The Essence of Economics

Loyola, through its community of professors, students, and alumni, allows each individual to partake in a unique academic experience, one that converts theory into reality (and vice versa).

I’m studying economics and history… and I read a book last semester that helps me to articulate the complicated and compelling reality of my academic journey.

In his book Economics: The User’s Guide, Ha-Joon Chang, an American economist, academic scholar, and professor, provides two distinct perspectives through which the broad field of Economics is interpreted, studied, and practiced.

Economics: The User's Guide by Ha-Joon Chang

The first is that of universality.

As defined by some, it is the study of “life, the universe, and everything.” Certainly, unlike the physical and natural sciences, economics does not seek to explore gravitational pulls, volcanic eruptions, or intergalactic phenomena. Nor does it claim to. Instead, it encapsulates a broad range of humanity’s most intricate decisions and attempts to address, explain, and justify their central rationalities as pertained to scarcity and allocation of resources.

This more “humane” perspective is overshadowed by yet another approach that is solely based on “subject matter.”

Indeed, economics is the study of the economy, and that definition by itself is an outlet into a deeper, more intricate conversation in which jobs, unemployment, trade, and government policy are all fundamental in the ultimate analysis of the whatever parameter.

The two methods by which we study economics could be linked, intertwined, connected, and associated to a large extent. The central point, however, is that economics as a scholarly field is a tool for exploring the Human Project: a system of existence introduced, developed, and executed by humanity.

Already, one can tell why some are fascinated by the subject. Surely, economics is a difficult (and I admit, sometimes dry) discipline. In addition to extensive (and painful) theoretical concepts, mathematics appears to threaten everyone by its seemingly unattainable complexions.

math-5Nevertheless, studying economics brings out a colossal quantity of knowledge that is capable of humanity’s most valuable discoveries.

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