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HOT TOPIC Has Anybody With a Degree in Economics Got Any Value From It?

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VicFountain

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The funny thing is that in my country people believe that if you study economics and business you will be rich. That's a stereotype I used to believe in too, before I've read MJ's books.

And guess what, I chose Economics for this reason. Because it was considered so "high value" that I decided to follow that. Dumbass me.

I'm still learning every day on my own with the goal of "diversifying" my "knowledge portfolio" and just not bet everything on a college degree, as many people seem to do.
 

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The funny thing is that in my country people believe that if you study economics and business you will be rich. That's a stereotype I used to believe about too, before I've read MJ's books.

And guess what, I chose Economics for this reason. Because it was considered so "high value" that I decided to follow that. Dumbass me.
Business and Economics are always the popular “money sounding” disciplines.

Unfortunately they do not teach current trend entrepreneurship topics. A lot of the business related teaching are very outdated...7ps of marketing..

I remember learning about how things are priced at .99 to make it sounds cheaper.. and how bigger packaging In food are supposed to make customers that they got something more worthwhile than it actually is.

Looking back these ideas are ridiculously harmful..ideas based on deception and mind tricks rather than obsession with driving products and services cheaper better and faster.
 

WJK

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The funny thing is that in my country people believe that if you study economics and business you will be rich. That's a stereotype I used to believe in too, before I've read MJ's books.

And guess what, I chose Economics for this reason. Because it was considered so "high value" that I decided to follow that. Dumbass me.

I'm still learning every day on my own with the goal of "diversifying" my "knowledge portfolio" and just not bet everything on a college degree, as many people seem to do.
So, you've figured out that studying the subject and applying that knowledge to building a viable business are two different things. But, you must have the knowledge in order to apply it. Lean into your studies and build a side gig while you're studying. That will make the knowledge stick.
 

FastManCostin

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I have a degree in economics from a top university in the US and I do not think it was a particularly useful subject to study. It seemed to be more of a socialist breeding ground than a quality education that aligns with reality.

If you learn basic math, statistics, read Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell and all of Nassim Taleb's books you'll probably be better educated. But since you already understand the Unscripted philosophy you'll should be less susceptible to the university brainwashing. If I were to do it again, I would probably study something like physics or computer science, but generally I believe self-education is the best education.

However, you are in a decent position since your education cost will be much less than the $50,000+ we spend here in the US. Best of luck on your decision moving forward.

Greatest lessons I've learned from studying economics:

Central Banking is the greatest scam of our time.
Follow the money and you'll find the truth.

Cheers!
 

Jon L

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The main thing to get out of any degree is this: Learn how to think and communicate clearly. Boil down what you're learning into core principles, and then use that thought process to come to your own conclusions on things. Learn that process well and you'll be well ahead of your peers.
 

Sanj Modha

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Let's put it this way: if I turned 18 in 2020 - I wouldn't be going to university. It's a waste of time/money and there are boundless opportunities on the internet.

I would save that money in getting myself educated with Khan Academy, Udemy, Coursera, Masterclass etc courses. The best courses/training I used to accelerate my life goals were 100% free.
 

WJK

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Let's put it this way: if I turned 18 in 2020 - I wouldn't be going to university. It's a waste of time/money and there are boundless opportunities on the internet.

I would save that money in getting myself educated with Khan Academy, Udemy, Coursera, Masterclass etc courses. The best courses/training I used to accelerate my life goals were 100% free.
I agree. I have 4 college degrees including my JD. But, now I feel like a kid in a candy store. Education is SO available. I always have a non-fiction audiobook playing. And if I want to know something, I look it up on the net or watch a podcast. The world has opened up for people who love to learn. I also do it the old fashion way -- I call someone or have lunch with a person who knows what I want to know.

My questions are still endless. I was like that in school. And my career as a real estate appraiser/expert witness was so cool. I asked 3 or 4 times the questions I needed to complete my reports and testimony. I interviewed thousands of business and property owners over the years. I got to ask what they had done right and where their "sticking points" were with their businesses. I got them talking about themselves, their careers, and their businesses. I heard about their successes and their failures. A hungry mind will take you a long way IF you can find ways to utilize that knowledge.
 

Sanj Modha

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I agree. I have 4 college degrees including my JD. But, now I feel like a kid in a candy store. Education is SO available. I always have a non-fiction audiobook playing. And if I want to know something, I look it up on the net or watch a podcast. The world has opened up for people who love to learn. I also do it the old fashion way -- I call someone or have lunch with a person who knows what I want to know.

