Here's the elevator pitch. "We bargain, we haggle, we trade with one another, and how we do all this social interaction is a function of the institutional framework that govern the nexus of exchange."
Or, as we'd communicate to social studies teachers facing a mandate to teach some economics, "Economics is the science of decision-making." There are a few details. Go, read, and understand the post.
And respecting the things people do to create that institutional framework can be the best inoculation against succumbing to the fatal conceit. Thus Elinor Ostrom.
Instead of presuming that some individuals are incompetent, evil, or irrational and others are omniscient, I presume that individuals have similar limited capabilities to reason and figure out the structure of complex environments. It is my responsibility as a scientist to ascertain what problems individuals are trying to solve and what factors help or hinder them in these efforts. When the problems that I observe involve lack of predictability, information and trust, as well as high levels of complexity and transactional difficulties, then my efforts to explain must take these problems overtly into account rather than assuming them away.Finally, mastery of economics is mastery of a few fundamentals. There were semesters when Mr Boettke taught both introductory economics and a graduate course. The introductory course ought not be some overwhelming presentation of arcana. Neither ought the graduate course be.
It wasn’t, let me assure you, by trying to teach a water-downed version of my graduate classes to freshman. If anything, it was reiterating basic economics to graduate students who often had their intuition beaten out of them by a profession that emphasizes formalism and cleverness over basic economic reasoning and correctness. A persistent and consistent application of opportunity cost reasoning is as valuable to communicate to Ph.D. students as it is to freshman.Just go, read, understand.