Rather than use Crusoe's story to justify a concept - “This is specialisation, remember it by the story of Crusoe”, the reverse approach could be taken. “Here is a the story of Crusoe, how would we understand that economics of the story?” Having a structured method of economic inquiry then allows students to ‘discover’ the economic concepts you really want to teach them.…Bingo!
Some big reasons this approach works.
1. It is holistic. It introduces analysis and synthesis simultaneously in terms of context.
2. It allows students to discover things rather than inform them. Discovery is the basis of learning and promotes lifelong learning. Moreover, informing students about matters that are obviously contrived and don't appear to be realistic inevitably evokes the response, "That's bullshit." This is typical of the way Econ 101 has been taught.
Fresh Economic Thinking
Robinson Crusoe’s real economic choices
Cameron K. Murray