“My Shot”, from the musical Hamilton contains lyrics that illustrate several economic concepts. First, Hamilton is talking about going to King’s College (which is now Columbia University) to gain skills as he claims “the problem is I’ve gotta lotta brains but no polish”. In another part of “My Shot” we hear from Mulligan, who’s an apprentice to a tailor. He sings: “I’m joining the rebellion cause I know it’s my chance to socially advance, instead of sewin’ some pants”.
University education is one of the main ways that individuals can improve their human capital to get better jobs and live better lives – that was true in the late 1700s and is still true today. But a university education certainly is not the only way to advance in one’s career. Most people in developed countries today do not think of joining the military as the best way to advance a career, but it was a way to advance for many in the past and likely still is in some parts of the world. This can lead into the ways to acquire human capital today that will increase wages.
“My Shot” also features discussions on other economic issues, including economic freedom, taxes, slavery, and time preferences.
Discussion Questions for “My Shot”