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  • Mr. Clifford: Hi, I'm Jacob Clifford and I'm the host of Crash Course economics. Stan!

  • Adriene: Hi, I'm Adriene Hill and I'm the host of Crash Course economics. Stan!

  • Stan: You're a team! You're co-hosts.

  • Adriene: All right, awesome.

  • Mr. Clifford: Yeah, whooo!

  • Adriene: Well anyways, we're making our Crash Course Economics series at the YouTube space

  • in lovely Los Angeles California because Mr. Clifford and I are both from Southern California.

  • Mr. Clifford: Yeah.

  • Statler: Who are these no-names!?

  • Waldorf: Where are the Green brothers? If there aren't any Greens, I'm unsubscribing.

  • Statler: Wh-- how can you unsubscribe? What is this, some kind of a moving newspaper?

  • Mr. Clifford: Did we just get heckled by the muppets?

  • Adriene: It sounds like it.

  • Kermit: Hey guys, hey guys listen, don't feel bad about not being green, OK?

  • Adriene: It's Kermit!

  • Mr. Clifford: That's crazy!

  • Kermit: Hi guys, uh listen, being green is great and everything but being Adriene and

  • Mr. Clifford well, that's great, too! In fact, you know guys, it's not easy being green.

  • I think I could sing a song about that.

  • Adriene: Can I sing with you?

  • Kermit: Oh course, yeah.

  • Adriene: This is a dream. This is a dream.

  • Mr. Clifford: No, no, no, we can't afford the licensing agreement for that song guys,

  • economics. Sorry.

  • Kermit: Oh. Oh. Well, in that case, why don't you guys just introduce yourselves?

  • Mr. Clifford: OK. I'm Mr. Clifford, and I'm a high school economics teacher and YouTuber,

  • and I'm going to focus on teaching you the theories and graphs of economics. You know,

  • the textbook stuff.

  • Adriene: And I'm Adriene Hill; I'm a senior reporter for the public radio show Marketplace,

  • and I'm gonna focus on showing you the real world applications of economics. You know,

  • the good stuff. The really fun stuff.

  • Mr. Clifford: Hey! We're both fun! We're definitely not gonna teach economics like this:

  • Prof. Bunsen Honeydew: Welcome to CrashCourse Economics (Beaker yawns) I am thrilled to

  • be teaching you this fascinating subject. (Beaker moans)

  • Mr. Clifford: I'm sorry Professor Honeydew, but that's why people hate economics in high

  • school and college.

  • Adriene: Anyway, Statler and Waldorf have a point, the most important question in economics

  • is "Where's John Green?" I mean everyone knows he won a bronze medal in economics at the

  • Alabama State Academic Decathlon. Well, John Green isn't hosting because economics. We'll

  • explain later.

  • [Intro]

  • Mr. Clifford: So let's start with the basics. What is economics? Well it might be easier

  • to term it what economics isn't. Economics is not the study of money or getting rich,

  • although understanding economics can help with that. Economics is not the study of the

  • stock market. It's just not. And economics is not primarily about men in bow-ties forecasting

  • what will happen in a given market or the overall economy. Actually, a few economists

  • do that, but that's not the main focus of economics.

  • Economics is the study of people and choices. The famous economist Alfred Marsh defined

  • economics as "A study of man (Adriene: And woman!) in the ordinary business of life.

  • It inquires how he gets his income and how he uses it. Thus, it is on the one side the

  • study of wealth and on the other and more important side a study of man (Adriene: And

  • woman)."

  • Adriene: So let's talk a minute about what else econ is. Economics is an 18 year old

  • deciding whether to work or go to college and how that affects her future income. Economics

  • is a company deciding whether to produce smartphones or tablets and how that's influenced by what

  • we consumers want to buy. Economics is the government deciding whether to increase its

  • spending when it's a recession and if it's worth going into debt.

  • So despite what you might think, economics is not boring and dull. OK, some of it is,

  • but it's not all like that I promise! It's awesome. Understanding econ can forever change

  • the way you think and problem-solve. Our job over the next 40 weeks is to teach you concepts

  • that will help you understand the world, and hopefully make it a better place.

  • No matter who you are, you will be using economics. In fact, pewww! You are using econ right now,

  • you made a choice to watch this video, that means you must feel that the benefit outweighs

  • the cost. You might be thinking "This is YouTube, there's no cost," but sure there is. You could

  • be watching videos of kittens or skaters falling on their face or charlie biting fingers. Ow!

  • The cost of watching this video is the video you're not watching, the value of the next

  • best alternative.

