Business, Community & Government


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.

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Topics include: Closing


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.

About the Instructor

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.

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Paul Krugman

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

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