Economics: myths, metaphors and markets

Course Dates: 21/04/20 - 07/07/20
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: KS - Keeley Street

We are all economic actors. We work, we consume, we save… The course, designed for total beginners in economics, will look through the myths that surround economic activity and the metaphors, the received images, which shape how we think about this issue. Let’s try to better understand what is happening on the markets for labour, for goods and services, in this country and globally. No maths, no jargon. Tutor: Christian Michel.


What is the course about?

Everything revolves around the economy, the diffuse power that rules our lives. We are not going to liberate us if we ignore how the system works. Economics studies human behaviour as we obtain the goods we desire in a world where scarcity exists. It used to be a branch of moral philosophy. Maybe it should still be. Our approach will use ethics and critical thinking, rather than mathematical models, to debunk the myths economics is founded on, and to look behind the metaphors that shape our vision. This will be a beginners’ course to understand what happens when we and fellow humans work, exchange, coordinate with others through markets, consume, and invest.

What will we cover?

We will discuss questions such as the impact of work on the environment, what is wealth, what is money, does trade benefit all parties, is there a purpose to markets, how to assess public policies, the ethics of government intervention and taxation, and more.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

– perceive what is at stake and not always visible in what is called ‘the economy’
– explain to yourself and to others the main economic concepts
– decrypt the jargon of politicians and the media
– participate in the national conversation on economic issues (be at the office and in the pub)
– be a more responsible producer, saver, consumer and voter.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

The course is open to anyone interested in what is happening in the world, without any prior knowledge of economics. No maths, no jargon, and the few necessary technical words will be made plain. If you can read a newspaper, you are able to follow the course.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Clear visual presentations and group discussions will enliven each lesson. There will be no homework, but students will receive the slides used in class, with comments, as follow-ups to the lessons..

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No other costs. All you need to participate is an open mind, curious about the world we live in, and a willingness to listen to opinions you do not always agree with.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

For other courses on economics, please see the college website:

Tutor Biographies
Christian Michel

After a brief stint at Sorbonne University reading French Lit and odd jobs in the film industry, Christian Michel joined a financial firm in Paris, before moving to Geneva, working on projects in West Africa and Russia. To use a common metaphor, business is only looking at trees, whereas Christian was keen to gain a perspective on the whole forest. He developed an interest in economics, questioning the purpose of it all – why work, why trade, why money, why growth, and what effects do production and consumption have on us, on our society and on nature. Christian has written a couple of books (in French) on these topics and many articles. He has been teaching various courses at City Lit since 2013.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.

Book your place

Course Code: HB011

Tue, eve, 21 Apr - 07 Jul '20

Duration: 12 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Full fee: £179.00
Senior fee: £179.00
Concession: £79.00

Or call to enrol: 020 7831 7831

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Any questions?
or call 020 7492 2652

Please note: we offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. For more information visit our online Help Center. You can also visit the Information, Advice and Guidance drop-in service, open from 12 – 6.45, Monday to Friday.