U.S. Markets closed

Peter Schiff's surprisingly fun intro to economics


If gift giving were a science, handing your spouse $1,000 would be considered romantic rather than a ticket to prolonged celibacy. If economics were a real science, five years of free money would have resulted in significant capital investment rather than stock buybacks. Keep the inherently unknowable relationship between emotional cause and effect in mind for the a few minutes because I’m about to make a suggestion that is going to sound a little crazy on the surface.  

Ready?  Here goes:

Peter Schiff of Euro Pacific Capital has written a book that teaches basic economics in a way that kids will understand and parents can enjoy. Seriously. The polarizing Schiff and his brother Andrew have updated their book How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes for the holidays with illustrations and anecdotes that explain the basic tensions of economic policy and behaviors without completely burying the points in ham-fisted ideologically rooted didacticism.  

If you don’t think the creation of such a book is an accomplishment, you’ve obviously never sat through college level economics. The Schiffs have fleshed out some ideas, souped up the illustrations and made the work more holiday friendly.

The inspiration goes back much further than the original book four years ago. “My father wrote a book called How the Economy Grows and Why it Doesn’t,” explains Peter Schiff in the attached video.  He and his brother loved the stories as kids and used them as the the basis of their slightly darker effort. “There’s so much misinformation out there about economics that we wanted to bring it up to date and modernize it."

As could be guessed by adding the word “Crashes” to their dad’s book, Peter and Andrew don’t make much of an effort to hide their conservative view of how the world of money works. Anyone with an even passing familiarity of Peter Schiff knows he’s no fan of the Fed and regards economic stimulus as a force of pure evil.  

As any (good) parent knows raising children is about keeping their bodies healthy while filling their minds with enough information to help them contribute to the world as balanced, thoughtful individuals. Unfortunately, as Schiff notes, there just aren’t that many ways to introduce kids to economic concepts that can hold their attention. With their updated book the Schiff brothers have created an amusing and informative explanation of economics with a conserative slant.

Moms and dads looking to balance out their holiday teachings with a more cautious view of unfettered capitalism should consider buying How an Economy Grows and Crashes, and boxing it with a copy of The Lorax by Dr. Suess.

As noted at the top of this review economics is as much art as science.  Between Schiff’s ode to free markets and the Once-ler’s indictment of the Thneed industry, there has to be a workable monetary solution in there somewhere.