Why Pay Tuition?

One of our goals here at The Baseline Scenario is to explain basic economics, finance, and business concepts and how they apply to the things you read about in the newspaper. I think I’m pretty good at this. But if you prefer video and diagrams, I may have found something much better (thanks to a reader suggestion).

Salman Khan has created dozens of YouTube videos covering the basics of banking, finance, and the credit crisis. (There is also a series on the Geithner Plan that doesn’t seem to be on the main index page yet.) I’ve only watched a few, but they are very clear and from what I can see everything looks accurate.

But what’s really exciting is that he also has many, many more videos on math – from pre-algebra through linear algebra and differential equations – and physics. My wife and I watched the one on the chain rule and implicit differentiation and she gave it two thumbs up. (My wife is an economics and statistics professor.) So the next time you – or your child – needs to derive the quadratic formula, just head on over to his web site. Hours and hours of fun.

By James Kwak

25 thoughts on “Why Pay Tuition?

  1. Thanks for information James. I just followed the link and checked this recommendation out. Scary and intimidating – but enticing at the same time. There are truly some amazingly smart individuals in America. This site has a plethora of people in that category…. James, Simon, Nano, Stats, q,….. certainly we can add Salman Khan to any short list.

  2. “One of our goals here at The Baseline Scenario is to explain basic economics, finance, and business concepts and how they apply to the things you read about in the newspaper.”

    Why are you fellows doing this blog? Are you being paid for doing it? If so, who is paying you? Petros? Simon has had some PR work done for him, as has the blog. You’ve been placed neatly atop the pile of econ blogs along with CR. Who put you here, and why? Do you have any affiliation/contact with american government agencies directly? British? James, what did you do while at McKinsey?

    Why aren’t reporters asking these questions?

    What’s the endgame, people?

  3. there are so many excellent learning resources on the internet — this opens up a world of learning that wasn’t available until very recently.

    where i grew up there wasn’t even a good bookstore. i was lucky to have an excellent public library a couple miles away. i was also lucky that in those days an adolescent could travel alone.

    the internet is going to turn most of the colleges and universities into little more than ratings agencies.

  4. you know you are achieving your goal of saturation when the paranoids start posting off topic “respectful questions” in your comment section.

  5. Wow… If I had access to this kind of thing when I was a child, I would have never made it outside to play :)

    I hope this catches on (like MIT’s Open Courseware).

  6. James – thank you. There is some incredible information on Yotube (plenty of junk as well)

    Metal working, trebuchet construction, a video of one guy moving massive stones using the basic physics of leverage – no machines – but you have to go searching for the pages – which takes time.

    I first becaoe aware of Salaman’s videos a few weeks ago from Mish’s blog. Wish I had these tools 20 years ago!

    Thank you for this incredible link. Salaman has done an incredible job.


  7. We don’t make any money doing this. The blog has no affiliation with anything, period. (The total cost of running the blog, apart from our time, is about $50 per year, which I pay for.) We do get paid small fees by print publications when they publish articles by us. Simon is a professor at MIT, a fellow at Peterson, and an NBER associate; I’m just a law school student. Neither of us has any association with any government agency anywhere, except that I think Simon was recently asked to be on some advisory panel for the CBO.

    I have no idea what “Petros” is.

  8. Thank you so much! I feel pretty much the same as Bondgirl; so many times during these past several years it seems that my childhood dream of living in a library has come true! I’m a strict believer that lifelong education is not supposed to be a luxury, but that it is a necessity. Economics and math are two of my primary interests right now, so this is heaven for me. Thanks much!

    May I also suggest a site for anyone who may be interested: The Gutenberg Project. Books in the public domain can be downloaded/shared/read.

  9. Do you have any t-shirts with your face on it? I would wear one. My Che one is wearing out. You & Simon realized all the hopes I once had for Geithner – I thought that having worked with developing countries at the IMF, Geithner could recognize and deal with the problems of an undeveloping country like ours. But apparently his experience with corrupt oligarchical insolvent autocratic torture states just got him used to it so he’s perfectly happy here now.

  10. I think sites like this are great. I wish I could take the leap to go back to school right now to study some of this, but it’s just not always practical. Another good source for finance videos is bionicturtle.com. He has a lot of YouTube videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/bionicturtledotcom
    I know I’ve also seen several universities that offer select course lectures and material for free online.

  11. i had always figured that you guys were working on a book here…and in due time i still expect we will be seeing it in the stores…your site is the best in the business…keep on going, you each have distinctive voices…you are doing the public a world of good…thanks

  12. Thank you for your the background. So if you aren’t getting paid, it’s consuming your time and a little money, why are you doing this? What brought the three of you together? There still is a third, correct?

  13. Why are you here? Why are you asking questions which could be answered with a google search? Who cares?

  14. Why pay tuition indeed?!!!

    Salman Khan obviously enjoys teaching for its own sake, the way I do, and is happy just to do it well and make it freely available to others.

    I myself do the same thing with my blog “Interlingua multilingue,” which uses Interlingua as a bridge into learning its source languages (Latin, English, French, Italian, and Spanish/Portuguese, considered as a single language).

    It is unfortunate that the Internet lacks an equivalent of the bibliographic control of large research libraries, where it is much easier to find books on the kinds of things you are interested in.

    With the World Wide Web, I have found, this is a hit-and-miss proposition based on being lucky in thinking up the key words and phrases you need to search for the things you are interested in.

    (This is especially true of YouTube. Youtube also makes it very hard to find every single part of, say, a twelve-part video series.)

    It would be nice if this hit-and-miss system could be supplemented by a system that resembles the controlled vocabulary of the subject-heading indexes used in the construction of library catalogues.

    The principal problems of libraries are storage and access. The Internet is excellent on storage, but its access capabilities are still quite weak.

    Harleigh Kyson Jr.

  15. Awsome link thank you. Google makes us feel like geniuses. Now we can listen to them at least. It’s got to be good for you!

    Thank you Google thank you Vinton G. Cerf.

  16. This is a great idea.
    The problem is, how do you establish a reputation and some credentials if you engage in a lot of self-study?

    I have done a fair amount of self-study, but I see that I can’t make use of that effort any further since other people are not aware of what I have done.

    Lastly, it also makes a big difference that you start with the discipline that is taught by going through a degree or two in the standard fashion. Once you have good habits and self-discipline, then I love the idea of self-study.

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