Written by 1:49 pm Financial Wellbeing

How to win that economics debate with friends and family

debate winner

As we head into the holiday season, we’re once again getting to our favorite event of the year:

Meaningless debates with close friends and family

Pandemic and politics aside, no storyline captures the dinner table narrative like the economy. 

Since you’re fantastic and you read this blog, we thought we’d give your some pointers to not only win those debates but own them.

Here goes.

Don’t be an asshole.

We at abroaden are practicing GYSHIDOs. Before you think we’re some weird nipponophiles, the word is an acronym for a bullet-proof working philosophy:

Get Your Shit Done. 

It’s a straightforward movement meant to turbocharge productivity and work-life balance. 

We think rule number seven — don’t be an asshole — translates well into any debate about the economy.

The goal, after all, isn’t to prove that you’re right but to convince people of your line of thinking. 

That requires as much salesmanship and diplomacy as it does sound reasoning. 

If you avoid being an asshole, you’ll win the debate, potentially without your opinionated uncle knowing it.

Data is your friend.

We can say whatever we want, but it’s mostly worthless if the numbers aren’t there to back our statements. 

(The cryptocurrency movement is trying to prove that assessment wrong. However, disobeying the laws of physics and economics doesn’t usually end well). 

We’re constantly looking at different financial data and indicators here when we’re making our decisions. 

Here are some of our favorite sources. 

Trading Economics

Trading Economics offers a fantastic snapshot of different data points across the financial universe. We turn there first to find an obscure source or grab a quick picture of what’s going on with a part of the economy. 

Trading View 

This stock and asset-charting tool let you quickly plot almost any tradable asset. Here, you can compare different trends visually with each other.

That said, I would advise against whipping out a chart during your debate as it would likely make you look like an asshole (see the above point).  

FX Street

Currencies are a massive part of our lives as people living abroad. FXStreet has excellent coverage of the foreign exchange market. It’s a bit technical, but you’ll get the idea of what’s going on with currency markets. 

Our World in Data

This fantastic database backed by Oxford University has stats and interactive charts on a broad range of topics. What’s more is that there are insightful articles on subjects spanning the width of our economy and society.

Any source from a government or central bank

Governments in general and central banks in particular capture an enormous amount of data. When talking about inflation or other macroeconomic (entire economy) indicators, we love looking at their data. 

For example, the European Central Bank has this excellent inflation dashboard that we look at frequently.  

The OECD has data on much of the developing and developed world. 

If you want to drill down on the economy or any other data point at a country level, check their national statistics agency or central bank. 

Context is essential to the debate too.

Raise your hand if you think there’s anything normal right now about the economy or anything else. 

Right.

So with that in mind, whatever argument or counterargument you make needs to be within that context. 

First, a lot of the data we see about the economy compares to a year ago. (Year over Year comparisons).

2020 was the strangest year in our lifetimes, not to mention one of the most bizarre in human history. 

Many of the metrics we see right now are one-off events that represent significant outliers in a trend. 

Second, we can’t compare what’s happening in the developed world to what we see elsewhere. 

Turkish-style meltdown isn’t reflective of the EU’s or United States’ situation. 

Even comparing the UK to the rest of Europe isn’t fair due to different situations. 

Context matters as it adds credibility. 


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Try to tell (a relatable) story to win the debate.

Storytelling is so underrated, yet by far one of the most powerful tools we have as successful debaters.

By framing your argument in a story, you can immediately help draw relationships in your audience’s mind. 

Our brains are both mighty and stunningly lazy. To the latter, we like to make quick connections between things we already know to draw flawed but acceptable conclusions. 

Obviously, the concept goes far beyond economics. However, it still has tons of merit in debating the economy. 

The story you tell doesn’t have to be complex. In fact, the simpler it is, the better.

What it does need to do is drive your point home, especially when you’re using data to back up your argument. 

Don’t be an asshole (seriously). 

Again, nobody likes an asshole. 

Sure, your friends and family love you, but you still want them to like you. 

The jury’s out on whether or not booze will help or hinder these discussions. 

Then again, it’s the holidays, and it’s 2021, so: 🤷. 

Good luck!

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