Greg Caskey is an economics teacher at the Delaware military academy and he’s receiving a lot of attention for teaching his high school students economics through rap.
Teaching lessons through song is nothing new. In fact, just about anyone reading this probably learned their ABC’s through song. After all, a melody can help facts stick in the mind, even when the content matter is not of interest to an individual.
Recently, a major voice in the world of economics shined a bright light on Caskey. Economist and syndicated columnist, Walter Williams, highlighted Caskey in one of his columns and that article was published in over 100 newspapers around the county.
“it appears to be an excellent technique to excite and enlighten younger people, who may have alien and hostile minds to learning free market economic principles.”
While Williams admits that he’s not a fan of rap, but he makes it clear he is a fan of Caskey.
Williams says “it appears to be an excellent technique to excite and enlighten younger people, who may have alien and hostile minds to learning free market economic principles.”
Caskey, referes to his Hip-Hop alter-ego as M.C. Caskey and his music/lesson plans are call HipHoponomics. Caskey has already published two albums on Sound Cloud and he’s working on his third this summer.
After a short conversation with Caskey, you’ll quickly learn that this is no joke for him. He puts a lot of effort into his lyrics and manages to deliver a lot of information in short bursts. Something that hip-hop lends itself to and is part of the success of the Broadway musical Hamilton.
Caskey says one of his favorite songs is ‘Emergent Order’. In the song, an Adam Smith theory of self interest is front and center.
“Smith’s key idea here is that if people are left to be free then they will behave in ways that are beneficial towards society…usually.”
Caskey says he opens up the song with lyrics based on Adam Smith’s book ‘The Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations’
“It ain’t the kindness of the butcher that gets you your meal, but regard to his own self interest appeal”
“2017 translation, the butcher doesn’t care about you, but because he wants to feed his family, he will serve you veal, beef or whatever you want.”
Caskey says this is basically the nature of most exchanges that takes place in the world, and thus humanity is united through this network of exchanges that emerges spontaneously.
Caskey says he performs the songs in class and then passes out copies of the lyrics. He then requires the students to make their own HipHoponomics tracks and incentivizes performance through extra credit.
“Debate tracks prove to be the most powerful of teaching tools.” says Caskey.
Debate tracks cover topics like minimum wage, Brexit, and free trade vs. protectionism.
Caskey then has the students pull out key sides of the arguments by reading through lyrics. He says it really creates a competitive academic atmosphere.
You can learn more about Greg Caskey and HipHoponomics by listening to Ep. 07 of Class Dismissed.