Economics in 10 simple questions: A go-to guide to navigate tough times

Economics in 10 simple questions: A go-to guide to navigate tough times

Rupal Patel became interested in economics when she was still in school, and newspapers were filled with updates on the 2007-8 financial crisis, GDP figures, and businesses closing down. She wondered what all this had to do with her pocket money.

Today, Rupal is an economist at the Bank of England, where she spends her days trying to make sure such crashes don't happen in future – and working out how to respond if they do.

Once more, we're wondering about the post-pandemic closing of high street chains like Debenham's, the astonishing rise in the cost of living, and the colossal hit fuel prices have received amid the Ukraine crisis. This makes authors Rupal Patel and Jack Meaning intervention very timely.

We sought to delve deeper into the book 'Can't We Just Print More Money? Economics in Ten Simple Questions' and explore the concepts more with author Rupal Patel for iGlobal.

Talking about how this book can be a handy guide to swim through this cost-of-living crisis that we all are facing right now, Patel said: "We hope this book will provide a go-to guide for anyone wondering why their energy bills are going up or why they're finding it difficult to find a plumber at the moment. Many people are feeling the pinch but don't fully understand why prices are increasing.

"By helping people to understand the global economic forces shaping their day-to-day lives, we hope that people will be better able to navigate this turbulent time. The global economy has faced many challenges over the last few years and continues to do so. It's important for people to understand what big events like the pandemic and now the Russia-Ukraine war means for the economy and how it impacts their lives."

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Although, the book 'Can't We Just Print More Money?' explains much more than everyday observations, like why it's costing more to fill up a car tank these days. Most importantly, it explains complex economic ideas in a simple, exciting, and fool proof way, which is easier for every layman to understand.

Patel thinks this book is for everyone, from a young adult considering an economics major in University to a qualified economist who would want a refresher on this subject.

"It's been an absolute privilege to write the Bank of England's first-ever book in its 350-year history. My co-author Jack and I wrote this book over the pandemic, which reminded us even more that economics isn't just something that happens within the walls of Threadneedle Street in London, where the Bank of England is situated, but it's everywhere and affects the day-to-day life of all of us, whether you're an economist or not. It was a challenging experience, juggling responding to the Covid crisis with writing the book, but definitely a rewarding one if this book helps people understand the impact economics and policy has on their lives," Patel explained how she has enjoyed whole experience of writing a pop-econ book.

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The book is fundamentally structured around ten topics, which the authors and researchers have been asked at the Bank of England outreach events or by friends and family:

  • Where does my breakfast come from?

  • Can economics solve climate change?

  • How do I get a pay rise?

  • Why am I richer than my great-great grandma?

  • Why are so many of my clothes made in Asia?

  • Why aren't Freddos 10p anymore?

  • What actually is money?

  • Why shouldn't I hoard all my money under the mattress?

  • Why did no one see the crash coming?

  • Can't we just print more money?

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Born and raised in London, Patel likes to keep in touch with her extended maternal family who're in India. Her father's side of the family having migrated to Uganda from India a few generations back, have all now settled in London.

"I first studied economics at school at the beginning of the financial crisis to better understand why Lehman Brothers' failure was so important and why it mattered to me. I enjoyed economics so much as it helped me understand what was happening around me that I decided to study it at University at an undergraduate level at the University of Nottingham and then later at a master's level at the London School of Economics. After University, I joined the Bank of England as a fresh-faced graduate on the graduate scheme and have since not left. I really enjoy working at the Bank of England because of the interesting, relevant and impactful work and my bright and dedicated colleagues," beamed Patel.

"I would definitely write another book if it helped people continue to be more engaged and understand the economy better," she said. And we look forward to reading more such books handling complex economic matters so lucidly well.

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