About Voices on the Economy
Inspire solutions to our nation’s urgent economic problems by building a culture of respectful listening, passionate advocacy, and intelligent debate.
We line up the liberal, radical, and conservative perspectives on economic issues – side by side, in a completely unbiased way – and invite people to try on those competing voices so they can fluently articulate each one.
People from all walks of life find their voices on the issues and become educated voters; combative debate becomes solution-focused conversation; and the nation moves forward in the best possible way.
Voices On The Economy (VOTE) is an award-winning nonprofit organization that addresses a debilitating problem in our nation. We all know that liberals, conservatives, and radicals routinely vilify and reject one another’s ideas out of hand. But these are ideas that could spark brilliant solutions to our critical economic problems, if only we would hear them with an open mind. The stakes couldn’t be higher. If we don’t find alternatives to scornful debates, the logjams will continue. We risk our nation’s prosperity and our collective well-being.
Many people think, “Economics? That’s not relevant to me.” Not true! Economics is about everything in our lives — from smog in the atmosphere, to quality healthcare, to hunger in our country, to affordable housing. As a nation, we could have everything we need for all to thrive, but what we don’t yet have are the creative economic solutions to realize this potential. The VOTE Program is founded on the belief that systems change is possible. We can address the root causes of our most pressing problems. It’s time to dispel the notion that finding those solutions is a task best left to the “experts.” VOTE inspires all of us to become the next great economic thinkers who can solve the core human question of how to create prosperity.
This program is the antidote to toxic economic partisanship and limited thinking in the classroom, media, and wider society. We present completely unbiased views of multiple economic perspectives by defying the norm of teaching a single perspective as the Truth. The best solutions to move our nation forward come from pluralistic thinking — not shouting one another down and shutting out good ideas. We change the conversation by giving participants hands-on practice with civil discourse, while at the same time teaching basic economic literacy so that every person from every background can enter the larger conversations in an informed way and “vote” – at the ballot box, at the kitchen table, and in every other area of life.
Each of us has a stake in the future of our country. Each of us has a responsibility to be informed about the pressing economic issues that affect us all: housing, livelihood, immigration, agriculture, product safety, the environment, income distribution, market power, health care, retirement security, international trade, economic stability, the federal budget, and more. By analyzing issues from the conservative, radical, and liberal perspectives, we maximize our ability to find ingenious solutions. Our award-winning program is taught in K–20 classrooms, prisons, senior centers, churches, synagogues, political organizations, and more.
But please don’t think the VOTE Program is just a curriculum. Better to compare it to a Sputnik moment. People had looked up at the sky for millennia, but the launch of the first satellite sparked the human imagination in a new way, and a whole generation fell in love with space exploration. VOTE sparks people to fall in love with the questions economists have been asking for hundreds of years: How do we create a community where people have what they need to flourish? How do we create a world where we are released from worry about our physical well-being and free to make our unique, positive contributions to society? There are no limits to the possibilities and beauty of what we can accomplish through our economic relationships when we harness the intelligence and imagination of the whole nation to create economic well-being for all.
Since 1992, Amy S. Cramer, PhD, has been teaching multiple perspectives on economic issues. After earning her doctorate in economics from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she developed a unique interdisciplinary program that evolved over the decades to become Voices On The Economy (VOTE). In 2015 VOTE launched as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Dr. Cramer’s teaching experience includes people of all ages and education levels. She served on the faculty at Trinity College, Clark University, and the University of Arizona. Currently, she is a full-time economics professor and discipline coordinator for Pima Community College (PCC) in southern Arizona. PCC is a co-sponsor of the VOTE Program Teacher Training Series. The VOTE Program also receives generous support from the Thomas R. Brown Foundations. The VOTE textbook, Volume I, Voices On The Economy: How Open-Minded Exploration of Rival Perspectives Can Spark Solutions to Our Economic Problems was co-written by Cramer and Laura Markowitz is a National Magazine Award–winning feature writer and multimedia producer and contributing producer for Arizona Public Media.
Economics Education Leadership Award, Arizona Council for Economics Education
Outstanding Faculty Award, Pima Community College
Best in Class Teaching Award, National Economics Teaching Association