Whether or not you can delineate between the economic theories of Keynes and Hayek, knowledge of the way economic policy and free market capitalism operate is essential for success in the United States. And, as Ray Notgrass demonstrates, it's especially important for Christians to understand economic principles to know how best to steward what God has given them. If you think that's the realm of personal finance and can't have much to do with Economics (an admittedly frightening study for those unfamiliar with it), you need this course.
How Does This Work?
Of course, Exploring Economics is for high schoolers, but many adults could benefit from using it just as much as any freshman or sophomore. It's a one-semester course with 15 five-lesson units. This could easily be a student-directed course, though discussion of some concepts with a parent or teacher would be beneficial.
Students read a lesson and complete the assignment found at the end. Assignments include writing essays, doing research, or reading source essays in the Exploring Economics companion volume, The Stewardship of God's Riches; some lessons don't include assignments. If you're using the Quiz & Exam Pack, you'll have review questions at the end of each lesson, three exams, and answers for all exercises.
Both the Exploring Economics textbook and The Stewardship of God's Riches are fairly heavily illustrated in black and white, with photographs, charts and graphs (not too many), and drawings. As with all his textbooks, Notgrass maintains a conversational yet highly instructional tone throughout, so students aren't bored to tears or merely entertained.
A Christian, Notgrass understands that everything we have is given to us by God, and that it is our duty to take care of what He's entrusted to us and not to misuse or squander any of it. This above any other principle informs his attitude toward economics (though I'd guess he's a follower of von Mises and the Austrian economists).
Readers will learn everything from the price-fixing system, to government intervention, to budgets and deficits, to personal banking. He's not all rosy, either—this book was written during the financial crisis of 2008, and Notgrass is willing to show where Western capitalism has gone wrong, and to suggest solutions to those problems.
Our Honest Opinion:
If it's knowledge of the way our free market economy works that you're looking for, this is the perfect place to start. Difficult concepts are explained clearly and, when specialized terminology can't be avoided, words are defined precisely. Unlike many books on economics, this one isn't dull—the style is accessible, and though the subject might not be equally gripping for everyone, everyone will be able to understand the fundamental principles of a study which is too often unnecessarily abstruse and just plain boring.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.
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