Hillsdale College: Economics 101

Reviewed by Bob D., Education Program Leader

Bob, an Education Program Leader with American Christian Tours (who has a library card at the Library of Congress!), is always looking for more opportunities to learn.  He recently took advantage of one of Hillsdale College’s free online classes.  Here is his review!    0660

The Hillsdale College online course Economics 101 consists of 10 lessons.  The first and last lessons are presented by Dr. Larry Arnn, President of Hillsdale College.  Lessons 2-9 are taught by Gary Wolfram, William E. Simon Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Hillsdale College.  All the lessons include a study guide, which summarizes each lesson, and a list of publications for more in-depth readings.  The lessons taught by Wolfram also include an overview and a quiz of 10 questions, which serves to reinforce the concepts taught for that particular lesson.  There is a test for the entire course following the last lesson.

The lesson topics are as follows:

  1. Free Market Economics and the American Founding
  2. How Markets Work
  3. Understanding Demand
  4. Supply and Equilibrium
  5. The Role of Profit
  6. Incentive and the “Information Problem”
  7. Keynesianism and Macro Economics
  8. Money Theory
  9. Case Study: The Great Recession of 2008
  10. Restoring Economic Liberty

Dr. Arnn states that the American Revolution started because property rights were being taken away by King George and the British government.  Mr. Wolfram includes terms and definitions in his presentations, along with graphs, generic and specific examples, and stories.  Both men are strong proponents of free markets with minimal government interference.  They affirm the idea that allowing individuals to have private ownership will lead to economic lliberty, which they assert is part of our inherent and natural rights, as given by God.

Each Economics 101 lesson builds on the previous one, culminating in a comparison between the Keynesian Economic Theory (government active in the markets) and the Austrian Model, set forth by Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek   The Austrian Business Cycle Theory declares that government is the cause of recession.  When the government interferes, matters are made worse, which leads to more laws that further muddle the markets, leading to more laws and regulations which leads to 0797more… much like a dog chasing its tail.

Dr. Arnn concludes that the way to solve “rich versus poor” is to have what the Founders of America wanted, which is to have private ownership under the right rules, market freedom, and reliable money; he cites Economic Theory of The American Revolution by Thomas G. West.

While I found this series interesting and informative, sometimes it tended to bog down.  The lessons led by Gary Wolfram have outlines making them easier to follow.  The list of further readings will be of definite help in gaining a better understanding of the subject matter.  The lessons did give me things to ponder, as I observe the economic situation the US, as well as the rest of the world


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