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Reading Economics

Paul Krugman

Lesson time 12:58 min

Paul teaches you how to read and interpret developing economic issues in order to stay informed. Learn his personal tools and techniques for spotting critical, accurate information in breaking news.

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.


There's an awful lot of nonsense in economics. Some of it's said with great passion and authority because economics, there-- people have stakes in it and people have prejudices. Stuff-- there's lots of stuff that people want to believe or the people who have money and power want you to believe. And being able to winnow that, being able to get through and say, OK. That-- that's not a real argument, or, those facts are not true. This is something that sounds serious. Learning how to sort through and figure out what-- what parts are fake and what parts aren't is probably the most important thing. [MUSIC PLAYING] So I start my day. I read a couple of standard, you know, mainstream sources. I start-- start with the-- with the "New York Times." I'd have to say that even that wasn't true, but it is, in fact, true. I love "The Washington Post." I will look-- I often just look at-- actually at Bloomberg just to see more businessy slant on what's happening. I'm a big fan of Vox, which is a--, which is a sort of analytically-oriented news reporting and has quite a lot of good stuff there. I do do Twitter. I tweet myself, although I never ever look at the responses. And I have about 30 people I follow. Then just hyperlink hop, right? You find something that is helpful, but will often lead you to something else, which will lead you to something else. But put in a 45 minutes or an hour, and that doesn't sound like much to me, because that's what my life is built around. But you spend-- or even half an hour just skimming these things every morning, and you're going to have a-- a pretty good sense of what are the issues that are-- that are bubbling up at the moment. [MUSIC PLAYING] A couple of things are good guides to whether you're at least seeing a serious argument. And one is just to ask, is there an argument, or is it just assertions? So I've had a couple of times where, you know some, op-ed's been published, and people will send me-- to me and say, what-- what do you think of this argument? And I'll say, I don't see any argument here. I just see a bunch of assertions. I don't see that there's any logical chain of thought or any evidence. It's just, this is bad. We must not do this. And if we do this, everything will be great. And so, you know, ask-- ask yourself, leaving aside the question of style of forcefulness, where is the argument? How-- what-- what is the basis for this person's assertions? Then if it is, an actual argument you want to think a little bit, does it-- does it hang together? And that-- that could be hard. But you might want to just ask internally, does it actually seem to make sense? By and large, bad ideas that prevail are-- are simple. They're-- they're easier to-- to grasp, easier to state than-- than the good ideas. I think Mencken said something about for any-- any complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, clear, and wrong. There's always someone who has this, here's-- ...

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 was an amazing class. Very informative, clear, exhaustive, challenging, inspiring. Paul is brilliant, he's ignited my willingness to take part

Great overview of economics and economic theory in an easily digestible manner for novices. This was enjoyable to watch.

I am a layperson, an engineer. I plan take on study for a masters or phd, and I am considering economics.

Excellent - will follow Mr Krugman on twitter now. Thank you!


Wei Seng H.

There are many things happen in economy. Not to see one factor, get the whole picture before take reference

A fellow student

It's right that Krugman mentions Larry Kudlow's devotion to disproved tax-cutting growth plans. I know there are many others, but Kudlow is a place of power and influence now. However, the real problem seems to the press allowing Kudlow and other to push these lies and never challenging him. As such, the lies go on.

A fellow student

People moving south because we have access to air conditioners now? lol. That's just trying too hard. It's crazy how political bias can blind even intelligent people to such a degree that they would think people move south for warmer winters over the idea that they might, just might, have moved down south for lower taxes and lower costs of starting businesses. Which in turn creates more jobs, which then incentivizes people even more to move south.

A fellow student

Excellent! Not just telling us to be critical, but great tips on doing just that.

Graeme R.

Such great advice! Economics seems to have some great minds, who are wrong sometimes, and some charlatans who use their easily purchasable influence to support the highest bidder.


Read both sides of every story, what the Dems say, what the Reps say n think 4 yourself. Another way is 2 not to worry about reading/watching news at all, n focus on ur business/community so news r written about what u do


Krugman has shifty eyes when he speaks. This is more of a political agenda series than a good economics course.

charles S.

'By and large, bad ideas that prevail ... are simple' 'For any complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, clear and wrong'. Brilliant!

Robert G.

I agree. Everybody is wrong sometimes. I also believe great ideas can come from anywhere.

Robert G.

Facts are important. History. Compare what works well and benefits the economy SafeNet.