How Basic Economic Literacy Can Increase a Nation's Welfare: Case of Georgia

Couple of weeks ago Switzerland voted against the highest minimum wage law with an overwhelming majority in the referendum, thus saving hundreds of thousands of current and future jobs which would slow down the economic growth with close to 1%. 

Economic and financial literacy is very important to the economic growth and development of a country. Basic economic literacy brings about better understanding of economic issues in the country, thus influencing the electoral decision in the long run which finally result in healthy economic environment and higher degree of prosperity in the country. 

Many of you will shed an interesting light on this issue! What is your understanding of economic prosperity? Is it GDP growth or wellbeing of many? We are all from different countries and backgrounds, and have different ideas about this.

Let’s bring our ideas together and take it to the next level: how can we increase the economic literacy in our perspective countries and how can we internationally help each other to achieve this?

One important aspect would also be to identify the problems associated with this subject matter and shed a light on understanding of how a “Homo Economicus” works in every country and how we could contribute to make it more efficient. 

I would like for participants to contribute with their ideas on how each and everyone of them could contribute to increasing financial and economic literacy in their respective countries, bring examples of organisations that work in the subject matter and participate actively in drafting a mock strategy for development of the communication strategy for increasing literacy on the subject matter.

I hope to see all the civil activists, interested parties, educators and people who are interested in a better future for their country on the seminar where we can discuss about the prospects of influencing the development of civil society and creating a better environment for generations to come.

P.S. Also, before we get together, I think it will be of great value if you could find time to read a little of Ludwig von Mises’ “Human Action”, Adam Smith “Wealth of Nations” and we can discuss these two basic building blocks of understanding how economies work. 

Date: 2014-06-23 20:00:00 - 2014-06-25 20:00:00, Asia/Tbilisi Time.

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Good place to post it.

Tamara, welcome on board and kudos for stepping forward.

I fully agree with @Inge about linking the content to community members’ experiences… Although you obviously have an academic understanding of the issue, my advice is to tone it down just a little bit to encourage input from other people here.

Like for example what do you understand by basic economic literacy? What is the understanding you’re using of economic prosperity? GDP growth or wellbeing of many? I guess what I’m trying to understand is what is your personal approach to this, where are you coming from. Perhaps recommend some readings?

In terms of who can contribute at this point, what this makes me think of immediately is the European level initiative for unconditionally providing that which petition raised over 100k signatures. @Dorotea here is actively campaigning for it, she can give the interesting insights…


Making visible underlying assumptions and ideological debates

Hi Tamara,

Thanks for taking the time and effort to post the proposal.

I am right now at an event in South Africa, #AllAfricaFutures, which is dedicated to developing a shared framework for figuring out how inhabitants of the hugely diverse countries on the African continent can be involved in, and go about, shaping their trajectories into a prosperous (as defined by their own value systems and priorities) and peaceful future. One of the points I have taken to heart is the importance of devices that allow us to surface the hidden assumptions and beliefs that underpin how we understand the world and interpret any information presented about it. Why? because it is difficult to have a meaningful, forward looking conversation if we do not have some shared understanding of the basics that we both accept to be credible/trustworthy. As well as processes that help us understand and reshape our own thinking and the frameworks through which various options are deemed credible, desirable or feasible. Facts are never neutral as they are always interpreted through some lens. 

For example it could be very helpful to explore what assumptions about economics are made in some of the project descriptions shared by members of the community…and together explore how this affects the range of choices with respect to their achieving their desired positive impacts on the the lives of the communities they care about? 

What do you think?


Dear Nadia! First of all, I must say that my professional interest is very much vested in the continet of Africa and its prospects of development.

I very much appreciate your input and I hope you can be here in Georgia to discuss this issue with us.

I absolutely agree with you, the downside of economists can always be taking stuff as given. That crowd necessarily understand the rationale behind the transactions they are making so you are right, it is necessary to clarify what our assumptions are at the first place and then analyze how wrong or how right and how subjective / objective they are. 

I will edit the description of the project so that this can fit as well!

Thanks for the input!



