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Economics: A Dismal Science

Tags: economics

This is an Economics textbook.

Let us pretend it says ‘Economics’ on the cover.

This textbook contains (sometimes valuable) information.

See? Priceless.

One day, a boring Scottish man with too much time on his hands decided that this incredibly thought-provoking science needed some serious extensions.

Hmmm, duniya mai aur fasaad keise philaya jae? (ROUGH AND NOT VERY LITERAL TRANSLATION OF MR SMITH’S THOUGHTS: How could I possibly make the world better?)

This was what he produced.

An Inquiry into the Causes and Nature of the* Wealth of Nations, 1776.

But this was not enough.

As time progressed, more boring men gathered and decided to further complicate what would otherwise have been one simple phrase.

They fought and argued amongst themselves.
Because we all know if there is one thing that is true about economists, it is that they can never agree on anything.

Highly doubt the economists’ fight was as entertaining as this movie.

Introducing: Classical Economics, Marxist Economics, Welfare Economics, Austrian Economics, and Neoclassical Economics.

But this too was not enough.

Frustrated at how things were not convoluted enough, economists turned Economics from the simple stem it should have been to an old, gnarly oak tree with branches going every which where.

On as serious note, nature can never fail to fascinate me.

Environmental Economics, Behavioural Economics, Development Economics, Resource Economics…

What could have been one beautiful statement was turned into a ghastly science that angered students and professors alike. People clutched their balding and greying heads with despair as they tried to fathom yet another diagram.

Replace ‘Calculus’ with ‘Behavioural Economics’.

There is more to the story.

You see, apart from being boring, over-the-top – sorry, I mean, profound, intellect-driven and absolutely not supporting capitalistic tendencies, Economics is also a rational science.

In Economics, we assume the consumer stands around supermarkets and maximizes his utility, bearing in mind his budget constraint: thus, he OBVIOUSLY forms a Lagrangian constraint.

Hal Varian to the rescue.

To spice things up even more, Economics assumes we’re all selfish and act purely out of self-interests. Even though studies have been carried out to show that people do display altruistic behavior, we’re still going to assume you are one selfish person.

Utility maximsation behaviour, yo!

Another thing that strikes one is how Economics will always imbue us with the belief that things are headed for the worst.

If you’re a monopolist, you will charge the higher price and provide the lower quality.
If you’re part of a collusion (which is bad enough as it is), you are going to ‘have the incentive to cheat’ or ‘the temptation to cheat’.
If you’re a consumer, you’re going to decide whether you should have that extra burger or a can of coke. That is the extent of your consumption behaviour.

Because come on.


So here we are, folks.

Skies could have been bluer, and we are made to grasp models constructed in the 1960’s. Sure, they’ve been attacked multiple times in multiple papers and publications. The results have never been above satisfactory though because we’re still memorizing these outdated approaches.

Really though, when will we stop worshipping these ancient models and techniques?

By the way, because Environmental Economics did not sound ‘rad’ enough, Econometrics has also been introduced.

Pretty interesting, really. Has loads of statistics.

This post first appeared on Writing Towards Change, please read the originial post: here

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Economics: A Dismal Science


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