The economic system we live in does not serve the majority of the people. Yet many of us feel that economics is too complicated to understand. We all participate in the economy in some way; we all have a right to have an opinion on economics.

Econo-wha? was a joint project between Debt and Development Coalition Ireland (Financial Justice Ireland's former name) and the UCD School of Social Justice. It was developed by Sian Crowley (2016 & 2014) and Mark Malone (2014). The website was designed by Aubrey Robinson.

The project was partially funded by the European Union and Irish Aid, and continues to be funded by Irish Aid. The views expressed on this website are the sole responsibility of Econo-wha? and Financial Justice Ireland, and can in no way be taken to reflect the official views of the European Union and Irish Aid. The content was primarily developed between 2014 and 2018.

Econo-wha? will be updated periodically by Financial Justice Ireland. It is available for use by any individuals and groups that wish to make use of it. We hope you enjoy it!

Newspapers and news outlets neatly categorise life into business, finance, political, and world news sections. This presents life as categorised, and can hide how power relationships work in our world, and how they affect ordinary people. Many social problems we experience are global, such as high levels of poverty and unemployment, rising inequality, the destruction of the environment, and the privatisation of essential public services. These huge issues seem beyond our control, but they are the result of specific choices made by people with the power to enforce those decisions.

Still, it’s out of our control so there’s nothing we can do, right?

Well, actually, we don’t agree. We believe that people are powerful and capable of creating social change through collective action.

When we choose to examine our own experiences, and question ‘facts’, we can be surprised by the results. Econo-wha? is designed to support us in questioning why things are the way they are, and exploring what we can do to act for a more just global society.

We all have the power to think critically, and to influence the decisions of our governments in democracies. The economic system we live in directly influences all of our lives, and we are all experts of our own experiences.

Through Econo-wha? we hope to uncover different perspectives on the causes and consequences of the global financial crisis, and to think about economics in a way that puts justice for people and the planet first.

The themes explored here connect the experiences of people living in Ireland and Europe with people all over the world, and put the active voices of communities in struggle, and social movement participants to the fore.

Econo-wha? is a free online reading and learning tool for adult learners.

  • It is comprised of 10 sessions, each with things to read and watch.
  • Each session has suggested discussion questions to get your discussion started, keywords to look up in the glossary, and proposed learning outcomes.
  • Each session features a guest blogger who has already had a look at the resources and has responded with an original piece to some of the guide questions.
  • The guest bloggers come from different backgrounds and offer different perspectives. Their responses vary in length, use of language, and writing style.
  • We propose that you form a learning circle with some peers to support the use Econo-wha? (See the ‘How?’ page for more on this.)
  • The ‘Resources’ section also contains ‘Tools for Popular Education‘, which can be helpful for finding creative ways of supporting learning in groups, and a ‘Glossary‘ of new or unusual words.
  • You will also find ‘Extra Reading and Viewing’ beneath some sections, which might be useful for anyone who wishes to take their learning further.
  • Econo-wha? brings a lot of different material together to aid the learning process. We are facilitating access to these resources as useful educational tools but do not endorse all the views contained within them. We invite you to challenge and question the material in a way that is useful for you. We invite you to always ask ‘Why?’
  • If you would like to suggest other resources feel free to email us at education@financialjustice.ie