Conceptual Fossils: Why Do We Keep Teaching Irrelevant Ideas in First Year Economics?
The teaching of microeconomics in first year has become something of a ritual with similar content being taught in universities across the United Kingdom and around the world. As a result, innovation in both textbooks and courses seems to be confined to teaching methods or presentation. This has resulted in the preservation of what this chapter calls ‘conceptual fossils’. These are economic concepts or methods of teaching a concept that have no relevance to how modern economics is understood. The chapter shows how diminishing marginal utility is unnecessary, misleading, and has no real evidence in its favour, distracting students from more important ideas.
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