  • Economists call this your opportunity cost. If you're still watching this video it means

  • that you believe it's the best use of your time, or you wouldn't be watching it. "But

  • what if I'm watching this at school?" you ask, "What if I'm forced to watch this?" Well,

  • you weren't forced to go to school, you could ditch, you could drop out, you could move

  • to a country that doesn't have compulsory education. But the cost would outweigh the

  • benefit. Even if you are at school, you're not forced to watch the video, you could close

  • your eyes or put your head down. No one's gonna pry your eyes open, that'd be creepy!

  • Now let's talk about why John Green isn't here teaching this course. John is an entrepreneur,

  • he writes books, runs DFTBA, Vlogbrothers, and Mental_Floss and creates movies, but he

  • can't do everything he wants to do. He looked at the benefits and costs of his choices,

  • and in the end decided to spend more time writing books, so Mr. Clifford and I are jumping

  • in to teach you economics.

  • Mr. Clifford: And believe it or not, we just covered the two most important assumptions

  • in all of economics. First, the idea of scarcity. People have unlimited wants but limited resources,

  • and second, everything and I mean everything has a cost. And if these assumptions are true,

  • then we need a way to analyze our choices and get the most from our limited resources.

  • And that's economics.

  • Adriene: Wait, but let's go back to the idea of benefits and costs. About 30,000 people

  • a year die in car accidents in the US. Is there a way to ensure there will never be

  • another traffic fatality? Yes! We can crush all the cars, close all the roads, and force

  • everyone to walk. That would solve the car crash problem. Do you want to decrease the

  • number of people convicted of murder? You could decriminalize murder. You want to end

  • the unethical treatment of elephants? You could kill off all the elephants, in an ethical

  • way of course.

  • But before you decide to tenderly euthanize herds of beautiful elephants, think about

  • it for a second. Each of these solutions is absurd because the cost clearly outweighs

  • the benefit. Traffic fatalities are tragic, but we don't prevent them at all costs. You

  • know that driving has risks, that you might get in a car accident, but you still drive.

  • Why? Well first, who's gonna walk to the gym? And walking home with groceries in the rain

  • is way worse than the teeny-tiny chance of dying in a car crash. The point is, individuals,

  • businesses, and countries can't have everything, so they're forced to weigh the benefits and

  • costs of their decisions and make choices.

  • Let's look at another example. Military spending in the United States is over 600 billion dollars

  • per year, that's close to what the next top ten countries spend combined. There are a

  • total of about 20 active aircraft carriers in the world, and the US has half of them,

  • and it's building more. The opportunity cost of those aircraft carriers could be hospitals,

  • schools, and roads. So, is the US spending too much on the military? Should the US focus

  • on making guns or butter? That is, weapons or consumer goods?

  • Mr. Clifford: And notice the key word here is "or," we can't produce an infinite amount

  • of weapons AND consumer goods because we don't have an infinite amount of workers and farms

  • and factories and raw materials. Scarcity means we must make a choice. The American

  • president Dwight D. Eisenhower explained this best in 1953 in a speech about Cold War military

  • buildup.

  • "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final

  • sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

  • This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers,

  • the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children."

  • And this is a good time to mention the role of politics in economics; we're not pushing

  • some liberal anti-military policy here. We're just pointing out that military spending has

  • an opportunity cost: The resources not being used for social services like feeding the

  • hungry.

  • We're gonna try not to push a political agenda on you. We're gonna show you both sides and

  • let you decide which one's best. So please don't say "Mr. Clifford loves capitalism,

  • so he's just a pro-business conservative," or "Adriene's talking about environmental

  • regulations, so she's an anti-business liberal."

  • Yeah, we are pro-business and you are too. I mean, where do you think your computer came

  • from? That computer was brought to you by capitalism and the private sector. But that

  • being said, the security and laws, roads, and that traffic ticket you got the other

  • day came from the government.

  • Conservatives and liberals fight over the details, but the free market alone can't solve

  • all of our problems. And the government can't solve all of them either. Government officials

  • use economic theory to guide public policy; their effects are widespread and affect millions

  • of people. Sometimes a theory is flawed, but many times a policy is flawed. Economists

  • adjust theories supported by data and understanding of incentives. Having the right incentive

  • is key.

  • Adriene: But the right incentives can be hard to figure out. Take for example public colleges

  • and universities. Many of them used to get state money for each student they enrolled.

  • That meant universities had financial incentives to focus on recruiting as many students as

  • possible, but not actually helping them succeed once they were in class.

