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JMeganSnow

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On 11/21/2015 at 5:47 PM, JMeganSnow said:

Closely related: I have been studying economics on my own and have been thinking I should major in it since I enjoy learning about it so much and it might put me in touch with other pro-capitalist people. On the other hand, given the schools that dominate the econ departments today, I'm thinking it might be a mistake to do that.  --Chris

Not sure of your circumstances, but as I recall Economics is a miss-match of various schools using concepts from both Neo-Classical and Keynesian Economics. The neo-classical and Keynesian economics are used in a synthesis based on treating microeconomics (individuals, business and particularly sectors) and macroeconomics (national, global and government) as simply different scales of study. Economics courses may be prone to be "intolerant" of dissenting views or "heterodox economics" by teaching the course material as if it were a scientific fact not up for discussion. the philosophical implications of economics generally do not come up, even though they are more interesting for telling us hard truths about human motivation. Moreover, its worth having a very good understanding of mathematics before you study economics as much of the course material is about applying mathematical concepts and formulas of "rational choice theory" as "econometrics" rather than philosophical thought about economic motivations or organisation. (this is why I nearly failed my first year because I hated the maths even if I was actually ok at it).  

economics courses have come under significant criticism from Student groups in the UK (and such protests have gone global). the major objection being that they are out of touch with the economic realities and implications of the 2008 Crash. Some of the material below may be of interest:

http://www.post-crasheconomics.com/

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/oct/24/students-post-crash-economics

I dropped out of Economics in 2008 (but was really interested in it at Secondary School/Sixth form and was good at it). It was probably the right decision but completely de-railed my career trajectory. there were maybe 20 people on the course doing "pure" economics over something like business economics or finance, etc.  I found that many people left the course who were actually interested in it because they were so dissatisfied with it: I came from a Marxist-Socialist background but admired J.K. Galbraith and wouldn't have minded following in his footsteps, whereas another was a Keynesian (and member of the British National Party), and a third was very interested in Milton Friedman as a libertarian (and moved to a politics course I think). I did draw the conclusion that those who were actually principled in studying economics didn't like the "messiness" and the dogmatic and monolithic nature of the course material, so you may find yourself in a similar situation.

I'm NOT saying don't do it- but it could be something that may not work out if you are a "free thinker" and are reluctant to compromise your principles of desire for truth and knowledge. professional economists are doing it for the money and its reasonable to think their work reflects the interests of whoever pays their salary. this joke sort of illustrates the point:

A mathematician, an accountant and an economist apply for the same job.

The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks "What do two plus two equal?" The mathematician replies "Four." The interviewer asks "Four, exactly?" The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and says "Yes, four, exactly."

Then the interviewer calls in the accountant and asks the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The accountant says "On average, four - give or take ten percent, but on average, four."

Then the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same question "What do two plus two equal?" The economist gets up, locks the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says, "What do you want it to equal"?

 

I'm not sure how useful it may be, but I remember the authors of my graduate first-year economics textbook. It will probably depend on which university you go to but there is a revised edition of the textbook still in use. If you can find a copy (preferably cheap) it could give you a much better idea of where Economics courses are at and if its really what your looking for. 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Economics-Richard-Lipsey/dp/0199257841

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