Can economics tell us anything?

Ref: C2419217

Economics rules our lives. Many changes in British society reflect changes in economic thinking. In the name of economics we have had 10 years of austerity. Economics tells us if Government debt – or our own – is too high; or industries supported; or the pension age raised. Yet most of us don’t understand economics. In a Yougov poll last year, only 12% thought politicians and commentators discussed economics in an understandable way. What price democracy if big decisions are taken for reasons that few people understand? Are economists really neutral experts? And are they any good? Few of them foresaw the 2008 financial crash or the Brexit bounce. So what’s gone wrong? What can economics still tell us? How can we make sense of what economists say? And can we have an economics that helps us as citizens to make the big choices, instead of making them for us?

Course aim

Economics rules our lives. In its name Britain has had 10 years of austerity & the slowest wage growth for 200 years. But few economists saw the 2008 crash coming, or the Brexit bounce. What's gone wrong and what can we still learn from economics?

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • You will understand more when politicians and commentators talk about economics.
  • You will spot when they are making hidden assumptions or choices on your behalf.
  • You will learn that there is more than one answer to many economic questions - and economists often disagree.
  • You will feel more confident in talking, and making choices, about the big political decisions fgacing Britain.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • All materials will be provided

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • Become involved as a volunteer for a WEA partner or another organisation

Download full Course information sheet

Can economics tell us anything?


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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