Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Is Economics Hard?

Recently, there has been a discussion in the blogsphere, sparked by a short essay of Kartik Athreya: Economics is Hard, Don't Let Bloggers Tell You Otherwise.

Well, economics is hard, at least for me, and I believe for the baristas here too, who have spent days and nights trying to understand one chapter of, say, a standard micro or macro grad textbook.

Then, why the baristas here seemingly make economics fun?

Because it is indeed fun, and we want to share the fun to you all, including the non-economics students, by skipping most of those technicalities and jargons. We at the Cafe want to convey a simple message that you can use economics to see things differently. The most politically motivated purpose is probably just to warn you against ill-informed press corps.

I have no illusion that hanging out in the Cafe would substitute for a proper formal economic education -- but it is equally annoying to see some people believe he/she has mastered economics simply by reading one or two popular books by Stiglitz or Krugman. This is why sometimes we launch a sharp-tongued attack against his/her arguments (note: the argument, not personal)

Is econ hard? Yes. So are anthropology, political science, English literature, biology, and any serious attempt to understand things rationally and systematically.