What Do Economists Really Know?


Keeping up with the ups and downs of the economic world is something I am dependent on other people for. And, that drags me into what do these other people (economists) know. While I was an active professor, I watched our economics and economics related programs grow. I used to pick my colleagues brains about what was really going on-and they were glad to tell me. Somewhere in my journey I realized that economics was like the human beings who engaged in its practice; sometimes unstable with behavior that was not completely understood. From that standpoint, economics was not that different from education and education professors.

This recent change in means of producing an economic surplus has changed the system itself and the kinds of work and investment that kept it going. By its very nature capitalism brings change. For a long period after WWII, it supported investment in developing machines that made life easier: air conditioning, more sophisticated washing machines, etc. It was when we got to computers that life really began to change and economics with it. The ability to take pictures with computer driven cameras did away with the need for film and with it went Kodak. The whole industrial base for capitalism began to change. Economic communism lost its ability to stay the same and compete in the world.

In this country, we are more interested in getting and keeping jobs than in striking for higher wages/salaries. In today’s Wall Street Journal one of the editorials dealt with another growth dip. As a matter of fact, the whole paper deals with examples of today’s businesses trying to understand and work with what is going on. In particular, one of the fast food crowd is trying to understand why its business seems to be going down – again. The author of the article has an answer.

Meanwhile, economists crank out books explaining the situation. Each year brings a different set of authors and answers. Were I still teaching I would have a field day with all of the arm waving and pointing in different directions. As it is, I simply sit and read and wonder (worry).

  1. #1 by Terry J. on February 17, 2015 - 12:09 am

    Fascinating….you are a man of many interests and talents, and are never put off by things that aren’t in your wheelhouse. I admire that. Stay warm! Terry

  2. #2 by John Boswell on February 17, 2015 - 4:20 pm

    Terry, Thank you. How is your dissertation coming?
    JGB

  3. #3 by Terry J. on February 17, 2015 - 7:00 pm

    I sent you an email recently. Still struggling with a topic, but comps are done and passed. YAY!

    • #4 by John Boswell on March 22, 2015 - 6:57 pm

      Terry, I seen to be having trouble with my website. Your’s is not the first email I have not received. Could you resend your topic statement-I am just interested.
      JGB

(will not be published)