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Learning Economics through Reading Columns


To study economics has never been easy. There are so many jargons, terms, equitions, models, curves and graphs. However, we are lucky to live in a digital age, in which all kinds of learning resource is accessible. I’ve found it could be a better way to study economics through reading the opinion columns of WSJ–the Wall Street Journal.

Since Murdock acquired WSJ, the journal has erected a content paywall. Although a few articles are still free of charge, most of them need to pay to access. I subscribed the Kindle version of WSJ with a monthly fee of USD19.00. As a result, I can read the full contents of WSJ on web, kindle and my iPhone.

As a Chinese columnist, I pay more attention to my western countparts. To read their articles is the best way to learn the craft of writing. Writing is no more than carpentery. What I need are skill and tools. Talent is not for learning, but still is. That’s where my confidence has come from.

Today I read Where to Put Your Money in 2012. To be honest, I can’t fully comprehend what the author says. But I can feel the abundance of meaning and knowledge. I use another great resource to help to understand the jargons and terms. That’s economics a to z by London-based the Economist. For example, the article writes: “The yield on a total U.S. bond market exchange-traded fund (ticker BND) is only 3%. “ The jargon “yield” puzzles me. Then I look it up on the economist and find that the meaning is “The annual income from a SECURITY, expressed as a percentage of the current market PRICE of the security.” Using the same method, I understand several terms: share, equity etc. From the same article I come to know that the demography change of China and other emerging economy. China will face ageing problem in 2025. Dependency ratio (nonworking population v.s. working population) will be 1:1 then. However, India and Brazil will enjoy their continueing growth due to their advantange in youth population, Dependency ratios in these countries are 1:2 or 1:3, which means they have two to three workers for every nonworkers.

Sounds interesting? Read more columns and spend less time on tweeting or random web surfing. If you still have time, try to write in English. It’s hard but worthy of trying. Eventually it will pay off. Life is too precious to waste, isn’t it?

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