I love all pop culture that dares to be smart. Still, I had not fully realized how much of an economics geek I had become until I watched "Fear the Boom and Bust", a rap video recently featured on NPR that contrasts the philosophies of John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek. This beautiful work manages to be unapologetically thick with ideas and still convey the core of the debate to a layman's audience. I've been reading the Wall Street Journal for the past twenty years, so the on-going battle to retrieve our nation's fiscal policy from the Keynesians is familiar to me, but the video makes it much more dramatic.
On the outside, economics looks like the driest form of abstraction. It took writers like Dubner and Levitt (Freakonomics) and Ariely (Predictably Irrational) to remind us that economics is really the study of human decision-making, which makes the field both accessible and endlessly fascinating. Or, to put it another way: economics is the study of how people work together in a society. I'm not sure if you can have a really well-developed sense of fairness, freedom, or the meaning of life without some basic understanding of economics.