My questions are still endless. I was like that in school. And my career as a real estate appraiser/expert witness was so cool. I asked 3 or 4 times the questions I needed to complete my reports and testimony. I interviewed thousands of business and property owners over the years. I got to ask what they had done right and where their "sticking points" were with their businesses. I got them talking about themselves, their careers, and their businesses. I heard about their successes and their failures. A hungry mind will take you a long way IF you can find ways to utilize that knowledge.
I've learnt more from being an entrepreneur/going solo, reading books, listening to podcasts and travelling the world than I did from attending 4 years of university.

If I ran a university - I'd tell my students to create a business. Any business then watch them build the skills they need to be successful or fail then I'd dissect both scenarios. I'd make the point that they will learn 100 x more with failure than success just like I did.
 

WJK

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So I just finished my exams for the first year in University. I chose to study Economics but ended up regretting it. Not because it's hard, but because with every day that passes all the things I've been studying this year look so abstract and useless.

I thought more times of dropping out and study something more practical such as computer science, however, I'd have to restart from scratch and I'd have basically lost one full year of my life.

So, shortly, I was wondering how many of you with a degree in Economics got any value from it. I'm going to be honest, I don't even know what am I going to do with this degree even if I wanted to land a job as part of my fastlane journey. The only job that would resonate would probably be a "manager", however I heard, at least in Italy, you get paid like shit and have to work shitty jobs before moving up into the ladder. That's definitely not what I want to make of my life.

Anyways, I live in Italy and university here isn't as expensive as in the USA. But it also sucks more compared to the "American college" concept.
I've thought about what you are saying. When I was young, I wanted to be you. I wanted to go to school without having to work in all of my off-hours. I wanted to be able to make friends and hang out. I want to be part of study group that met in the library or out on a beautiful green lawn. For me, it was not to be. During my undergrad years, I worked 32 hours per week and I carried 18 units. In my grad program in my early 40s, I worked 60 hours per week and I carried 9 units -- I was supporting myself, plus a separate home for my mother after Dad divorced her. I don't feel sorry for myself. I did what I had to do and I've done OK in my life. But, I'm hearing you say that the grass is always greener...
 
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VicFountain

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Business and Economics are always the popular “money sounding” disciplines.

Unfortunately they do not teach current trend entrepreneurship topics. A lot of the business related teaching are very outdated...7ps of marketing..

I remember learning about how things are priced at .99 to make it sounds cheaper.. and how bigger packaging In food are supposed to make customers that they got something more worthwhile than it actually is.

Looking back these ideas are ridiculously harmful..ideas based on deception and mind tricks rather than obsession with driving products and services cheaper better and faster.
Exactly...many things they teach you seem so outdated.
I've thought about what you are saying. When I was young, I wanted to be you. I wanted to go to school without having to work in all of my off-hours. I wanted to be able to make friends and hang out. I want to be part of study group that met in the library or out on a beautiful green lawn. For me, it was not to be. During my undergrad years, I worked 32 hours per week and I carried 18 units. In my grad program in my early 40s, I worked 60 hours per week and I carried 9 units -- I was supporting myself, plus a separate home for my mother after Dad divorced her. I don't feel sorry for myself. I did what I had to do and I've done OK in my life. But, I'm hearing you say that the grass is always greener...
Honestly, I don't mind working 12 hours a day. That's what I'm actually doing now. Even thought I'm not working a job, I still consider what I do "work" since it requires mental energy and discipline.

Since I have 3 months of "vacation" now, I decided to spend this time learning some skill I can use in the near future to start a business. I started web design because my long-term goal was to start an internet company. Not an easy task by all means.

Also, I lost the desire to party. I know this sounds weird but I don't like going out partying anymore because I feel like it's "dream-breaking" and short-term sided. My life long-term goals are consuming my mind and I couldn't give a f*ck about going out getting smashed.
 

Odysseus M Jones

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Well, if you do graduate at least you'll never have to mow your lawn ever again.


I love discussing economics because it's one of the many disciplines that literally has principles that help you be successful
I agree with this too, understanding economics is one of those things.
How much does it cost to make one more cup of coffee?
It's worth it for game theory alone.

Political science is pretty cool too.
 

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VicFountain

VicFountain

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Well, if you do graduate at least you'll never have to mow your lawn ever again.



I agree with this too, understanding economics is one of those things.
How much does it cost to make one more cup of coffee?
It's worth it for game theory alone.

