AN unforeseen consequence of our coronavirus times is that the "dismal science" of economics has gone mainstream.
Since the shock to the economy last year, and the Federal Government's subsequent stimulus and job-saving measures, we've all become much more familiar with the complex, but usually invisible, machinery that governs our lives.
Many of us now have an opinion on the worthiness - or otherwise - of using debt to stave off mass unemployment or the dangers of ultra-low interest rates in an overheating big city housing market.
What constitutes a fair payment to someone without a job is being heatedly debated, as is the travel industry's call for continuing support from the government lest it shrink dramatically or, in some regions reliant on international tourism, simply disappear.
This past week, though, was when we all went through the looking glass as short selling, hedge funds and stock bubbles suddenly became a talking point on television panels, in letters to the editor and, presumably, in some front bars and lounge rooms.
Everyone was convinced the mania in America for GameStop shares - which drove the price up 1500 per cent before it started plummeting - was an indication of something important, though not everyone agreed on what that something was.
Thinking about how the economy operates is a bit like thinking about how your body operates.
In normal times, when everything is humming along nicely, you barely give it a moment's notice.
In times such as a worldwide pandemic, though, or the global financial crisis during Kevin Rudd's prime ministership, the complicated innards of the economy are suddenly exposed and it's hard to think about anything else.
Governments are always making decisions that will have far-reaching consequences - that's what we elect them to do.
But the decisions that have been taken in the past year will be more far-reaching than most.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Coalition have made - and are making - choices on national debt, industry support and unemployment that will set this country's course for a long time to come.
If we consider that, really consider it, then the sound and fury of the short-selling rout last week on Wall Street starts to look like a bit of a sideshow.