Economics Outside the Classroom

By: Riley Peterson, Todd Tran, Aaron Shurberg, and Eugene Lee

Through the past week here at the Virginia Governor’s School, we have had the pleasure of learning from Dr. Mike Ellerbrock, a brilliant economist, who has illustrated the universality of economics. He first started off the class by explaining the diamond-water paradox and how the cost of something depends on the level of consumption. It is very important when comparing the cost of two items to look at the same unit of each item to do a fair comparison. Leading off of that, Dr. Ellerbrock basically explained to us that economics is basically a mesh between mathematics and psychology. Dr. Ellerbrock mentioned that economics is used everyday and that everyone should be educated in the ways of economics for their own benefit. Furthermore, Dr. Ellerbrock says it is important to not only look at the physical cost of doing something but also the hidden opportunity cost that is in each purchase. Like when you attend college, the cost is not only the tuition and room and board, but also the lost income you could have made if you got an entry level job. Economics education teaches kids about how to fix or analyze some of these issues so that they make better decisions for their future. Especially in the Old Dominion State, economic education is vitally important not only to economists, but to everyone. Take the FFA for example, Future Farmers of America, they are a school club that boasts members all across the commonwealth that prides itself on educating the future agriculture leaders of Virginia in smart and safe farm practices. This type of education is vital to not only earning a livelihood, but it is also important in helping bridge the wealth and education gap that exists between Northern and Southern Virginia. More clubs and organizations should be encouraged to do the same thing, teach kids how to get the most out of their work and how to be safe in doing so. Not only is this education vital for providing food, but it also influences the safer and more eco-friendly farming practices. Seems like farm education is a win-win. Economics plays an important role, and will continue to shape the livelihood and profitability of farms both small and large. Maybe it’s time that we gave econ the credit it deserved in the classroom, or at least taught it in every classroom because right now 38 States don’t require and economic or personal finance class.
Until next time,
Riley, Todd, Aaron, and Eugene

Iowa State (n.d.). The diamond-water paradox [Infographic]. Retrieved from

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