3.1.3 Don't be a sissy

Most of the people who study economics have no clue at the beginning what economics is about. The name economics sounds like something very practical and useful, not a thing like philosophy, sociology, literature, philology where nobody knows what it is about. When they become aware that it is not as practical as they thought it to be, very often it is too late, and universities have little interest in telling the truth.

(Needless to say that, the following quote is just an example. In five minutes, anyone can find hundred of similar statements all over the world in any languages.)

The quote is about what the academic staff suggests could be a job for economists.

What Can You Do with an Economics Degree?

When you graduate with an economics degree, you will have a good understanding of the national economy and will be able to think critically about problems in the business world. You will also have good communication skills and skills in manipulating data and using computer technology. Thus you will be prepared for many careers.

In Business

Economics majors compete very well against most business majors for jobs in the business world. Many large corporations value the broad analytical training received by economics majors. Economics majors have also generally studied demand theory and estimation, production and cost theory, analysis of market structure, antitrust policy, government regulation of business, capital budgeting, inflation theory, unemployment, the determination of interest rates, and international economics. Employers know that this knowledge will enhance their performance in managerial decision making.

Business economists are prepared to help firms understand and adapt to a changing economic environment. They often interpret and forecast the general economic climate, analyse conditions specific to their firm, and also aid the firm’s operational efficiency.

Many Mason students find private sector jobs in banking, consulting, insurance, real estate, brokerage firms, marketing, data management, budgeting, general management, sales, and in Virginia’s high-tech industries.

In Government

The range of jobs for economists in government is as broad as government itself. Government economists work for agencies in the fields of agriculture, business, finance, labor, transportation, utilities, urban economics, and international trade. Federal government employers like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Fannie Mae, the Dept of Commerce, the Dept of Transportation and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have hired Mason students as entry-level economists. Mason graduates also get government jobs at the state and local level.

In Education

Virginia requires economics education and financial literacy as party of the high-school curriculum. Students who pursue graduate-level training in economics may go on to teach at the college level.
In International Organizations, Associations, and Nonprofits

Mason students also find jobs with international lending institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank, think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and Brookings, chambers of commerce and trade associations, labor unions, and in the nonprofit advocacy world.

George Mason University, College of humanities and social sciences

Apart from the first thing, business, the fantasies of what an economist can do does not leave the narrow circle of what an academic teacher does. Writing never discussed discussion papers in being paid by the taxpayer. Concerning business, it is not very clear how "demand theory and estimation, production and cost theory, analysis of market structure, antitrust policy, government regulation of business, capital budgeting, inflation theory, unemployment, the determination of interest rates, and international economics" are helpful in this area. .

However, that's not really the interesting point. The interesting point is that they don't mention the role of economics in a democracy, see politics and economics. That's bad. First of all, because it doesn't make any sense to write millions of never discussed discussion paper and second it doesn't make any sense to advise politicians. First of all because they depend on the voters, therefore it is necessary to advice the voters and second if we understand democracy as a learning process, see Is it posible to convince people with arguments?, we need an improvement of the public discussion. Moreover, last but not least, there are a lot of interesting jobs in this area.

George Manson University commits all the mistakes that can be committed because they don't perceive economics as a cross-sectional science, which is what it is. "Analysis of market structure" cannot be done with some general ideas of price elasticity and things like that. A detailed knowledge of the market to be analyzed is needed. Therefore, it would be more intelligent to reduce the teaching of economics in the narrow sense to two years. More or less to content shown on this website and to dedicate the rest of the time to some specialisation in cooperation with other faculties.

General affirmations about what the students can do are not helpful. What is actually needed are concrete data, for instance, how many graduates found a job one year after having finished their studies and how much they earn. This way universities would get a direct feedback and could modify the academic curricula.

Students are well adviced if they don't trust the academic staff. Most of them have no professional experience. In real life, the neoclassical explanation of unemployment is of no help. In real live people are needed who set up companies and create jobs. Jobs are not created by never discussed discussion papers showing that wages must be reduced. Perhaps they find a job if they work for nothing, but it would be more intelligent, although more difficult, to create well-paid jobs.

If the students just do what they are told to do, it is well possible that they end up in a one-way-street leading nowhere.

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It is to presume that universities will be less important in the future, when informal learning becomes more and more important

The bachelor and master introduced introduced by the Bologna process in the european university were a mistake. The aim was comparability and compatibility. What was actually needed was diversivication and especialisation

Instead of discussiong about academic tuition it would have been much more usefull to discuss about the real costs and the possibilities to reduce costs

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