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Paul Krugman

Lesson time 03:15 min

Paul ends his class with parting advice for aspiring activists and policy makers, or those who wish to become more informed citizens: remember to stay aware, to read, to listen, and to remain an active participant in society.

Paul Krugman
Teaches Economics and Society
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman teaches you the economic theories that drive history, policy, and help explain the world around you.


I don't know what age you are watching this. If you're a young person, you might feel like the world looks awful. What can be better? If you're an old person, you may think, I remember when things were better. You know, there are a lot of-- there are a lot of reasons to feel bad about the way we are. But you also see plenty of cases in economics where hard thinking has paid off, where understanding has led to better stuff. We could have had another Great Depression. The fact that we didn't had a lot to do with the fact that people in some crucial positions had learned something about economics. I think the most important thing-- well, the first thing you should do anyway is stay aware, read, listen. When something puzzles you, when you hear about some story that involves economics and you say to yourself, I don't quite get what's going on here, instead of saying, it's a complicated world, I don't get it, that you will instead say, all right, let me try to figure this out. Let me see what else I need to read. Let me see if I can interpret this. Let me make sense of this. And then well, be a citizen. What I hope you've taken from this course is not a lot of facts-- although I hope some of the facts did stick with you-- and certainly not a lot of slogans, but a way of thinking, a way of looking at this big piece of our society that is about making a living, making choices, making policy choices. You can write letters to your congressperson. You can-- and certainly vote. If it's an issue you care about, you can be more activist. We need that. We're-- at least for the moment, we're still a democracy, and the most important thing to sustain that is for people to act on their-- act on their understanding. And that means that they have to try to understand in the first place. There's no guarantee that good ideas prevail. But if you don't have good ideas, if you don't try to have those good ideas, if you don't try to understand them, push them forward, get them out there, then of course they won't prevail. So keep on plugging. Don't let-- don't let the crazies grind you down. [MUSIC PLAYING] Well, this is goodbye until we meet again on Twitter, in cyberspace, on the op-ed page or wherever ideas are exchanged.

Think like an economist

For Nobel Prize-winner Paul Krugman, economics is not a set of answers—it’s a way of understanding the world. In his economics MasterClass, Paul teaches you the principles that shape political and social issues, including access to health care, the tax debate, globalization, and political polarization. Heighten your ability to read between the lines and decipher the underlying economics at play.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

This class dispelled many of my personal myths and long held beliefs in austerity, trade deficits, and low minimum wage. Paul Krugman taught me to look at the actual evidence and to distinguish between assertions and substantive arguments. I also got a kick out of the little digs at Larry Kudlow, who has turned into a used car salesman for Donald Trump. I am a contrite and recovering Republican.

It showed me a different way of thinking about world events and how our country and other countries deal with these world events

I remembered so many things that I had learned in Freshman Year Economics!

It has helped me gain an oversight of some of the key economic theories and thinkers, as well as where to look for relevant and reliable data and statistics.


Carol E.

Thank you Mr. Krugman. I wish this clarity was delivered when I was struggling to learn from your textbooks early on. This was a great refresher and relevant to the issues that I am trying to navigate today.

A fellow student

Thank you for distilling down Economics into understandable, digestible, meaningful lessons. Agree with the comment regarding an update for 2020 regarding effect of the Covid19 Pandemic and what the future holds. Thank you.

carlos K.

Really refreshing, very insightful!! Hope Paul will have and updated masterclass with actual current events 2020.

Tatyana K.

Thank you for the great time in the class. I had a terrific experience, which will further my interest in economics. Paul is my favorite economist and columnist. Thank you, Paul!

A fellow student

Just a fantastic class. He takes some would-be complex issues and turns them into a what feels like an informative, authentic conversation. Easily accessible and without even a hint of conceit. Makes me wish I could share a few beers with Paul and soak up some more! Better get my black turtleneck and jacket ready first, though. Thank you!

Julio G.

The lesson was well worth my attention. As with other classes, it was helpful to listen to some lectures more than once. I've been reading Paul Krugman's articles for many years especially in the NYT and sometimes The New Yorker. This course was a long look at topics of keen interest to him, to me and of importance to the worlds as we know it. Paul is a knowledgeable lecturer and often quite enthusiastic. If there is one small suggestion I could make: slow down speaking about important facts when very enthusiastic about them. It was difficult to make out some of the words when this fine lecturer was so fired up about the topic. All in all, this class was a fine way for me to learn about economics in general. I feel more prepared to face economic issues of our time, especially as we are living thru this Covid-19 pandemic. And yes, stay safe!

Stephane C.

Loved every minute of it. Mr. Krugman adresses many issues and situations and helps us gain a different perspective. I always loved economics, but he managed to make it even cooler. A must for the questioning mind.

A fellow student

All of my Micro and Macro classes were condensed in this course. Would the University consider to replace this course with those two classes? I really enjoyed all of the examples and stories Professor Krugman shared during this course as well as his humor.

Joanna A.

Pure wisdom shared modestly and generously. This Masterclass is insightful for econ-dummies and refreshing for those who have some econ knowledge.

Joanna D.

I decided to take this course because Economics was my major in college and I wanted to see if I had truly learned something about it. I was blown away by how much I remembered and had learned about Economics while in college. But what was also interesting about PK's class was his way of seeing Economics. I mean he got a Nobel Prize for Economics and that obviously means that he knows what he's talking about. But more than economics concepts, what was interesting to me was how he saw how the Economy should work and how it should not. I didn't particularly like that he at times politicized his classes but then again, like he said, Economics is about people and is Politics so there is really no way to get around this. It still was interesting to listen to like he said a leftist center Democrat's point of view on Economics issues. I really liked the course and highly recommend it!!