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When I think about the ostrich mentality many Australians take toward politics, and economics it genuinely terrifies me.

The more I learn about the economy, the more I understand how important open education is.

The information we need to make an informed decision on government policy, monetary policy and other economic matters like housing, is purposefully hidden from us in jargon, initialisms and complicated words.

Unless you studied economics or finance in university – or have a naturally inquisitive personality and like to decode complicated concepts, you would probably never bother looking into it.

One of the potential problems that could have caused this level of apathy is that fact that university in Australia is expensive. This encourages young Aussies to instead leave school early to start an apprenticeship, or to do their final exams before getting straight into the workforce, where they can work their way up the corporate ladder.

The issue I have with this, is not that people aren’t getting degrees, as they’re essentially just a piece of paper. The issue I have with so many Australians deciding against tertiary education, is that high school doesn’t teach you to to question the information you read like university does.

The process of developing your own thoughts based on the research of others, specifically having to find two or three other academic sources for the arguments you make, changes the way you think.

When I started my media degree back in 2010, I remember wondering why they kept drilling into us “don’t believe everything you read.” Why would they be telling us to question the industry we’re going into?

Now, after ten years working in the field I understand why.

Every story you read has a purpose.

Whether it’s to attract viewers, promote a product through an advertorial partnership or push a political view.

When we read information we need to question who wrote it, and why they wrote it like that.

Most “true” news is very depressing, as we are currently in a very strange time in human history. The planet is at a tipping point, politicians are closely intertwined with mining companies and corporations, and misogyny, racism and bigotry are still very much alive.

Ross Gittins, one of my favourite economics journalists, recently stated that:

“Sometimes I think our politics has got into a vicious circle: the worse our politicians behave, the more of us give up and tune out. But the less we monitor their behaviour, the worse and more lackadaisical the politicians become.”

I believe this cleverly articulates how, when things are unpleasant or complicated, the majority tend to tune out.

Think about the happiest people you know, and I bet you they don’t get involved in, or read a lot about politics, economics or science.

This is the case with a lot of my friends, and when I ask them why they don’t care about aboriginal rights, or the injustices of the current political system, or the fact that our government is in bed with the banks and the mining companies, I often get the same answer.

Even though it affects them directly, they would prefer “not to think about it” because it’s depressing.

To be honest, learning about economics, science and politics does depress me, I can’t lie about that. However, it also liberates me.

Being aware of your situation, and what is really going on around us is the only way we can truly grow as a society. Sticking our heads in the sand when it comes to key pillars in our society is not going to change anything, in fact it may just make it worse.

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