What economics can do for you

Saira Farooqui

“The past cannot be changed, the future is still in your power.” – Hugh White

Everyone knows that choosing subjects in the final years at school is very important. For a start, you want the best chance at the right grades so that you get admissions to the best of the colleges. Secondly, you want subjects that interest you. Thirdly, your final years at school serve as a trial period for your future studies: you want subjects that let you explore what you might do it in your later years.

The abundance of choices makes the whole process a very daunting prospect.

Studying economics at school may be a good idea:

  • Economics is the study of how people decide to use resources on an individual and collective basis.
  • It examines the kinds of work people do and how much time they spend doing it.
  • Economics also looks at production, investments, taxation, and how people spend and save money.

But before you commit yourself to spending time and effort studying economics it helps to know the following advantages.

Numerous applications: Studying economics prepares you to deal with issues in a variety of fields including business, law, politics, history, and accounting. Knowing how scarcity affects purchasing decisions helps in a politician’s office, for instance, where people consider changes in taxation. It also helps in a department store where executives determine how much profit they might make from a certain product.

Economics relates to everything: You do not necessarily have to choose economics just because you want to learn it in college. Economics is still a useful subject to learn even if you end up choosing politics, philosophy, sociology, law, or history in college. As Vladimir Lenin once said, “Politics is just a high concentration of economics.” One will have to agree with this statement as most government policies will have some economic basis in them. Thus, knowing some basic economics will help you understand politics. Similarly, the foundation of economics relates to many philosophical principles (one just needs to point out utilitarianism), and historical events can be better analyzed if put in the right economic context.

Thus, economics is definitely a good choice in school. It prepares you very well for the academic challenges ahead.

Prepares for the future: Studying economics helps you prepare for the future. You’ll have a grasp of the economic principles that affect your career prospects, investment decisions, and retirement strategies. While other people are more uncertain about the economy and how to adjust to changing conditions, you can make better-informed choices and come up with ideas to deal with problems and benefit from opportunities.

Current events: Economic changes often occur, such as a decrease in unemployment, an upswing in the stock market, or jobs being outsourced to other countries. During these changes, you can better understand the events as they happen by participating in classroom discussions. When the government announces a change in policy, such as a hiring freeze for federal workers, you’ll have the advantage of being part of a group of curious people asking questions about current events and how they apply to your curriculum.

Prestige: Earning an economics degree also earns you prestige. People who successfully study economics must operate at a high intellectual level. Because of its importance in society, economics is a social science for which you can earn a Nobel Prize and many other global awards. This puts it alongside other disciplines that offer awards such as chemistry and physics.

Right combination of art and science: It seems that successful candidates in most courses will have a mixture of both. Economics provides you with the right combination of essays and analytical maths that will help you study any course in the future.

Develops skill:

  • You spend a lot of time learning the intuition behind important concepts such as supply and demand, inflation, economic growth, etc.
  • You will actually write many essays about these topics.
  • You will be able to pick and specialize in interesting areas such as game theory, labour, and sport economics.
  • It develops a practical approach towards economics.
  • You will see how the theory relates to the real world before going on to learn the subject in greater depth which makes it most exciting.

And what can students do after an economics degree?
Economics graduates are well-equipped in analytical and problem-solving skills, numerical and computer skills, as well as have the ability to work well either alone or with a team. All of these skills allow economics graduates to branch into anything from investment banking and financial services, business and public-sector management and research to working with charities, teaching, or the media. There is little restriction on what students can do afterwards.

Why do students enjoy economics?
Students have the opportunity to build models which give insights into the real world and then to critique these models on the basis of their assumptions. There is rarely a right answer in economics but any argument put forward must be backed by quantitative evidence. Students ultimately enjoy economics because it allows them to employ and develop analytical and evaluative skills.

The author is Head of the Department of Commerce in Diamond Jubilee High school, Mazgoan, Mumbai. She can be reached at f.saira@hotmail.com.

Leave a Reply