A libertarian inclined blog for teachers and learners of all ages. Comments, emails and links to other educational stuff welcome.

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Next entry: The economists can tell you how heretics are treated because they are heretics
Previous entry: Links
Saturday December 08 2007

Boris Johnson supplies another reason for taking maths seriously:

What is the single biggest financial decision we have to take? It’s about buying a house. It’s about how to finance the debt involved in taking out a mortgage. It involves understanding concepts of percentages and interest; and there is abundant evidence that millions of Britons either do not care about the debt they are taking on, or do not really understand the meaning of these squiggly figures for their future prosperity.

I have a chum who provides shared equity mortgages for some of the most disadvantaged people in Britain. He is passionately committed to helping people on to the property ladder. He wants to give them the opportunity to have at least a stake in their own home. He wants them to have that liberating sense of ownership - the pride in their own possession that millions have acquired in the past 30 years.

And yet he has been amazed at the deals they are willing to accept from less scrupulous lenders, and the risks they are willing to run with their lives. It’s not that they are stupid, he says. “It’s that they just haven’t been educated to understand the maths. They don’t see what an 11 per cent interest rate can do. They say, ‘Never mind the rate, just give me the mortgage.’ It’s ignorance.”

Good point.

image

I found this photo, with its highly appropriate sign just above Boris’s head, here.