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Yes I will definitely be there

Three things which may be helpful for next week

  1. Smoking: You know it kills you but people do it anyway.

More information alone does not necessarily result in people making different choices. Neither does more motivation. Check out B.J Fogg’s research on persuasive technology.  Yes, it’s creepy. I am not entirely comfortable with the idea that you can manipulate people with technology, but there you have it. His proposal: To affect behavioral change you need to put triggers in the paths of motivated people. If you do not see the outcome you are hoping for, lower the threshold for engaging in that behaviour, or increase motivation till you hit the magic spot. Anothor good read especially when it comes to the beliefs that underpin our political decisions check out  George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s "Metaphors we live by.

  1. I’ll believe it when I see it.

So I skidded across this article the other day. It puts emphasis on the visual presentation of data as being crucial to our ability to internalise it. And well, believe the conclusions drawn. Most people hardly ever have to analyse data after school, and barely even then. Many feel very uncomfortable around numbers. However we are very good at processing visual information.

  1. Methodology for surfacing hidden assumptions and beliefs.

At All Africa Futures Forum we did a quick version of a workshop methodology. The aim being to surface the cognitive superstructures which guide our opinions and decisions. I’ll see if I can dig up a a digital version of the document passed around. Riel Miller who developed it, is on Edgeryders (@rielm) so maybe he can tell you more about it if you ping him.

Reply to Neomi

Dear Neomi!

Thank you so much for your input! 

with a great help from Inge I am trying to get hold of the ways we communicate in this community and how we serve the purpose. I am still learning but my intentions are the same as yours!

I look forward to our cooperation and thank you for your patience with me! 



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Dear @Tamara

This is very interesting. I would like to learn more about economic and financial literacy for better decision making. I would love to get other examples that affects people daily life. Would you recommend any readings? How would you like to take your idea further? We do not have such organisation in Egypt, we - so far - are making emotional decisions.

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Amiridina - I would like to take it as far as I could!

Dear Amiridina!

Egypt is not the only one :slight_smile: And I want to dedicate my knowledge and future to educating and making people understand how important it is in basic decision making ro know the basics of economics. 

Maybe we should have a pre-session reading. 

I would recommend first and foremost Ludwig von Mises: Human Action and Adam Smith: Welfare of Nations 

these two are essential if you want to understand it better!

Let’s talk ore about Egypt! 

A couple more questions :slight_smile:

Dear Tamara,

I see that you have made some modification to your proposal. A couple of questions:

  • Did the Swiss vote consciously against the highest minimum wage law because they have a basic notion of economy?
  • What do you consider as basic financial and economic literacy? 
  • According to you, what should any citizen in the world know about finance and economy to make better decisions?

Best regards,



  • As far as I know Swiss voted consciously since they were aware that the existence of minimum wage would not really do much difference for the population whereas it would damage the business sector and cause future job losses and lower employment rates. However, this is a very interesting question and I am willing to do a little research before we bring it up on the discussion. 

-What I consider as basic financial and economic literacy is knowledge of basic principles of economics. A good compass could be the 10 principles of economics by Mankiw, to begin with. How basic decisions that people make during elections affect their well-being. Basic concepts in Macroeconomics on money, exchange rates and migration, etc. I will outline the topics for the session 

  • I guess I sort of answered that question in previous answer. We discuss more details on session :slight_smile:

Are these good enough?

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Thank you

Dear Tamara,

Thank you for your prompt reply.

The rate of illiteracy in Egypt is likely to be 50% of the population, two third of which are women. The participation of women was 55% of the votes for the constitution. After 25th of Jan, we focussed on political awareness. Soon everybody will be talking economic. I was trying to imagine how we can take your smart idea to the ground. What are the basics that we need to know? How can the normal (including those who can’t read and write) citizen acquire those basic principles? I was trying to understand if you are interested in taking your idea further or to just engage an academic intellectual discussion.

Best regards,



Dina, no, of course not only intellectual level discussions. 

I believe what’s wrong with the world are all these high level meetings that don’t usually lead to progress so grassroot approach is of absolute necessity.

I will do a research on the situation in Egypt and I promise on 24th we will work together on that grass root approach and I believe we will coem up with something. 

I will try to see what the situation in Egypt is like, if you could supply me with additional resources that would be great. Then, find the international practices of grass-root delivery of essential education and see if we can draft something up. 

Thank you so much for your participation.

This means a lot!