IntroductionThere is this common myth now being perpetuated in so many CBSE and State Board schools. The science stream teachers, with a giant ego, often tell the students who might not score more than 70 percent marks in the core subjects of Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics, something like "you are only fit to study economics. Unless you improve, you cannot progress in your career". I have even seen some doctors' parents carrying such an opinion about economics.
This is a big myth. Anyone with average research in economics can easily become a highly famous teacher in India. There have been examples of RBI Governors who have lectured at the best of Universities in the USA, UK, and the rest of the Western world. Even today, Dr. Raghuram Rajan and Dr. Amartya Sen are among the best economists in the world. The former RBI Governor, Dr. Rengarajan, is a consultant to many world organizations and to several State Governments. The former Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh is credited with having raised the living standards of millions of middle-class Indians with far-reaching economic reforms done by him.
Be that as it may, the importance of Economics can be illustrated when everyone understands that a) Economics is a highly research-oriented field b) Economics is also related to everyday lives c) Is as or more lucrative than other careers d) Economics needs common sense examples to educate students and e) Economics is the gateway to national wealth.
Economics is a highly research-oriented fieldThere is nothing that can beat Economics when it comes to advanced research. Unlike other fields of research, such as applied behavioral sciences, economics is a highly dynamic subject and research extends far beyond one dimension; nor is it limited in terms of its orientation. For example, today, Economists talk about Sustainable Development and this includes aspects of environmental preservation, amounts that need to be spent for environmental preservation, technologies that can enable the judicious use of scarce resources, and so on. In the ultimate analysis, everything boils down to money, and hence Economics is what it is -- an all compassing and dynamic field of study. The entire administration of the Reserve Bank of India is in the hands of professional economists who can take independent decisions. Of course, a lot of consultation between the Government and the RBI happens on an everyday basis; the allocation of money will be done by the Government of India to several States, but the RBI controls the banks. It can raise its concerns when things do not work out as planned.
Economics is a worldwide field of study and Globalization and its impact, the need for new policies regarding globalization, and so on is subject to a maximum number of concerns that extends to the entire society. For example, huge multinational companies cannot enter India and simply smash the unorganized retail sector, which is still around 90 percent of the entire retail sector, employing directly and indirectly, around 25 lakh people in one way or the other. There is a massive thrust today on what is called Supply Chain Management, and this is now a very important field of Management. However, there is a big economy built around this. It concerns the millions of lorries that we see on the roads and the way they carry goods and services to different parts of the country. Some lorries travel as much as 4000 kilometers from one end of the country to another. There is a big scope for advanced research in Economics that has now expanded like never before.
Is extremely focused on social conditionsMany students, even at the college level, who study science or other social sciences like psychology, always think that Economics is pure theory. This is a big myth. Today, there is a big field of study called Development Economics. This specialization extends to every dimension of society and the social conditions that prevail in different parts of the country.
For example, the developmental models that heavily focus on State support for Education, Health, Transport, and basic amenities like drinking water and electricity, have had far-reaching economic effects in Tamil Nadu, the most urbanized State in India. This is exactly the kind of "obvious results" that serves the policy initiatives of other States. This research becomes socially highly relevant and also leads to policy initiatives like the concessions given to entrepreneurs and industrialists for setting up industries in backward areas. The logic is that the big industries will enable the creation of a vast service sector, and when this happens, the money keeps rotating and changing thousands of hands, leading to overall growth.
Is as or more lucrative than other careersThis is the third myth. The economists who publish papers in refereed journals and also carry out socially relevant research are so busy. They often go abroad to attend international conferences. Since India and China will continue to dominate the global economic scenario for another four decades, the focus on research, particularly on the development of specific pockets, will deeply interest the economists abroad, particularly those in the B-Schools, who will happily suggest strategies to the multinational companies to do business in India. And when the policies keep on changing, and since India is part of the big global market and has to necessarily be a part of it, the focus on advanced research with a sharp focus on Indian developments, like for example, the expansion of the middle class, would be of great interest in any corner of the world. The best Economists earn much more money than the best doctors and engineers. They get to lecture at the world's best Universities and keep on making more money, through research grants, advanced research, and so on. There is not a single field of specialization that is even fifty percent as society focused as Economics. This fact should be taught to the students.
For example, there are too many FMCG companies that sell in small packs of Rs.5/. Since the product is too good, the word-of-mouth publicity will spill over to the richer classes, who would buy the bigger packs. FMCG companies also want to be part of the huge retail market. All these have big implications for economic growth.
Economics needs common sense examples to educate studentsA seventh-standard student can be taught some basics of Economics through the observation method. For example, the students can be taken to the nearest retail outlet and asked to interact with the customers. The discussion will give them some reasons as to why they buy the product. The teacher can easily explain that for any Economy to succeed, there are only three very important variables. One is an investment, that is, money. The second is the buyer who buys the products from the seller. There are specific routes to reach the customer, that is, the buyer. For example, today, one can order a product through an online medium and the seller will directly sell it to the customer. However, the three vital variables of investment, the buyer and the seller remain the same. There may be a small retail outlet or a mini supermarket or a big chain of branded supermarkets. The net result is the same.
When this happens, those with a natural inclination to observe what is going on will most likely learn a little more about economics and the New Education Policy will hopefully lead to more positive outcomes in this regard.
Economics is the gateway to national wealthThe total national wealth of a nation is related to Economics. Those who decide the economic policies create wealth. When businesses make more money, they also pay more taxes. The taxes get spent by the Government on health, education, and transport. This creates a ripple effect. Further training of people leaders to exports. For example, the export of IT and IT-related services is a big plus for Indian exports. When the Exports are more than the imports, we can always witness massive economic growth. It should be noted that Economics is the base on which the entire nation's wealth, increases or decreases.
When the aforesaid myths are broken, and more and more serious-minded students start studying economics, it will become a very interesting field to study.
ConclusionEconomics is a hugely interesting field to study. If one breaks the various myths about it, on the lines suggested above, Economics will keep on developing to the greatest heights, it indeed should, as it is deeply connected to national wealth and economic development of India.
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