Wait, what IS economics anyways?
November 8, 2012 8:43 PM   Subscribe

I read this article and I'm fascinated by the effects of current events on how money moves through the world and how money seems to affect other money. I've found a new interest! But, I don't even know what it's called! How can I study this?

I love learning about connections, relationships, causes and effects. It's suddenly occuring to me that the world of finances is just bursting with those things. I really want to pursue this, but I don't even know what it is. Is it business? Finance? The stock market? Economics? Some other thing? None of those terms really mean anything to me other than an image of a guy in a nice suit. So what should I be investigating and learning about? If you could point me to some layperson-friendly, jargon-light, not-dry starter materials, that would be great too!
posted by windykites to Work & Money (8 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Economics. Start with khan academy.

You're probably going to need statistics and calc, also.
posted by empath at 8:57 PM on November 8, 2012

More specifically, this would be global macroeconomics. I recommend NPR's Planet Money podcast. They cover this sort of thing all the time in layman's terms.
posted by tau_ceti at 9:36 PM on November 8, 2012 [3 favorites]

I recommend the book, "Nature's Metropolis" by William Cronon. It's a history of the relationship between Chicago and the West (meaning middle America in modern terms), but it does an absolutely fantastic job talking about the how the futures markets formed for corn, pork bellies, and lumber from the very beginning.

It's an amazingly readable book and seeing how the pressures of the market created the financial markets from the very beginning really aids in understanding why the modern markets exist at all.

One of the best books I've ever read.
posted by bswinburn at 9:41 PM on November 8, 2012

I'd recommend reading Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle trilogy. You can get a good general introduction to alot of this stuff in an entertaining way - it's fiction but based around real historical events with famous historical characters. Some of the plot elements include the early days of the European stock markets, international trade/smuggling, and Isaac Newton's late interest in currency and coin minting.
posted by mannequito at 11:38 PM on November 8, 2012

I strongly recommend you read through some of the past posts by Metafilter economics guru Mutant for sources.
posted by Wilder at 2:53 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Marginal Revolution University only offers one free course so far (Development Economics) but it comes from the writers of the excellent economics blog Marginal Revolution. The idea of MR University is similar to Khan Academy in that videos are in small, easily digestible chunks.
posted by traco at 5:35 AM on November 9, 2012

Here is the episode of This American Life which talks about the the Giant Pool of Money. And here's another episode that talks about the same kind of issues but in the US Health Care system.
posted by CathyG at 8:16 AM on November 9, 2012

You can also check out Confidence Games, whose lines connect outside of economics to religion and art.
posted by taltalim at 8:25 AM on November 9, 2012

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