Why study economics?

As a follow-up to my last post on values and humility in economics, I thought the following video (which Mankiw shared on his blog) of Steve Marglin talking about heterodox economics is great:

Marglin gives two reasons to study mainstream economics in his talk. One of them resonates strongly with me because it is part of why I’m studying economics right now; it is the language of power. While I’m more interested in morbidity and mortality than I am in interest rates, much of health policy, aid policy, and development policy is done by — or strongly influenced by — those who speak the language of economics. For the other reason Marglin gives (and of course, there are many others) you’ll have to watch the talk (it’s good).


12 2011

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  1. manjeet chaturvedi #

    Power over what? Some of the economists speak the same language – the language of power – but this language keeps away a large majority from resources, whereas some applying and using this language (not many of them are economists) have much under their control, always trying to access more.

  2. 2

    Manjeet – I think both Marglin and I (and you) would like to use that power to lessen inequality and inequity and to lead to more good things (in my case, better health outcomes) for a greater share of the world’s population.

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