What’s the Definition of Freedom?

What is your definition of freedom? Freedom of speech? Thought? Privacy? 

Freedom to make a living? 

In order to discuss the law, we need to identify what freedoms you think it should give you. We can trace this all the way back to American constitutional history, where the Founding Fathers nailed down documents that gave you the ideas you now have about freedom. Let’s put this in context, by taking a quick look at the Constitution of the United States.

Critical questions: 

1. What were the original freedoms you see in the Constitution?

2. Who were they for?

3. Were they applied equally?

4. Were they ever intended to be applied equally?

5. When did each oppressed group get it’s freedom? 

6. What are specific freedoms listed in the Constitution?

7. Are there any freedoms you enjoy and take for granted that you can’t find in that document?

8. Are we missing any specific mentions of freedom as you see it? 

Challenge: Find one egregious (really, really big) violation of freedom. This can be an article, video, or simply a mention of a situation in the world today. Mention it in the comments. 






Game Show: How Dumb Are You When It Comes to Money?

The smartest teens in the world, when it comes to money, are in Shanghai, according to an article posted by Forbes. Take a moment to read the article… I’ll wait…Note where the US scores. It’s pretty ugly, isn’t it. Let’s have someone interpret this graph for us, so we don’t fall at the bottom of the barrel for math and reading, too. This just gets worse as we go along, doesn’t it? What trends are you seeing in world-wide emphasis on financial literacy. Really consider the countries that are scoring high and low.

“A fool and his money will soon be parted.” –Old Proverb. Probably written by the dude who took the fool’s money. 

Critical questions: 

1. How did we get to such a sad state of affairs?

2. How can we reverse these trends?

3. What is the BASELINE knowledge you need to survive? Can you beat the kids in Shanghai, or is it hopeless?

4. What’s the graph trying to tell us as far as our place in world-wide financial literacy education?


The moment of truth… Take this quiz, located at the Council for Economic Education’s website. Let’s look for the fool whose money will be taken and the smooth operators who will take the cash. If you’re the fool, don’t worry… a year’s worth of economics and financial education will save you. Get ready for your wake up call… begin! 



Youth & the Law: a.k.a. “How Not to Get (insert word here)”

Generic Protest

The law is a sticky subject. It’s flexible, versatile, and applies to different subjects in different ways. We interpret the law differently depending on different situations. A good lawyer can get a guilty person out of trouble, and a bad attorney could allow Jesus to be sent to jail.

We have conservative judges, liberal judges, and moderate judges. Our cultural shifts change the way we interact with and see the law.

This class will be about how we interact with the law. We’ll interpret, discuss, debate, and research areas of the law that apply to us. Then, we’ll look at constructive ways to make the law work better for us. When it doesn’t, we’ll ask why. Asking why doesn’t change society for the better. We’ll learn appropriate ways to take action using the law.

Remember this: Gandhi was a lawyer.

I don’t know if there was any point in saying that, but it’s something to think about.

By the way, doing the right thing using the law is generally not the easy path. That’s something worth noting. It’s generally the hard road, requiring courage, determination, intestinal fortitude. You can sit and study the law all you want, but it’s hard to stand up to injustice.

I’m not saying you have to. You don’t have to go to Ferguson. You don’t have to crusade for equality. You don’t even have to write an article about things that may need change in your community. But you do have to ask the questions. If you do, you may ask not ask yourself “Why,” but you may ask yourself “Why do I allow this to happen?”

That’s what this course is all about.


[Photo Credit: Dr. Heckle. ]

Welcome to Consumer Economics a.k.a. “How Not to Go Broke”

Welcome to Consumer Economics. Let’s think of this class as Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship.

This class is near and dear to my heart, because, quite honestly, I’ve made every mistake I’m going to teach you not to make. I’m great at messing up. In fact, this class oughta be called “Watch Casey and Do the Opposite.”

Two books I like better than the textbook: 

Book One: 

I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi.  If you haven’t read his work, Ramit is a successful author/entrepreneur. He’s built his businesses studying effective habits and training others. You can go to his website at iwillteachyoutoberich.com where you’ll get a ton of success habits free. Follow Ramit at @ramit. If you like his work, listen to this podcast with Ramit and author/entrepreneur James Altucher. 

Bonus: Ramit and James are fairly well-known in entrepreneurship circles. Here, they read their hate mail in a four-minute YouTube video that’s worth your time. When you become famous, you’ll want to save your hate mail for something productive.

Book Two: 

The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, & Broke by Suze Orman. Suze Orman’s a rock star financial advisor. You can see her show on TV where she tells callers who request advice about whether they can make a purchase that they are “DENIED!” This book is interesting and practical. Here’s her website. She’s worth reading and watching.

More Books: The Entrepreneurship Library: 

I have a set of reserve books in the Entrepreneurship Library. Some are hard-core business and others are motivational, relationship-building, career-oriented, or hard-core finance. They would all help you to build success thinking and give yourself the skills you need to succeed after you walk out the doors.

But wait…before you go…

Here’s a lame powerpoint to psych you up. You’re welcome:

Financial Literacy Intro powerpoint



[Photo credit: Ringling College of Art & Design: Money Matters]