Switched on to the economy

A lecture series is illuminating issues of global trade for 11-14s. Elizabeth Buie reports

A new online lecture which tackles big questions about the economy for a younger audience was launched this month by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

In "The LSE Big Questions lecture: East beats West? Is the East taking over the world?", Professor Danny Quah addresses the issue of the rising economic power of China and other Asian countries and asks whether we should be fearful of this.

Using audience-participation games, demonstrations, films and interviews, Professor Quah explains what the economy is, why it matters, how global trade is changing the world and how we will need to adapt to this.

In June, 150 secondary students from nine London schools took part in the pilot lecture, designed to introduce the social sciences to young people aged 11-14 in an interactive, informative and fun way.

In it, Professor Quah interviewed Michael-George Hemus, co-director of Hulger, an electronics firm that makes the Plumen low-energy light bulb. Mr Hemus explained why companies such as his have their products made in China and the challenges it involves.

"Communicating the excitement and relevance of one of the biggest economic issues of our times to 11 to 14-year-olds was hugely enriching," said Professor Quah, a member of the economics department.

"It was completely different from talking to LSE students who, among other things, always remember they have to pass a final examination that you set."

Jonathan Leape, director of LSE100 and project director of the Big Questions lecture, said: "Ultimately, we want to inspire young people about the power of the social sciences to help them understand the world around them."

The film of the lecture is available to watch at http:bit.lyukwScX.

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