Economics Course


This year we have arranged for Mr. Matthew Fisher to teach both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics courses in Imlay City on Tuesday evenings from 6:30-8:30 beginning next Tuesday, October 1st. Each course will meet for 12 weeks, for a total of 48 hours of superb college-level instruction over the two semesters. The cost is just $240/year (payable in semi-annual or quarterly installments if you prefer). Mr. Fisher teaches these same courses at Rochester College where the cost is several thousand dollars for the two semesters. This class is open to mature High School students (Grades 10+), college students, and any adults who are interested in the study of economics. All enrollees are charged the same $10/class (with one exception: parents with two or more enrolled students may sit in without charge). Space, however, is limited, so please contact me at jen (at) mypriorityplan (dot) com as soon as possible if you are interested in enrolling. Please feel free to pass this along to anyone you think may be a good candidate to participate in this excellent opportunity.


Is there a textbook? If so, is it expensive?

Yes, there is a textbook and no, it is not expensive. The text covers both semesters and costs roughly $30 on Amazon. There is also a smaller supplementary book that is available online for free.

Can I take just one semester?

This Economics course is intended to be a thorough treatment of both Micro and Macroeconomics and is designed to be taken as one whole course. Because of this, Mr. Fisher will be weaving certain elements of the second semester into the first, so it will not be possible to join at the semester. If, however, you can only attend the first semester and absolutely not the second, it would still be worthwhile to take the first (the cost remains $240 for the course).

My schedule is already pretty full and I am uncertain about adding another course right now. Will there be a lot of homework?

Mr. Fisher has indicated that the workload is quite adjustable and there will not be a full battery of tests, papers, etc. (though for those seeking that level of work, I imagine it can be arranged). I have reviewed the Fall syllabus and noted that the reading assignments are very manageable, with specific instructions for prioritizing the reading to keep it minimal for those with little time. Having said that, you should only enroll if you intend to take the class seriously.

Will this primarily be a discussion course?

No, this will be a lecture course, with opportunities to answer questions throughout to keep students engaged and involved in the ideas being presented. Students will need to take notes and be prepared to participate when called upon or when they have questions.

Is there any college credit for this course?

Since we are offering this Economics course outside of an accredited college or university setting (hence the fraction-of-the-college-cost rate), there is no formal credit for this course, though any homeschoolers will certainly want to include it on their transcripts. For those interested, however, you are welcome to pursue the AP Economics exam which covers both Micro and Macro semesters covered in this course, and for which many colleges would give credit for a strong performance.

Will this be a “Catholic” Economics course?

Not exactly, insofar as it is intended to be a comprehensive college course. However, Mr. Fisher will be weaving Catholic teaching and social principles throughout each class. The idea there is that studying Economics as Catholics does not mean simply that we sit down with some Belloc essays or other such Catholic writer but that we apply Catholic teaching—consider the ideas in front of us with a sensus catholicus – to the Economic notions and realities around us.

Who is Matthew Fisher?

Matt Fisher is a superb teacher and a friend to several people at Sacred Heart including Fr. Ward. He has a B.A. from Michigan State University in Art History; an M.A. from the University of Dallas in Liberal Arts with concentrations in Literature and Political Philosophy; and an M.A. in Economics from the University of Detroit, where he served as the highly-regarded teaching assistant to professor and economist Dr. Harry Veryser. Mr. Fisher has taught an upper level Shakespeare tutorial and an Art History survey at the St. Benedict Program, where he was beloved by the students and known for his excellent teaching ability. For the past two years he has taught Economics at Rochester College and Northwood Institute. Mr. Fisher is married with one very adorable five-month-old son.

Why should we study Economics?

Mr. Fisher has written the following to encourage everyone to take the study of economics seriously. I hope you find it persuasive enough to join us!

Why Study Economics?

from Mr. Matthew Fisher

Perhaps no field of study has been as widely misunderstood, misapplied and, consequently, as unfairly castigated as economics. Indeed, misconceptions regarding its origin, development, method, and purpose have been particularly acute over the last one hundred years and continue to misdirect the energy and focus of many actual and would-be economists. This unfortunate state of affairs—which undoubtedly arises from a failure to understand the essence of what Aquinas calls the “practical sciences” as opposed to those deemed “speculative”— has turned many intelligent and well-intentioned minds away from a study of economics and resulted in a strange academic hegemony unable to enlighten the lives of its students.

The truth is that economics is just as far from the crude materialist caricatures offered as straw men by its detractors as it is from the “hard sciences” (as many of its current practitioners would like to have it). Presumably, a study of economics could be justified merely on the basis of rectifying such misunderstandings. However, the justification goes much further than this; the real reason to study economics is that, as Ludwig von Mises tells us, “(economics) is the philosophy of human life and action and concerns everybody and everything. It is the pith of civilization and of man’s human existence.” Mises, like Aristotle and Aquinas before him understands economics as a science of human action. Human action whereby given teloi (goals or ends) are strived for through the allocation and application of limited and scarce means.

Though this account may seem abstruse, or worse yet irredeemably broad and uninteresting, in our post-Edenic world it certainly applies. Contrary to the lessons imparted from the positivism rampant in the field today, the true task of the economist is to deduce laws and generalities from the concrete starting point of purposeful, goal-directed human activity in the face of scarce means. The beauty of the field is that certain thinkers, such as Aristotle, Aquinas, the Scholastic philosophers of the School of Salamanca, the Austrian School of Menger, Mises and Hayek, and certain late 20th century American economists such as Murray Rothbard, James Buchanan, Robert Higgs, and Roger Garrison have done exactly this in a regimented, systematic, and logically consistent way. Should we choose to accept it, ours is the enviable position of standing on the shoulders of giants.

This is to say nothing of the applicability of economics. However, rightly understood, the science of economics is perhaps one of the most widely applicable sciences that we have. As we study its foundations, method, laws and generalities we will come to see that everything from labor specialization, the market price system, and monopolies to monetary policy and the boom and bust cycle in the economy begin to make much more sense. Most importantly, however, our own behavior will make more sense; as we better understand the incentive structures we face in our day-to-day lives as well as how we can best serve our fellows’ needs according to our respective comparative advantages we move much closer to not only knowing ourselves, but also toward a greater understanding of how to efficaciously and prudently live fully Catholic lives.