December 9, 2016 Print

Economics in One Day, an online course created by the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), now has a free German-language version translated and adapted by Prometheus – Das Freiheitsinstitut (the Liberty Institute). The English version of the course has enjoyed widespread success, and Prometheus hopes to replicate that success in Germany while also developing its own curriculum to create an online academy that delivers a classical liberal approach to teaching economics.

“The way many German school books describe economic processes and the system of market economy is often highly biased,” said Clemens Schneider, Prometheus co-founder. “The market appears as a process that is often threatening to people’s well-being and is mostly harmful unless well-regulated and cushioned from all directions. Of course, this is very dangerous, especially since young people are confronted with this perspective over years. This threatens entrepreneurial spirit and favors the support of political intervention.”

FEE’s Economics in One Day includes both an online course and a group workshop. Through the inclusion of several economic lessons, such as those covered in Frédéric Bastiat’s “What Is Seen and What is Not Seen” and Leonard Reed’s “I, Pencil,” the course teaches students the importance of incentives, voluntary exchange, gains from trade, specialization, division of labor, spontaneous order, competition, rule of law, the destructive capacity of cronyism, and value creation. Several videos and articles complement the descriptions of these terms to further expound the virtue of each.

“The FEE course Economics in One Day offers an alternative perspective and does so in a very comprehensible and accessible way,” Schneider continued. “We translated and adapted the course into German in order to make it available to teachers and other persons working with young people. Already 9,000 schools, teachers, and students have been informed about this course.”

The Economics in One Day curriculum draws from a veritable all-star team of liberty, with articles by David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute; Russell Roberts, the John and Jean De Nault research fellow at the Hoover Institution; and Steven Horwitz, the Charles A. Dana professor and chair of the department of economics at St. Lawrence University.

“We sincerely hope that as many teachers as possible will make use of the course and by doing so provide their pupils with alternative perspectives,” Schneider continued. Especially since we are convinced that the best education you can give to young people is to present them with different ideas and challenge them to make their own choices based on the ability of thinking critically. Currently we are planning to add some more courses and establish the ‘Prometheus Academy,’ providing more material that gives a better understanding of free markets and the value of self-responsibility.”