Political science is pretty cool too.
Yeah there are definitely interesting topics and theories in microeconomics. The marginal cost one is a great one. It made me understand the concept of efficiency and of "killing two birds with one stone". But again, you probably don't need to go to University to understand these single elements.

Even though in my University they placed a lot of focus on teaching how oligopolies compete and I had an hard time understanding why pricing wars seem to be so preferred over increasing the product differentiation. In fact, as MJ pointed out in one of his books, they almost never teach that value creation is the most important thing to win against the competition.
 

Odysseus M Jones

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they almost never teach that value creation is the most important thing to win against the competition.
Speaking of value
 

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The thing about Economics is that it’s a notoriously divided field. Economists agree with each other very rarely. It’s not like physics where everyone agrees because of math or evidence to support a scientific theory.

Economics is driven by powerful hidden psychological forces. We are just trying to model them mathematically and predictively.

It’s like monetary policy. They teach that shit in school like it’s “normal” or that’s how money really works. No, that’s how it works when central bankers and governments get what they want. They print money so they can loan it to the government and tax the shit out of you without anybody voting for a tax increase. They print money so banks can loan it out and collect interest. We all pay for it in inflation.
 

seb451

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I've commented here before but,


It is so true what you guys are saying about spending time and money getting a college degree when you certainly can get more valuable information by your own. At this moment I feel like college is "kind of worth it", from personal point of view, because I'm not paying for it and I'm in the 4th out of 5 years so I better stick to it. Thing is, everyday that goes by I realize more how much of a mental slavery it is. I'm currently studying Industrial Engineering which is pretty much a business degree on steroids. While it offers valuable skills and knowledge with practical applications for businesses, the feeling during classes is really dissapointing, most of my classmates are highly scripted, lazy, selfish and they don't have a clue about entrepreneurship and freedom, I don't see how they will make something worthy out of their lives. Professors are nice, but they are not expecting us to be more than a good employee in a large firm and that's a bit frustrating.

I'm doing my best to keep going and not abort at this point, I'll put value on every useful skill that I've learned in these years, as it may help significantly in the future, but I wouldn't do this again, imho a college degree is a rather outdated thing if you want to enter business, it will blow you optimism and vision away if you are not strongly convinced about your goals.

Best!
 

100speed

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Yeah there are definitely interesting topics and theories in microeconomics. The marginal cost one is a great one. It made me understand the concept of efficiency and of "killing two birds with one stone". But again, you probably don't need to go to University to understand these single elements.

Even though in my University they placed a lot of focus on teaching how oligopolies compete and I had an hard time understanding why pricing wars seem to be so preferred over increasing the product differentiation. In fact, as MJ pointed out in one of his books, they almost never teach that value creation is the most important thing to win against the competition.
Can relate to this completely, felt exactly the same in first and 2nd year tbh but I think it all comes down to the degree content and where you want to go. If you want to go into Investment Banking / Consulting - skills such as Corporate Finance, Net Present Value etc. are really useful and some of the concepts, market theory in Micro are v useful for either running your own business or understanding a market you are going into. Also v useful for personal finance, concepts such as NPV, valuation methodology is very useful in helping you to look to maximise the value of your company and look at compabies from an investors standpoint, which if you are running a business and looking for an exit is key in getting th emost out of it.
again, a lot of the stuff you learn is niche and will never be used, Econometrics is only really used in research and quant roles but again it depends what you want to do and where ypou want to go.
 

WJK

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Can relate to this completely, felt exactly the same in first and 2nd year tbh but I think it all comes down to the degree content and where you want to go. If you want to go into Investment Banking / Consulting - skills such as Corporate Finance, Net Present Value etc. are really useful and some of the concepts, market theory in Micro are v useful for either running your own business or understanding a market you are going into. Also v useful for personal finance, concepts such as NPV, valuation methodology is very useful in helping you to look to maximise the value of your company and look at compabies from an investors standpoint, which if you are running a business and looking for an exit is key in getting th emost out of it.
again, a lot of the stuff you learn is niche and will never be used, Econometrics is only really used in research and quant roles but again it depends what you want to do and where ypou want to go.
My mom used to tell me that education is never wasted. It took me years to confirm that she was right. I am a retired commercial real estate appraiser -- so a lot of these concepts were part of my everyday routine. Do they really mean anything in the real world? I have wondered, BUT I know that I can see economic trends on the horizon way faster than the people around me. I adjust my path before others even know that there is a coming problem. And while others are in a panic, I'm continuing on.

