Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve gone through the Economics 11: Principles of Economics course on saifedean.com. In this article, I’m going to review the class, what I think about it and who I think it’s good for.
The Austrian Method
One of the things that has always attracted me to Austrian economics is that everything is logically deducible and the arguments are very clearly laid out where other schools of economic thought hand wave to various conclusions.
That said, one of the frustrating things about reading Austrian economics books is that they do seem to spend a lot of time on technical objections that are confusing for a new student and lay things out in a way that require a lot of rigor. That is, they’re not exactly learning-friendly. It’s not easy, for example, to get through Menger or Mises or even Rothbard without feeling like there are entire parts that you missed.
Saifdean Ammous’s Approach
The strength of the offering that Saifedean has put together is that the course is very much focused on helping you learn. As he brings up, a lot of the books like Human Action or Principles of Economics are meant for academics and for people that are looking to build off of it. What I found refreshing about Saifedean’s course was that it was very much geared toward giving me the principles by which to think about various economics topics.
There is, for example, a whole lecture just about labor and the scarcity of human time. This is an obvious fact, but the deductions that we can make from that fact can help us understand phenomena like why predictions about certain natural resources running out have nearly always been wrong.
It’s a much more satisfying way to learn the material as it’s presented in a much more digestible way.
Passionate Stories and More
If you’ve been paying attention to Saifedean Ammous for a while, you are probably aware of the debates and talks he’s done. He’s a brutal assassin in these debates and his talks can be a bit controversial. You may think that his style may detract from the learning experience, but I found it to be the opposite. He has a clear passion for the subject that he’s teaching which were very easy for me to absorb.
At one point, he gives a very rational and thorough critique of minimum wage. The same argument could have been given in a stand-offish calculating manner, but his obvious disdain for how illogical minimum wage is and how unjust it is to the very people it purports to help comes through and aids in remembering the argument.
All this is to say that I really enjoyed the course. If there’s any criticism of it, I wish there was more interactivity and discussion around economic phenomena for practicing this newfound knowledge. That said, there are some forums to encourage student discussion which will hopefully build out over time. I’m definitely going to be buying more courses myself.
If you are looking to understand economics in a much clearer way and with a better deductive basis, this course is definitely for you. The course is an excellent way to learn the Austrian economics concepts and will help you understand Bitcoin as an economic phenomenon much better.