the
captains only for the prisoners who arrived alive. Overnight, the incentives
of the sea captains changed. The survival rate of the prisoners shot up to 99%.
As one observer put it, economy beat sentiment and benevolence.
- So what's your incentive to learn economics? People hear that I'm
an economist and they ask me about managing their money. And economics does
have some lessons for investing in the stock market, but economics is much
broader than that. It's the study of human action, how people make choices and how
they should make choices under scarcity. Economics will help you with your choices,
whether picking a career, parenting a child, or deciding how much education is a
truly worthwhile investment. Overall, economics will give you a deeper
understanding of the key issues of our time.
- Economics can be hard. Retraining your brain to look at the world
in a different way isn't always easy.
- But the reward is a new set of eyes to see the world.
So are you ready to begin?
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經濟學介紹 (Introduction to Economics)

845 分類 收藏
kstmasa 發佈於 2018 年 3 月 31 日
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