Mr A Bagnall
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.” – A Tale of Two Cities.
Economics was once called the “The Dismal Science” as the writings of Thomas Malthus suggested that the people of the world were doomed to unending suffering and poverty. However, in a time when many believe that things have never been so bad, economics gives us the tools to bring light, hope and wisdom. In the year 2000 the Millennium Development Goals aimed to cut the world’s 1990 poverty rate in half. This was achieved…. five years early. Never, in the history of humanity have people lived so long, had such access to medicine or been able to live without the constant fear of hunger.
It is development economists who have helped to set the frameworks for poverty reduction. It is market economists that have supported the development of pharmaceutical drugs and brokered price agreements that allow for access to HIV drugs in Africa. As the world considers how to respond to the challenges of climate change, it is economists who will shape the government policies required to change people’s behaviour and to encourage investment in new technological solutions.
Whilst economics is about money and investment and firms, that’s not its main function. Its function is to have a set of skills and analysis to make people’s lives better.
The department aims to introduce students to the main areas of economic analysis. At the individual level, microeconomics studies the use and allocation of the world’s scarce resources. What should be produced and when, through the use of markets? It also looks at how and when markets fail to use resources effectively in areas such as healthcare and the environment and how people make poor decision through the study of behavioural economics. At the national level, macroeconomics focuses on how the economy works and the wider government policies for improving people’s lives.
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A-Level economics follows the Edexcel syllabus. Students are taught initial introductions to basic micro and macro economics in the first term. Students then look deeper into microeconomic concepts such as externalities, information failures, competition and the labour market. In Year 13 students study further macroeconomic concepts looking at the detail of monetary and fiscal policy, international trade and economic development.