It wasn't always like that. When I was young, before I studied the markets, I lost my @%& with the rest of the herd. Now I am seldom blindsided. When those Black Swans land on my little pond, I already have my Plan B in place and I'm ready. I watch the cycles (business, credit & real estate) so I expect those pesky birds to arrive in their predictable season. I may not know the exact day, but I know they are coming.
 

Kid

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Just be a bit meta on this: all degrees are useless, at least for a kind of people who hang on this forum.

As Jack Ma famously said: "Love them. Don t marry them." Its applicable to school too.
 

WJK

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Just be a bit meta on this: all degrees are useless, at least for a kind of people who hang on this forum.

As Jack Ma famously said: "Love them. Don t marry them." Its applicable to school too.
How did you come to your opinion? I'm still using some of the stuff I learned at my first college in 1973. And my doctorate in law has been useful in my business career. Can you see any use for any of it?
 
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Kid

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How did you come to your opinion? I'm still using some of the stuff I learned at my first college in 1973. And my doctorate in law has been useful in my business career. Can you see any use for any of it?
So i'm considering You lucky ;) (hope that doesn't offend you)
As for being serious - i spent a bit of time in school.
The problem was that for topics that i was interested in, i was more advanced
than the teachers, and for topic out of that scope i barely passed the exams.

Law is a topic that most people are afraid of.
I admit that having ability to read law bills correctly is crucial in business
and also helps going through contracts and fine prints.

Maybe you happened to find someone who really could teach - not just dry knowledge
but desire to know more, figuring things out and finding satisfaction in doing so.
I believe that such teachers do exists. I just took things into my own hands and stopped looking for them (so to speak).
 

socaldude

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Just be a bit meta on this: all degrees are useless, at least for a kind of people who hang on this forum.

As Jack Ma famously said: "Love them. Don t marry them." Its applicable to school too.
The problem is that the labor markets are becoming more commoditized. At this point a lot of us really have no choice but to become entrepreneurs even if we are completely lost or know nothing.


We are in for a really rude awakening when we ignore the inefficient allocation of resources. We don’t need these big academic institutions pumping out useless degrees with trillions in debt. It’s become corrupt and hypocritical.
 

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Kid

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The problem is that the labor markets are becoming more commoditized. At this point a lot of us really have no choice but to become entrepreneurs even if we are completely lost or know nothing.
I agree @socaldude

We don’t need these big academic institutions pumping out useless degrees with trillions in debt.
There is even bad secondary effect to student debt.
I guess that people with it have less inclination to be entrepreneurs.

If you start with nothing, spend 5 years on biz and it doesn't work out - well you can go back to being employee.

When you start with negative $40,000, its hard to think that you can have biz for 5 years
without profit while interest fees are accumulating.

Even if someone would come up with better solution it wouldn't mean that he/she could
apply it.


Overall, topic of school is hard one.
 

socaldude

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Overall, topic of school is hard one.
Yeah, its because people cant explain the economic model because its hidden behind powerful psychological laws, illusions and biases. The psychology creates the economic model not vice versa.

But we are all aware of the inefficieny of it all. It cost thousands, you learn abstract things, the labor market then ignores your credencial etc.
 

WJK

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So i'm considering You lucky ;) (hope that doesn't offend you)
As for being serious - i spent a bit of time in school.
The problem was that for topics that i was interested in, i was more advanced
than the teachers, and for topic out of that scope i barely passed the exams.

Law is a topic that most people are afraid of.
I admit that having ability to read law bills correctly is crucial in business
and also helps going through contracts and fine prints.

Maybe you happened to find someone who really could teach - not just dry knowledge
but desire to know more, figuring things out and finding satisfaction in doing so.
I believe that such teachers do exists. I just took things into my own hands and stopped looking for them (so to speak).
Yes, I am lucky! The harder I work, the luckier I am.
My law background has really kept me out of trouble most of the time in my businesses. I never practiced law -- I was an expert witness and I did litigation support in real estate matters during my career. (I made more per hour than my attorneys when I consulting.) At times, I felt like I had wasted my time and money. But, now I'm very grateful to have an attorney between my ears.

Some subjects can be "dry" -- it all depends on the student's work investment and their interaction with the teacher. I was a VERY challenging student for my teachers. I often raised my hand and I asked lots of questions... even in law school where no one wanted the prof's attention. Sometimes they were dumb questions. Sometimes my comments were considered dumb by those around me. I was there to learn the subject -- not to impress my fellow students or the teacher. And I did a lot of outside reading and research on the subjects to make the classes interesting.

