Sep 22, 2008

Economic conversations

Over a lazy weekend spent mostly goooogling, I came across an interesting website. It is called the economic conversation. It is a book written by Arjo Klamer, Deirdre McCloskey, and Stephen Ziliak and it's an attempt by the authors to:
"nurture and grow an already worldwide community of teachers and students observant of the facts that there is more than one way to think about the economy, and that a fair and public hearing of those alternative ways is crucial to the health of the economic conversation."
The readings are enjoyable. It is basically an economics textbook (organized in form of chapters) which leaves ample room for discussion with the authors themselves and with random people with different views, like marxists, "frustrated neoclassicals", feminists...

An interesting exercise they do in chapter 1 is to ask people in the classroom "why did you decide to study economics?". For example, this is what motivated nobel prize winner Robert Lucas:

"I have always liked to think about social problems. It may have something to do with my family. We always argued about politics and social issues. I studied history... but came around to the view that economic forces are the central forces in history, and started trying some economics."
So, since I was never asked such question before, I ask you readers, "why did you study economics?". Please post your answer in the comments, I will then summarize the results to see what motivates our generation of wannabe economists...

5 comments:

Dany said...

In the firsts days I was a neerdy that enjoyed just math and exact sciences. Because of that, at the beginning I was focus to study Engineering. But the last years of high school were a revolution: together with my old love for History came a new view of society trough the lyrics of punks bands, the lecture of classics of literature and the introduction to philosophy. I wanted to mix both sources of knowledge, and Economics seemed to be a good option.... sometimes I still think it is...

Pierre-Louis said...

yo, im here by chance...i grew up listening to political underground hip hop about how social change and it stimulated my global consicence...like Kurtis Blow and LL Cool J...i felt economics was deeply rooted in my african childhood...allright ill cut the crap! i dropped out of engeneering school because these people are just annoying...i ended up in business administartion and had a few economics classes like Problems and economic policies...great ones...but i guess the original interest for economics lies in the fact that i just like to analyse the way people behave and why...the economics way...

Sebastian said...

Essentially I cut down my fields of interest to Politics, Law and Economics and applied accordingly to several universities in these disciplines. So from the beginning on I was biased to a social science. In the end I made the choice , which implied no choice, i.e. I chose an interdisciplinary approach (including all three disciplines). But much of the decision was due to my interest in living in what I consider the best town of Germany: Hamburg.
I guess my true interest in Economics only emerged throughout my studies, my travels....and well the slightly naive (but not hopeless) believe to use Economics to a good end.

Maribou said...

I saw a movie when I was fifteen and the heroine was this high powered business executive who had apparently studies sth called 'economics' at uni so I decided that first, I want to be like her and second, that apparently I had to study economics to become her. So there you go...

Susan said...

I must admit to a less noble urge than Lucas's -- majoring in economics long ago was oh-so-hip, especially for females. Only later did I realize that my brain is better suited to sciences with less relevance to the real world.

I would do it again, economics as an undergrad -- the reflection it imposes on the moral and political decisions of everyday life was a lifelong gift.

Incidentally, 30 or so years later, I remain good friends with author and former professor Arjo Klamer.