portrait of Jim LukeI’m Jim Luke.  I teach college economics and this is my teaching portfolio website.  It’s a site where students can get my course syllabi, learn about the required books, and get other resources.  It’s also where I keep my teaching portfolio and keep track of what activities I’ve been doing to justify my pay as a professor, as well as miscellaneous observations.  You’re welcome to browse. If you’re interested in my background, check out the “Who Is Jim?” tab above.

I teach and explain on the web using the name “Econproph”.  So my public blog on economics topics and news is at:

My teaching is done using some websites I’ve created for my courses at econproph.net.  Right now there are the following course sites:

The public is welcome to browse, use, and study my course sites – they’re free and Creative Commons –Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.  However, if you want to get college credit for taking the courses then you need to register and pay tuition at a school where I teach.

I have helped start a non-profit organization called Malartu Inc.  Malartu supports professors in higher education to improve teaching effectiveness and efficiency through better technology, tools, professional development, and networks.  All of it open based.  For more information on Malartu, see their website at Malartu.org org read this somewhat dated interview from Converge magazine.

To contact me, either use Twitter where I am @econproph (if you follow me you can send a Direct Mesage) or use email to:   econproph@gmail.com.


  1. Steve Lister
    July 5, 2015 @ 4:48 pm

    Your description of government debt leaves me wondering is there any downside to deficit federal spending and a public debt of $18Trillion+? If not, why don’t we make it $30T or greater? Is there, in your opinion, no limit to the amount of national debt that the US can carry?


    • John Payne
      August 9, 2015 @ 2:25 pm

      I’m not Jim, but I still have an opinion. Public debt is just one datum in a complex economy like ours. Just as an illustration, Wikipedia makes this observation:

      In 2013, United States public debt-to-GDP ratio was 71.8%, according to the CIA World Factbook,[2] or 104.5%, according to the IMF including external debt. The level of public debt in Japan 2013 was 243.2% of GDP, in China 22.4% and in India 66.7%, according to the IMF, while the public debt-to-GDP ratio in 2013 was at 76.9% of GDP in Germany, 87.2% in the United Kingdom, 92.2% in France and 127.9% in Italy, according to Eurostat.

      I cannot say whether these figures are accurate, but they point out that the level of public debt is not an accurate or adequate measure of the health of a national economy. The countries mentioned have very different economies and very different economic prognoses, although the economic strength of Germany, the UK, France and Italy probably line up in the order of their debt ratios. On the other hand, Japan is not on the brink of failure the way Greece is, even though Greece’s debt to GDP ratio was 157 in 2013 — much lower than Japan’s.

      Think of it this way, lets assume that Stymi and his family have $90K income and pay $2,500 in rent, but have no debt. Fermi and his family have $90K income and pay $2,500 on a mortgage, but they owe $180K on their mortgage. Which family is economically stronger?

      This country would probably be fine with $30T in public debt. However, I would want to know what the money is being spent on. If we are pouring money into costly military hardware with a high rate of depreciation and obsolescence, I do not think that would indicate a healthy economy. If we are building infrastructure (as long as we are not building bridges to nowhere), that might be very healthy.


  2. steve burch
    August 9, 2015 @ 2:13 pm

    I enjoyed your article on GDI vs GDP, I am interested if today you still have the same conclusions. Obviously much has changed since 2011, but the gap in those benefiting from the perceived recovery seems to be still narrowing???

    Please let me know where I could find your update to this article.


  3. steve burch
    August 12, 2015 @ 10:25 am

    Nice response, I would like to know what indicators are considered the best gauge of a nations economy. If not Debt to GDP, what?


    • John Payne
      August 12, 2015 @ 9:34 pm

      I’m still not Jim and I am not an economist, but I would look at a number of factors: unemployment, employment, inflation, balance of trade, public opinion of whether the country is doing well, and so forth. My perception is that the United States is doing better than public opinion seems to indicate. We are not in an an economic boom, but neither are we still in recession. Our economy is strong and growing. I also think that taxes and public employment are both too low, but try telling that to a TEA Party Republican.


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