Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why Economists are Unemployed

Why get a “good education”?  Why, to get a “good job,” of course.  A college diploma is a sure ticket to a lifetime of employment with the money just rolling in  . . . hopefully enough to repay all those student loans you had to take out to pay for the education that was guaranteed to get you that good job.

That’s the economics of the wage system, and the basis for the study of economics in our advanced global economy.  Which doesn’t explain this little piece that appeared recently, opining why economics majors have such a hard time finding jobs at all, much less “good” ones:

“The Georgetown University ‘Hard Times’ study reports that recent graduates of economics have an unemployment rate of 10.4 percent. That seems quite high for a degree that, according to the College Board, teaches important lessons on how to understand economic models and how factors such as labor disagreements, inflation, and interest rates affect them. . . . [E]conomics degrees often have a strong theoretical component but not enough real-world, practical experience to entice an employer.”

Oh, come on. You know who this is.
Uh, huh.  First, of course, there is the question of what an education is for.  Did you go to school to get a job?  Or to get an education?

Then there’s the issue of what is being taught as “economics.”  Frankly, the whole theory-v.-practical-experience shtick is a straw man.  The only “practical” economics a student at today’s universities is going to get is that lesson in supply and demand he or she gets when it comes time to pay for the education that supposedly will guarantee him or her a good job.  You’re supposed to learn theory in college.  The practical experience comes after you get out of college.

The problem is not theory v. practice.  It’s good theory v. bad theory.  Economics as she is taught today is such a concatenation of bad assumptions and worse theory that all it’s good for is getting a Ph.D. to teach bad assumptions and worse theory to new generations of students and old generations of politicians.

Yeah, and you know WHAT this is.
The only difference is that to get a good grade, the students tell the professor what he or she wants to hear, while to get a good grant, the professor tells the politicians what they want to hear.  In neither case does anybody give any part of a rat’s anatomy about what is really true or practical.

Sound theory leads to good practice.  If a practice is bad, first look to the underlying theory.  Are employers finally catching on to the fact that so-called “mainstream” economics doesn’t exactly reflect reality?

Jean-Baptiste Say
As an employer, are you going to hire somebody who is convinced that the government produces wealth, and your goal as a company should therefore be to become as dependent on government as possible as the source of all wealth?  Or are you going to hire somebody who believes in the Just Third Way principle based on Say’s Law of Markets that the only way to have wealth is to produce it yourself by means of your labor and capital?

Be objective, now: who is the better prospect for employment?  The guy who is waiting for government to redistribute what somebody else produced, or the gal who rolls up her sleeves and gets to work helping the company produce a marketable good or service?


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