2023-01-25 22:09:11

Commentary: How not to explain economics to the public

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Channel NewsAsia
By Sarah O'connor

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LONDON: I had some sympathy for United Kingdom chancellor Jeremy Hunt last week when he was teased for trying to explain inflation with coffee cups and a black felt pen. Ive done a few explainer videos myself over the years, so I know its hard to get the tone right.

You want to sound as if youre talking to a smart friend in the pub, but its easy to sound like youre pandering to children instead. I also think that making economics more understandable is a worthy endeavour, especially right now.

Sadly, Hunts video was a perfect example of what not to do.

Why is it worth trying to explain economics better? Because the profession suffers from what Andy Haldane, former chief economist at the Bank of England, calls a twin deficit, of understanding and of trust.

In a UK survey in 2019, 40 per cent of respondents said it had become more difficult to understand economics when it comes to making informed decisions for voting in elections and referendums. Only 14 per cent said it had become easier.

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