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Expert Guide to the John Locke Essay Competition Economics Questions

Expert Guide to the John Locke Essay Competition Economics Questions

John Locke Essay Competition just released its economics questions for 2024! Let’s dive deeper to understand John Locke Essay Competition Economics Questions, specifically what they’re asking, and identify common themes across prompts throughout the year. In this comprehensive guide, we'll navigate through various economic questions inspired by Locke's works, offering insightful tips and strategies to help you confidently ace your essays.
1. John Locke Essay Competition Economics Questions 2024

Q1. What is the optimal global population? 

Q2. Accurate news reporting is a public good. Does it follow that news agencies should be funded from taxation?

Q3. Do successful business people benefit others when making their money, when spending it, both, or neither?

2. John Locke Essay Competition Economics Questions Analysis

First, let’s take a look at the essay prompts from 2021 to 2023 to see the trends in questions.


  • Q1. A government funds its own expenditure by taxing its population. Suppose, instead, it relied solely on money newly created by the central bank? What would be the advantages and/or disadvantages? 
  • Q2. In his thought experiment, the Iowa Car Crop, David Friedman tries to show that growing wheat is, in an important sense, just another ‘technology’ we can use for manufacturing cars, and in some circumstances a much more efficient one. If international trade is thus a way of using less valuable inputs to produce more valuable outputs, why would governments impose trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas, thereby forcing producers to be more wasteful and less efficient?
  • Q3. What would happen if we banned billionaires?


  • Q1. Is Bitcoin a blessing or a curse?
  • Q2. What’s wrong with the housing market? How can we fix it?
  • Q3. Should Amazon pay people more? What would happen if they immediately increased every worker’s salary by twenty percent?
  • Q4.  Is Henry George’s land value tax fair, efficient, both, or neither?


  • Q1. How would the education sector change if governments were no longer involved?
  • Q2. There is considerable excess demand for undergraduate places at Oxford. The admissions process rations supply by favoring cleverer students at the expense of others. Is this fair? Does it exacerbate inequality? What is the University’s optimal response to this scarcity?
  • Q3. Should we abolish the minimum wage?


Each question intersects with other topics as well, but from all the questions from 3 years ago, we can see some common themes:

  • Macroeconomics such as globalization, trade barriers: questions about taxation (q1 2023), trade barriers (q2), and the minimum wage (q3 2021). These questions often explore the trade-offs between government intervention and economic growth.
  • Impact of policy changes: Many questions ask about the potential consequences of specific policy changes. For instance, questions about banning billionaires, increasing worker salaries, and abolishing the minimum wage prompt ask about students’ perspective of how such actions might affect economic outcomes.
  • Current Technological Innovation: The Iowa Car Crop and Bitcoin questions demonstrate an interest in the role of current technology and innovation in the economy.

Overall, the questions reflect a broad range of economic concepts and policy issues, inviting participants to analyze complex economic phenomena, evaluate policy impact, and engage in debates about the roles of government in the economy. They encourage critical thinking, interdisciplinary analysis, and consideration of both theoretical and practical implications.

3. How to approach 2024 John Locke Essay Competition: Economics Questions

Q1. What is the optimal global population? 

Let’s dissect the question into two aspects: global population, and what’s considered optimal global population. In order to fully understand this question, it’s important for students to understand the context of the topic mentioned by delving deeper into population trends over the year to analyze and identify changes. By looking at this from a historical lens compared to the current global population, students can make an argument about what’s optimal then versus now. Using this historical data, students can evaluate population growth under the factor of economic growth, as this relationship is the key to answer what the optimal global population might be.

Since this is an Economic question, don’t forget to incorporate economic models into your analysis. For this question, it may be helpful to provide economic growth model when incorporating population growth with other factors of economic growth like technological advancement, productivity, etc., to answer the question  

This is an open-ended question with many ways to approach and solve it. Additionally, considering factors such as resource availability, environmental sustainability, and technological advancements can provide valuable insights into determining an optimal global population. Moreover, students may also consider ethical considerations and societal values when proposing their arguments.

Q2. Accurate news reporting is a public good. Does it follow that news agencies should be funded from taxation?

First thing first, set up context for the question, since there are two main parts: a claim about accurate news reporting, and a question about government funding. Students can definitely bring up a broader conversation about what government expenditure looks like today and in the past in their home country and around the world. Students can also analyze government expenditure on media funding, both historically and in the present day, to provide context for their argument.

Writing any argumentative essay, it’s important to present both sides of the argument such as, in this case, bringing up the pros and cons of government funding. Additionally, integrating John Locke’s economic theory and journal research into the analysis would be a crucial bonus point to strengthen the argument.

Q3. Do successful business people benefit others when making their money, when spending it, both, or neither?

For this question, students have a lot of room to interpret and analyze economic competition and, in a broader context, the role of private enterprise in driving economic activity, or the role of business investment and consumer spending. You can analyze from different perspectives and factors when thinking about the relationship between business, consumer, investment, and spending.

Don’t forget to incorporate economic models to show these dynamics, such as the demand/supply model. Additionally, it’s also crucial to analyze the balance and imbalance between how people are making and spending money in connection to the current situation with inflation.

4. Aralia’s John Locke Competition Prep
Writing Competition Aralia Education

In this John Locke Essay Competition Prep course, students will learn the ins and outs of essay writing, in preparation for entering the competition. We offer prep classes in all categories: philosophy, politics, economics, history, psychology, theology, and law. Students will choose one topic, compose an original thesis and argument, and write an essay for submission. Students will engage in a guided analysis of primary and secondary sources, develop critical thinking skills, and discover interesting insights. In addition to the group lecture classes, students will receive guidance on their individual projects from the instructor, in one-on-one sessions.


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