At TheBestSchools.org, we treat the concept of “schools” quite broadly. Certainly, we include in the concept secondary and higher education, in which one earns a diploma or degree. But we also include any course of study in which significant learning occurs, even if the time spent is quite short.
When it comes to economics, we therefore recommend, as the best short course in this field, Chris Martenson’s “Crash Course,” available here. Consisting of 20 YouTube videos, it focuses on the convergence of economics, energy, and environment, and in particular how our fiat money (money created out of thin air) is not just leading to gross economic instabilities but, in combination with increasing demand for energy and decreasing environmental resources, will lead to a radical transformation in how we live our lives. Though not everyone is persuaded by his argument, everyone needs to engage it.
Chris Martenson, the author of this course, started out as a molecular biologist PhD who also earned an MBA. Working for a Fortune 500 company and living the American dream, he started questioning whether there are systemic faults in the way the American economy is structured during the dotcom bubble and the ensuing 9/11 crisis. Beginning a systematic study of economics and its relation to energy and the environment at this time, he soon left his job, downsized, and moved to an area in which he and his family could be more self-sufficient.
Unlike survivalists, who would make preparing for “the coming apocalypse” a full-time job (compare James Wesley Rawles’s How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It), Martenson seems much more measured and thoughtful, giving real understanding into the challenges Americans face and offering practical incremental solutions that can make a big difference without sacrificing every aspect of our current lifestyles.
Martenson offered — and still offers — his Crash Course free online, and yet thousands ended up buying the DVD. It is well worth the three hours to get through it (think of missing your a baseball or football game on TV). Martenson has also expanded on this course in a new book titled, not surprisingly, The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future of Our Economy, Energy, and Environment.
To get a flavor of Martenson’s approach, check out the following two YouTube videos from his Crash Course on money creation (how the banks and the government creates money out of thin air). If you’ve never taken an economics course that lays out how modern fiat money and fractional reserve banking works, the following two videos will be an eye opener: