With so much upheaval going on around the world, it's never been more important to get to grips with the macroeconomic forces shaping our daily lives. Economics knowledge doesn't have to be delivered through a dull textbook by a mild-mannered high school teacher. YouTube has dozens of channels that package highly-relevant insights about how our world works in an entertaining format.
To get smarter about what's happening in our world, check out these top ten economics YouTube channels.
Economics Explained serves up immersive video essays that analyze global trends. The videos take a deep dive by often focusing on a particular country and explaining recent events there from an economic perspective. Recent videos focus on the risk of recession, sanctions on Russia, China's debt, and Turkey's hyperinflation.
Starting in September 2012, Economics Explained has grown over a decade to 1.78 million subscribers and hundreds of videos. Hosted by an anonymous Australian host formally known as “JitaLounge,” the channel has a membership community for fans who want access to exclusive content. With so much content to choose from, you are bound to find something that piques your interest.
Money & Macro
Money & Macro focuses more on the financial system. It explains how inflation, interest rates, and other factors impact the broader economy. The channel has a whole playlist on central banks and some videos that explore the history of how public finance first emerged in Europe.
The host, Dr. Joeri Schasfoort, also does live streams. Listen in on his conversations with guests like former Financial Times editor Izabella Kaminska and other economics YouTubers, like the host of Unraveling Economics.
One Minute Economics
As the name suggests, One Minute Economics keeps things short. Most videos unpack one specific concept using everyday examples accompanied by fun cartoon graphics. The host, Andrei Polgar, uses a light-hearted approach to explain jargon like Deleveraging, Eurodollars, Profiteering, Whales, Mortgage-Backed Securities, and Monetary Easing.
In other videos, he explains the subtle but essential differences between terms often used interchangeably, such as insolvency, default, and bankruptcy. Polgar has also written Wealth Management 2.0, a book that teaches online professionals how to handle their money better, and Age of Anamoly, which prepares readers to handle financial calamities.
If you feel reading Investopedia explanations is getting a bit dull, try One Minute Economics next time you encounter an unfamiliar economics term.
Delivered in a similar style to One Minute Economics (but lasting a few minutes longer), Econimate puts out animated clips that explore various topics. The channel is relatively new, starting in 2019, and uses doodle-like stick figures reminiscent of the famous blog Wait But Why.
Check out Econimate's videos on health insurance, consumer protection, and student debt to better understand how public policy shapes economic relations.
New Economic Thinking
New Economic Thinking, the official channel of the think tank of the same name, puts out content that challenges conventional narratives around economic issues. The channel features in-depth interviews with seasoned economists who are groundbreaking research, especially on inequality and justice. The size of its library is staggering, with almost 1,500 high-production videos.
For a deeper understanding of the causes of economic imbalance between the genders, check out their special playlist on Gender Economics.
Jacob Clifford is not your average economics teacher. His larger-than-life personality is perfect for edutaining YouTube content. Clifford started out as an economics teacher at San Pasqual High School in California. He began uploading to YouTube in its very early days – in October 2007 by starting out standing next to a whiteboard with a marker pen in hand.
Clifford's content has evolved and diversified with the platform over the years. His videos now boast the high video production quality characteristic of most top channels. For students in the U.S., Clifford also offers review courses for AP Micro and Macroeconomics.
For an extra dose of ‘entertainment' in the edutainment mix, try Clifford's playlist EconMovies, where he looks at economic factors at play in classic Hollywood movies like Dodgeball, Lion King, and The Terminator.
The Economist remains an international benchmark for quality journalism and offers coverage from a decidedly neoliberal perspective. Although they still focus on written content, the publication makes videos each week on select stories that bring their reporting to life through visual storytelling.
These range from mini video essays that last less than ten minutes to longer-form documentary-style reports that feature expert interviews and go for roughly half an hour. Much of their content goes beyond a pure focus on economics (discussing trends in climate change, armed conflict, and technology, for instance). Still, many videos examine the causes of economic problems in society.
Like the academic discipline itself, economics as a YouTube genre tends to be still dominated by men, but Ashley Hodgson bucks that trend. Hodgson is an economics professor at St Olaf College and got her Ph.D. at Berkeley, making her a trusted and authoritative source on economic theory.
Delivered in a vlogging format, Ashley posts informative videos on Behavioral Economics, Game Theory, Economics of Information, Blockchain Economics, etc. Her main channel focuses on explaining theories from her classroom lectures, yet she has another offer.
Hodgson also has what she calls an “explorative channel” named Economist Ashley Hodgson. Here she unpacks the informational, institutional, social and economic forces driving what she sees as the “weirdness” in our world.
For thought-provoking content on big tech and the platform economy, check out videos in this second channel like ‘Firehose of Information: How Social Media Trains Cognitive Defense Mechanisms.'
Irish YouTuber Patrick Boyle is a hedge fund manager, university professor, and former investment banker. His channel primarily focuses on finance and provides commentary explaining stories moving markets each week.
He also does interviews with leaders in the financial industry and several retrospective videos that look at the colorful history of finance, such as a couple of videos on fraudster Charles Ponzi. So if you were puzzled by China's Evergrande crisis or the GameStop saga can find answers by browsing Boyle's playlists on these topics.
Unlearning Economics takes a more contrarian view of mainstream economics and the culture around the discipline. In one video, ‘The Toxic Culture of the Economics Profession,' the host takes a peek behind the curtain of the life of economists and exposes its darker side. In unpacking some of the social phenomena surrounding economics, the host also explains key concepts.
He also critiques what he sees as misleading narratives perpetuated by academics and online influencers. To get into the geeky side of the channel, check out his playlist Gaming/Chatting Streams, where the host provides a running commentary of economics news while playing computer games.
Economics is a fascinating and practical topic that touches every aspect of our lives. As the world becomes most unstable, arming yourself with a little more economics knowledge could help you make sense of what's happening and make sound decisions that hold you in good stead.
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Liam Gibson is a journalist based in Taiwan who regularly publishes in Al Jazeera, Nikkei Asia Review, Straits Times, and other international outlets. He also runs Policy People, a podcast and online content platform for think tank experts.