I find that one of the more enjoyable aspects of teaching macroeconomics is engaging in discussions about current events with students. It can often be enlightening and disenchanting at the same time.
The enlightenment comes from the fact that the students are aware of the problems, and often have a fundamental grasp of the facts. The disenchantment often comes from how they don't grasp basic relationships (how one event can be related to another) or what the event has to do with decisions they make as individuals or that they make as members of a larger community. Students often fail to see how the macro is just the sum total of a whole lot of micro.
I frequently have to remind them that if they see a problem and they think they know where the blame lies, they should point the finger - and remember that when pointing a finger, three are pointing back at them. The idea is that the event (and any economic event) is not random and is not isolated. It is often the accumulation of decisions made, or can be the result of decisions not to choose. This brings me to the subject of today's post.
This article from yesterday's edition of The Washington Post talks about a study from the International Monetary Fund. (I know, that makes it suspect for many of you, but you should read the article at least.) The study basically says that the economic future depends on the developed countries of the world changing some behaviors - significantly.
And while the recommendations seem logical, I wonder to what extent the United States will respond with "Yeah, good idea, I hope the other nations are paying attention." While I don't think this warrants a lesson before the AP exam, it might be an interesting topic for discussion after the exam is over, when you're trying to fill time between the AP exam and graduation/the end of the school year.
Please share your thoughts on the article and whether you think the U.S. can change its behavior.