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Paul Krugman

Lesson time 03:52 min

Meet your new instructor: Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman. Paul will cover many of the issues you see in the headlines everyday—and provide tools to help you make sense of it all.

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.


We live in strange times. I first got into economics back around the early 1970s. We were having the first oil crisis and the first major outbreak of inflation. I remember thinking, boy, things are crazy now. They're never gonna be this crazy again. And actually, they just kept on getting crazier. [INTERPOSING VOICES] - We're tracking markets now trading at lows that we haven't seen for years. - Protesters camped out near Wall Street, demonstrating against what they call corporate greed. - President Obama today declared his signature healthcare program, widely known as Obamacare, is here to stay. - Donald Trump's long threatened tariffs against China went into effect. - Finds us more divided than ever. - No no, hold on a second. Let me-- [INTERPOSING VOICES] PAUL KRUGMAN (VOICEOVER): There's an awful lot of nonsense in economics. Some of it's said with great passion and authority. But learning how to sort through and figure out what parts are fake and what parts aren't is the most important thing. We are at a time when fake news has itself become fake news. So it's never been more important to educate yourself, because the kind of understanding that's going to get us through all of this is going to have to come from you. You have to figure this out for yourself and maybe someone like me can provide a little bit of guidance. I'm Paul Krugman. And this is my MasterClass. What you're going to learn here is how to think like an economist, what it means to not just parrot some slogans or-- or the market's up or the market's down, but actually how people who've taken this stuff seriously, who work at it, who try to-- to get at the truth, how they actually approach it. I hope I can give you some sense of that and give you some tools, some-- some basic concepts, not gonna give you all of the stuff that's in a thousand-page economics textbook. You're not here for that. And you're-- you're here for what does-- what do you try to be an enlightened citizen of the world need to know? What can you do as a way to make sense of the headlines in your paper or even just the things you see as you drive down the road? Some of you might end up becoming economists. Some of you will end up going into business, where you get to apply, maybe, some of what's here. But mostly, I think we all are better citizens, more satisfied people if we understand something about the world we live in. And it's-- economics is just such a big part. I'd like you to come out as a-- as a-- a critical thinker, someone who's informed enough to be able to make decisions about what is-- what really is-- is worth listening to. And maybe it'll even help you make a few life decisions. Although, you know, a self-help guide, I'm not. But if you've made it through to-- to this point, thank you. You've-- you've fulfilled what is really my biggest wish in life, which is to have other people care.

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.

My expectations were over-realized in this course presenting a difficult topic in difficult times admitting personal bias without apology. Totally honest economic portrait of our world and society and how we may individually try to interpret it. His presentation manner was clear and sincere. Great course.

I have learned a lot about the health care settings in USA. The effects of globalization in the world economy. The present economics condition between the developed and developing countries. Lastly, the current trade war between USA and China. Thank You.

Great insight on how to look at fiscal/monetary policy.

Wonderful. Provides very thought provoking topics.


dara A.

This is great, but MasterClass needs a course on Individual Finances. Spending/Saving; Credit/Debt; Investing, etc.

A fellow student

The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.” -Joan Robinson

Jorge V.

A great crash course in economics. Paul simplifies it enough to understand the content. And that's without having to read thousands of historical books, research articles, graphs, and the list goes on. I now have a good idea of who to study and where to find the information. It's hard not to hear about politics when studying economics. You'll find that nearly all economists have a certain political belief system that centers their research. Look beyond that and focus on the fundamentals being taught.


In watching the introduction I am reminded of a certain philosophy: If you are denied the right to be greedy, you have also been denied the right to be generous.


Very interesting. I really liked The China Chapter. Easily understandeable. But I would like to add the economics is not just about people. Situations like Australia´s bushfires embrace the need to add the welfare of our animals and living creatures on earth

A fellow student

This is interesting but somewhat confusing. If most people do not think like economists, and the point is to understand how people behave -- after all he does say in the intro economics is about people rather than money -- I don't understand how thinking like an economist can help us understand human behaviour. Or perhaps the real goal of economics is try to convince people think like economists wish they should think.

Mike K.

He seemed unsure of how to explain the end-goal of this masterclass, seemingly understanding that it was too little information to be truly applicable. The end hope is that it would make people care more? This could be a cleaner message, maybe talking more about how this is a framework for processing and understanding systems that shape the world, ... a methodology. Anyway, it was a little muddled as an intro, for me at least.

A fellow student

the theory of economics does not furnish a body of settled conclusions immediately applicable to policy. It is a method rather than a doctrine, an apparatus of the mind , a technique of thinking which helps its possessor to draw correct conclusions. Keynes Says it all The intro sets us off well - it deals with how to think about making choices and gives techniques of thinking: Sunk Costs, Opportunity Costs.

A fellow student

An interesting introduction. Makes you want to finish the course. One minor comment. The assumption that there is such a thing as a "Citizen of the world", is not only presumptuous, but also utopian. I have lived in 9 cities, in 7 Countries, and never found one real "Citizen of the world"...

Kenneth F.

This is an excellent, inviting introduction to the course. The reasons why I want to take this course are the same ones that Dr. Krugman identified.