More than half of all college students (in the US) take a basic economics course. A lot of them hate it. The course is full of graphs and charts. That would be bad enough, but what makes it worse is that the graphs in a typical Econ 101 textbook are about boring stuff — whether a farmer should grow beans or peas, whether a student should eat pizza or burritos for lu…
This is somewhat off the topic of Basic Income (but Medium’s algorithms will probably count it as an ‘engagement’ anyway), but it is on the topic of Econ101, which you mention. I’ve written some Introduction to Economics stuff and so have you — so perhaps this might interest you.
The problem I find we have here in the UK (and maybe things are different in the US?), is that introductory Economics courses (in schools and colleges) make such a big effort to ‘engage’ students by talking about supposedly exciting, complicated, real-world, contemporary issues, that they tend to skip over the work that needs to be done for students to really, truly, deeply understand the most fundamental concepts at the heart of the subject.
MMy preference when teaching new students (in person) is to focus on concepts, concepts, concepts and really simple examples involving a small, primitive community on a remote island. I’ve never really had any problems with students not finding this approach sufficiently ‘engaging.’ Maybe my magnetic personality helps! :)
If you encourage people to dive into complicated real-world issues, before they’ve paid their dues studying the real basics, you may get ‘engagement,’ but at what cost? The cost can be that students try to run before they can walk, are left with major holes in their understanding and end up as bullshiters.
Econ101 stuff can indeed help us to understand complex economic policies and situations. But diving into complex economic policies and situations may be a terrible way of conducting an Econ101 course.