I have now paid for 4 college degrees -- and yes, I've gotten my money out of them. Knowledge is power.

I also taught Jr. college courses for a while when I had the time and interest. I learned as much from teaching as I did from being a student. It was fun to interact with the students.

Now I listen to one audiobook after another while I do my bookkeeping and take care of my properties and businesses. Most people think that math is a dry subject. My current audiobook I listening to on my Kindle is about how advanced math is being used against poor people through the widespread use of AI. I had never thought about how math is used to write these non-transparent algorithms -- which tract people and put them into categories -- without recourse or explanation. And those ratings keep a whole segment of our population in poverty by denying them credit, education, and employment. And that process also targets them for profiteers who sell them stuff they don't need and can't afford. Why knew?

Open your mind. The world is out there waiting for someone to take it on...
 

Kid

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Yes, I am lucky! The harder I work, the luckier I am.
My law background has really kept me out of trouble most of the time in my businesses. I never practiced law -- I was an expert witness and I did litigation support in real estate matters during my career. (I made more per hour than my attorneys when I consulting.) At times, I felt like I had wasted my time and money. But, now I'm very grateful to have an attorney between my ears.

Some subjects can be "dry" -- it all depends on the student's work investment and their interaction with the teacher. I was a VERY challenging student for my teachers. I often raised my hand and I asked lots of questions... even in law school where no one wanted the prof's attention. Sometimes they were dumb questions. Sometimes my comments were considered dumb by those around me. I was there to learn the subject -- not to impress my fellow students or the teacher. And I did a lot of outside reading and research on the subjects to make the classes interesting.

I have now paid for 4 college degrees -- and yes, I've gotten my money out of them. Knowledge is power.

I also taught Jr. college courses for a while when I had the time and interest. I learned as much from teaching as I did from being a student. It was fun to interact with the students.

Now I listen to one audiobook after another while I do my bookkeeping and take care of my properties and businesses. Most people think that math is a dry subject. My current audiobook I listening to on my Kindle is about how advanced math is being used against poor people through the widespread use of AI. I had never thought about how math is used to write these non-transparent algorithms -- which tract people and put them into categories -- without recourse or explanation. And those ratings keep a whole segment of our population in poverty by denying them credit, education, and employment. And that process also targets them for profiteers who sell them stuff they don't need and can't afford. Why knew?

Open your mind. The world is out there waiting for someone to take it on...
I would "Like" Your post twice ;)

Some say "Life is what you make it".
 

JScott

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So, shortly, I was wondering how many of you with a degree in Economics got any value from it.
I did an MBA with a focus on Economics. It didn't help at all in the corporate world, but has been tremendously valuable as an investor. In fact, most of the most successful investors I know have a thorough understanding of macroeconomics and a decent understanding of market efficiencies/inefficiencies.
 

Nirvanaman

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I have a degree in Economics. I originally studied finance but switched to econ when I switched schools.

If you are interested in learning the concepts, I learned everything from watching Youtube videos. All the content is online and for free and you don't need to pay a school to learn them. However if you are positioning yourself to get a job and see the value in networking with other students, professors, and joining school clubs then it may be worth it. School is more than the education you receive, it's also all the connections you make there. If you are purposeful in networking and meet the right people, you can set yourself up for success later in life.
 
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VicFountain

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I'm considering of switching to CS. I would have to start from scratch but this thought has been hitting me for months now. I can't see the value of a degree in Economics as an entrepreneur.

Maybe it's because I'm at the first year, but damn even if I knew some finance and management (which are the main topics of the next 2 years of my degree in Econ), how would that help me start a business? I'm not saying it wouldn't help in the business, what I'm saying is, what need can I solve by knowing this stuff? What can I invent with those skills? How can I solve problems that way?

On the other hand, if I look at CS, I see an infinite amount of opportunities in terms of business.

And I'm going to be honest, I chose Economics in the beginning just because of the "status" I thought it would bring me. But is it really status? Working a corporate job in the rat race? Cause that would be the road I'd be going on by majoring in Economics. I swear this thing we see in movies about corporate managers who are considered "rich" and of high status is pure BS. Someone should make a book out of this huge bias people have. Maybe it's because people can't see further than that.

The only thing stopping me is the thought that maybe I'll get something from this degree. I've heard multiple times that by studying the topics in economics you get better at efficiency and the allocation of resources.
 

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