You Write the Book

In several places of Economics for Everyone, readers are invited to provide their own ideas, illustrations, or examples of phenomena described in the text.  In other words, readers can help “write the book”: please send in your examples or illustrations which help to explain the concept being described.  We will publish the best of them (with acknowledgment) right here. Submit your ideas to

Topics for “You Write the Book” (and the corresponding page number in Economics for Everyone):

Economic Value Judgments (p.28):

Specify one or more additional goals that you think an effective economic system should meet. In your judgment, what is a “good” economy?

Work and Nature (p.75):

Draw a decomposition of production in the industry where you work. Start with the final good or service that you produce. Then break it down into labour, natural resources, and intermediate goods. Then break down each of those intermediate goods into their respective inputs, and so on, until everything is decomposed into work and nature. Scan your illustration and e-mail it to us.

Stealing Your Time (p.121):

Send an example of a company that wasted your time (as a worker, a consumer, or a bystander).

Competition: Tweedledee and Tweedledum (p.145):

Think of a real-world example of competition gone awry: that is, inter-capitalist competition which produces perverse or destructive outcomes.

Who REALLY Works Hard? (p.166):

Think of a worker who performs a job that is dirty, difficult, or dangerous. Is their income higher, to compensate them for their challenging working conditions? How would you explain the difference between their income, and the income of chief executives? Is it due to productivity or difficulty? Or something else?

The Culture of Finance (p.258):

Think of an example where individuals are encouraged (by government, by the financial industry, or by economists) to believe that they, too, can use clever financial strategies to solve the problems in their lives — no matter how far-fetched the chances of success.

Business and Government: Open for Business (p.269):

Think of an interesting example of a way that your government supports and promotes the interests of private business.

Report Card on Capitalism (p.364):

Using criteria you chose in “Economic Value Judgments” (above), write capitalism a report card and give it a grade. How effectively does modern capitalism meet the criteria you have selected for a “good” economy?

Doing it Ourselves: Alternatives to Private Enterprise (p.397):

Think of an example in your community where work occurs in a non-profit setting, and is both efficient and socially useful.