VT Speaking Challenge 12: Economics (經濟學)? Let me tell you a joke.

Vocabulary Challenge 12: https://tw.voicetube.com/everyday/20190605

心智圖詞彙攻略: ericvocab.com 


Ah! Economics! Let me tell you a joke.

A mathematician, an accountant, and an economist apply for the same job. 一位數學家,會計師和經濟學家申請同樣的工作。
The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks “What does two plus two equal?" The mathematician replies “Four." The interviewer asks “Four, exactly?" The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says “Yes, four, exactly."面試官叫進來數學家並問兩加二等於什麼?數學家回答四個。面試官問四,你確認?數學家懷疑地看著面試官並說是,四,當然啊。Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question “What do two plus two equal?" The accountant says “On average, four – give or take ten percent, but on average, four." 然後面試官叫進來會計師,並問同樣的問題兩加二等於什麼?會計師說:平均而言,四給予或採取百分之十,但平均而言,四。

Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question “What do two plus two equal?" The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says, “What do you want it to equal"?


Did you get that? It means an economist can interpret numbers and data in numerous different ways. In truth, it is almost impossible to fully understand the economy because there are so many factors involved, and there are so many economic theories and interpretation of data.

But, what do you think is good for the economy of your own country? Ask you friends and they are sure to give you many different opinions. OK, let’s move on to our sentence of the day.

That means when the price goes down, the quantity demanded increases.


So let’s say this sentence again.

That means when the price goes down, the quantity demanded increases.


That means when the price goes down, the quantity demanded increases.

What are the possible thought groups?

That means when the price goes down, (1)

the quantity demanded increases. (2)

Sounds easy?

How about intonation?

That means when the price goes down, (fall-rise)

the quantity demanded increases. (down)


What about the sentence stress? You could say:

That means when the price goes down, (1)

the quantity demanded increases. (2)

Now, it sounds easy right, but here is one thing I did not focus on before.

We’ve been talking about sentence and word stress from the speaker’s perspective, but what about listeners?

When you are listening, pay attention to stressed words and they can help you make notes.

Here, think of how you can take notes.


You do not have time to write every word out when you are taking notes during a lecture, a test, or a business meeting so you have to abbreviate. Also, spelling words out can interfere with your listening. Sometimes, when you attempt to spell out difficult words, it disrupts your focus.

OK, it’s grammar time!!!

That means when the price goes down, (1)

the quantity demanded increases. (2)

Here we have the same sentence pattern we talked about before. When…,…

Let’s practice some more sentence patterns with when

When the price drops, the quantity demanded goes up.

When the price goes up, the quantity demanded falls.

So, there’s an inverse relationship between price and demand.

Did you take down notes for that?

OK, let’s take a break!

I notice that many of my followers on fanpage is interested in economics, but many tell me they are not interested in politics.

To be honest, I am not interested in any ONE particular subject. I’m interested in learning and understanding anything relevant to our lives today, but to be able to do this, I need to understand and consider everything.

In academia, economics deals with studying and influencing the economy. On the other hand, politics is the theory and practice of influencing people through the governments, elections and political parties.

In theory, the two are separate. However,  in practice, there is a strong relationship between economics and politics because they are both social sciences and deal with statistics, trends, theories, and also opinions.

Many economic issues today are viewed through political beliefs. For example, some people want less government or political intervention in the economy because they are suspicious of government interference. Therefore, they prefer economic policies which seek to reduce government interference in the economy. For example,  supply-side economics, which concentrates on deregulation, privatization and tax cuts.

On the other hand, people and their representatives may prefer promoting greater equality in society and be more willing to encourage government intervention to pursue that end. They might encourage the government to levy more taxes and put restrictions on certain business practices. Thus, I really do not see how these two fields can be completely independent of each other.

In my opinion, some might be less inclined to talk about politics because they do not want to discuss controversial topics. I think it’s everyone’s choice to do what they want, but please note that no domain is purely independent. Everything is connected in our world today and you must have a solid understanding of each field to better understand complex issues.

OK, let’s get back to English learning! 

Word Form
1. slope

a surface that lies at an angle to the horizontal so that some points on it are higher than others

a steep slope 陡峭的斜坡
a gentle (=not steep) slope 一個不陡峭的斜坡

The curve shows a steep slope.

2. substitute

substitute a thing or person that is used instead of another thing or person


substitute for的替代品

Tofu can be used as a meat substitute in vegetarian recipes.


3. marginal utility

the benefit gained from consuming one additional unit of a product or service.


the law of diminishing marginal utility

He ate too many cookies, and eating one more will not bring him much pleasure. This is known as diminishing marginal utility.


4. gallon
a unit for measuring volume加侖a gallon of
一加侖1 gallon = 3.785How much does a gallon of petrol cost?
5. purchasing power

A person’s purchasing power is their ability to buy goods (個人的)購買力The purchasing power of people living on investment income has fallen as interest rates have gone down.



OK, that’s another full lesson, but there is so much more to talk about!

Join us for more talks on art in our vocab class! I will provide you with more info there. Ericvocab.com!

See you next week!

The song of the week is



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