The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.I took my first econ class senior year of high school--it wasn't love at first sight. All the charts looked the same and its conservative veneer was off-putting. More importantly, it was boring. I already knew all this stuff: when more people wanted to buy stuff the price goes up; you can charge more if you are the only person selling something; loans come from banks, et cetera et cetera. It was all common sense.
~John Maynard Keynes
I missed the point. Economics isn't common sense, it's advanced common sense.* It takes all those things you think you know about society and money and your work and buying and selling and says "do you?" "Are you sure?" "But why?" "And how, exactly?"
Like other social sciences, economics is the attempt to make some sense out of an incredibly complex system: everything people do and why they do them. Progress in this area is not linear. It's intimately linked to political opinions and webs of belief held as faith. But it's only through the attempt to understand these systems that we have a chance of creating our own destiny.
* Advanced Common Sense was the original name for this blog, until it was not.