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Why is it important to rethink economic studies? And what are the changes needed for economics studies in the future?
In the first blog post from the series, “Economic Studies: History: Part 1”, we discussed the history of economic studies and key elements that influenced the economic development of India and the world. Here is the 2nd blog post from the series that will give you insights on why there is a need to rethink the fundamentals of economic studies.
Economics is one of the most important subjects in the world. The economy of a country is what shapes its social, economic and political systems, and without it, the system would be nothing more than a randomly ordered set of production processes.
Economic studies is one of the most popular programmes for students to take, but with an outdated curriculum, it will just not provide the right skill sets to thrive in a career relating to economics.
The Problem in Economic studies. What is missing?
- The economy is continually changing, but the policies that are meant to govern it often do not. The gap between rich and poor is still present and quite evident, and yet our economic policies do not address this gap.
- Most often, people are seen as the inputs to the system rather than the whole point of it. This leads to problems like unemployment and poverty. This issue needs to be addressed sooner rather than later before more people start to turn against democracy as their only means for survival.
- There are also wide gaps in economic policies due to gender disparities that lead to economic inequalities for women.
- Another example that hits closer to home is the current pandemic, which has cost us human lives and created highly disruptive economic activities across India and the globe. A two-year worth of GDP growth has been lost and domestic demands and exports have been affected. Though some areas have seen high growth, there has been a surge in inflation. Therefore, there is a strong need to understand the root causes and its potential impact on our lives.
- India has the second largest population of any country in the world, and it continues to grow by more than 1.5 million people per year. This rapid growth rate puts an enormous strain on many essential resources, including food, water, and energy. The Indian economy is also struggling to keep up with economic decline. India’s GDP per capita is 1750.00 USD while the global average is 10,925 USD.
- At the other end, there have also been a few positive economic developments that have been created with the impact of new technologies and this has led to more prospects for growth in certain industries. Rethinking economic decline and growth and preparing our economies for such catastrophic outcomes is the need of the hour.
Why does academia need to rethink the future of economics?
We need to start at grassroot levels in order to create a much more prepared environment for the economic sector. Schools and colleges are where we should begin this new progression. We need to build a new curriculum because we can’t rely on old methods to understand and analyze our future; we need a new approach to economics, in which we will integrate knowledge from other fields like sociology, psychology and anthropology.
The traditional economic theory based on the idea of scarcity and scarcity of resources, is increasingly irrelevant. New realities require rethinking the way we look at economics that goes beyond a single-minded focus on material goods. The insights that emerge in the new economic paradigm are very different from what many of us have learned.
Why use Interdisciplinary Teaching methods while teaching Economics?
The idea of interdisciplinary teaching is to have people study economics from perspectives not typically studied in economics courses. For example, if you are studying economic theory, you might want to also cover the literature on cognitive psychology. Similarly, if you are studying environmental economics, it would be important to understand what behavioral ecology has to say about the way habits work in humans.
What are the benefits of rethinking economic studies?
There are many benefits. The first is that it would be easier for economists to plan the future if they have a better understanding of how the economy evolved in the past. Secondly, it would allow them to be more effective when it comes to economic policies. And thirdly, it would make future economists more prepared for drastic changes and they will be well equipped to recover a drowning economy by taking the most effective steps necessary in that particular situation.
Economics is a constantly changing field; economics theory and policy must be constantly adapting to the changing needs of the people. One way to do this is for universities to create new economic curricula to cater to the needs of the current century. This will enable graduates to be ready for a career in a constantly evolving economy. The world is going through a period of rapid change, and there are immense opportunities for economists, their colleagues in other social sciences, and policymakers alike to bring about a revolution in approach to economic studies.