May 17th, 2005


People being not-stupid

From: [] On Behalf Of Declan McCullagh
Sent: Monday, May 16, 2005 10:07 PM
Subject: [Politech] Prof asks for help with unusual idea: learning economics by video game [econ]

See, by way of background, what Russ is talking about:

Any suggestions?


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Various stuff
Date: Thu, 12 May 2005 16:38:24 -0400
From: Russell Roberts <>
To: Declan McCullagh <>


Good to talk to you as always.

I've been thinking recently about what Hayek called spontaneous order
which is related to complexity theory—the idea that things can be
orderly without conscious planning, the idea that markets coordinate
information without a coordinator, the idea that we all free to make our
own plans and yet somehow, they mesh in wondrous ways without anyone
being in charge of the meshing. The development of the internet and to
some extent, the open source phenomenon are examples of these kinds of
processes but so is the ability of the economy to provide lots of
low-carb products at low prices when people suddenly decide to reduce
their carbs. The same process will cure prostate cancer some day if we
let it work.

Explaining the mystery and beauty of this process and what holds it
together is often neglected in economic education simply because it's
hard to explain. So I've been thinking about non-standard ways of
teaching this stuff--video games and movies that would allow people to
absorb these lessons in non-textbook ways. Know any visually creative
people who might be interested in such projects?


Russell Roberts
Professor of Economics
J. Fish and Lillian F. Smith Distinguished Scholar at the Mercatus Center
Department of Economics
4400 University Dr.
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA. 22030


Research Fellow
Hoover Institution
Stanford University

Features Editor
Library of Economics and Liberty

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