Hoisted from comments. Reader T-Bone on Economics (with a couple minor edits to extricate it from the longer comment):
I felt like I knew economics before I ever even had a class on economics, even though I may not have known any of the terms like M1, supply side economics and such. All of economics is just a study of human behavior and decision-making in the face of different circumstances. There are plenty of important things that generally aren’t mentioned in most economics classes, the intangibles. Maybe economics is best taught in conjuction with philosophy.
Perhaps one advantage of not learning economics formally is that you need everything proven logically. You don’t read about economic “truths” and just take them as undeniable fact. You need to have it proven. Otherwise, I might believe that tax cuts are a cure-all that always boosts economic growth. Trying to figure out why that might be the case leads to breaking down that argument into each of the small steps that make it up, and examining how people in different situations react to the changes. So that’s my advice to those who think they don’t know economics. Break everything down into small cause-and-effect steps, apply it to real people and yourself rather than a generalization of people, and your conclusions will be correct unless you missed an important factor.