Peter Lyons ODT – teach then finance, or teach them physics?

Economics teacher Peter Lyons had a piece in the ODT yesterday:

Well, to a certain extent. I would suggest that if you don’t teach the physical world, then you’re wasting your time teaching them finance.

Physics is what happened to Christchurch and Japan. Economics is a man-made construct, applicable in a short-window paradigm.

To ‘invest’, for instance, presumes a ‘return’. That just expects – blindly and unquestioningly – that the return can be underwritten. It also assumes that exponential growth can go on for ever.

Teach finance, by all means. But teach the folly of fiat leverage. Teach the impossibility of exponential growth. Teach  the real costing of reality – finiteness of resources, quantity of pollution, rates of degradation.

I think Peter is a ‘good guy’, heart in the right place – but we have a whole generation now, of kids who have no idea; who think the world is infinite. That’s not good.


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