  • So states have started changing the incentives. Now, more and more states reward schools for

  • the number of students that complete courses or earn degrees. And in some places this has

  • worked; it's helped schools increase their graduation rates by shifting money from marketing

  • budgets to programs to help students do better, but those incentives can also backfire if

  • they're poorly designed.

  • A university that gets money for graduates could push students through the program without

  • giving them a good education. It might want to only admit students who come in with super

  • high test scores, instead of considering other factors that might make them good candidates.

  • It might push students into less-rigorous majors.

  • But incentives can help solve problems without adding more resources. You just have to get

  • the incentives right. Many non-economists assume that the way to improve things like

  • healthcare is to spend more money.

  • Economists would point out that the US already spends almost twice as much per person as

  • other rich countries, and in many cases they get worse health outcomes. Economists would

  • also say that rather than spending more money, we need to make sure that insurers, doctors,

  • hospitals, and patients have incentives to produce the most effective care possible at

  • the lowest cost possible. The point is, if you mess up the incentives, the policy's not

  • gonna work.

  • When Vietnam was under French colonial rule, the regime issued a bounty on rats to exterminate

  • them, giving money to people for handing in rat tails. I guess because piles off rat bodies

  • were too gross. The plan backfired. To make as much money as possible, the rat-catchers

  • cut the tails off the rats and released them, allowing them to make baby rats. The policy

  • actually increased the rat population. It made things worse. Eek!

  • We'll talk more about this idea of perverse incentives in another video, when we talk

  • about the 2008 financial crisis. Eek again. For now, let's go to the Thought Bubble.

  • Mr. Clifford: Speaking of 2008, people sometimes criticize economists asking "Why didn't they

  • predict the 2008 financial crisis?" or, "why can't they agree on what the government should

  • do or shouldn't do when there's a recession?" These criticisms fail to distinguish between

  • macroeconomics and microeconomics.

  • Specifically, all these complaints are about macroeconomics. Macro studies the economy

  • as a whole; it looks at the whole nation's output, unemployment, interest rates, government

  • spending, and growth. Macro answers questions like "Will unemployment rise if there's an

  • increase in taxes?" "Will and increase in the money supply boost output or just increase

  • inflation?" "Will a slump in European economies cause the US economy to slow down?"

  • Macroeconomists get more airtime because they predict the direction of the overall economy,

  • and work with the media and businesses and congress and the Federal Reserve, but less

  • than half of all economists are macro economists; there's a whole other side of economics that

  • look at different questions. "How many workers should we hire to maximize profit?" "If our

  • main competitor releases their product in May, when is the best time to release our

  • product?" and "which is better for fighting climate change, a gas tax, or increase in

  • fuel efficiency?" These are all microeconomic questions. They're not about predicting GDP,

  • or measuring unemployment, but they are crucial questions that economists must answer. Also,

  • if you don't know what GDP is or what a high or low unemployment rate is don't worry, we'll

  • get there.

  • So macro and micro-economists are two different groups asking different questions under one

  • academic umbrella. If economics was biology, macroeconomics would be ecology while microeconomics

  • would be cell biology. If economics was physics, macro would be cosmology and relativity while

  • microeconomics would be Newtonian mechanics.

  • Thanks Thought Bubble! Stan, I've always wanted to say that. Now I can cross it off my bucket

  • list. Now I have "ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange," "arm wrestle

  • Ben Bernanke," and "swim in a giant pool of money like Uncle Scrooge."

  • Adriene: Obviously we're glossing over the details, but we promise to cover everything

  • in the next 40 weeks from supply and demand to monetary policy, we'll cover it all. Except

  • for maybe the giant pools of money. We can't promise you that learning economics will make

  • you wealthy, but we can promise that learning economics will enlighten your mind and make

  • you a more informed decision maker. And that makes us all better off. Thanks so much for

  • joining us. We'll see you next week.

  • Mr. Clifford: Thanks for watching Crash Course Economics. It was made with the help of all

  • of these nice people. They work on the show because there's financial and implicit benefits

  • that cover their opportunity costs. Now, if you want to help them with those financial

  • benefits, consider going over to Patreon. It's a voluntary subscription platform that

  • allows you to pay whatever you want monthly to help make Crash Course free for everyone,

  • forever. Thanks for watching. DFTBA.

Mr. Clifford: Hi, I'm Jacob Clifford and I'm the host of Crash Course economics. Stan!

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経済学入門。クラッシュコースEcon #1 (Intro to Economics: Crash Course Econ #1)

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