The Five Minute University

As economists and teachers, what do we want our lasting “economic footprint” to be? There is a wonderful old Saturday Night Live skit by Father Guido Sarducci called “The Five Minute University.” His premise is to teach in five minutes what an average college or university graduate remembers five years after graduating.

For economics, he states it’s the two words “supply and demand.” That’s it.

The serious question behind the skit, the one that motivates this book, is “What do we really want our students to remember of what we teach them in an introductory economics class?”

The vast, vast majority of students in introductory economics never take another economics course. Economics for Life is designed to help those students learn what they need to know to be economically literate citizens. If we can teach students the fundamentals of thinking like an economist, they will be equipped to make smarter choices in their lives as consumers, as businesspeople, and as citizens evaluating policies proposed by politicians.