Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Where are the economists?

I want to explore further some points made in my previous post.

I am a chemical engineer.  Suppose America were to get into a huge chemical engineering mess.  I would immediately come forward and offer any suggestions and assistance I could to solve the problem.  I am sure there are thousands of other chemical engineers who would do the same. 

Many chemical engineers are members of American Institute of Chemical Engineers.  Whether members or not, I am sure there would be an outpouring of assistance.

In fact there is a good joke about chemical engineers.

A member of clergy, a lawyer, and a chemical engineer are scheduled for execution by guillotine.  In the country where this is happening, there is a custom that if the guillotine fails to work, the sentence of the intended victim is commuted.  He or she can go free and live happily ever after.

First the member of clergy is placed on the guillotine.  The button is pressed but the knife fails to drop.  The member of clergy is freed.  Then the lawyer is placed on the guillotine.  The button is again pressed but the knife again fails to drop.  The lawyer is freed.

Then the chemical engineer is brought forward.  Suddenly he cries out "Wait, I see what the problem is. I can fix it!"

America is in a huge economics mess.  No one can deny this statement.

So where are the economists?  Where are the articles, by economists, in the media, in the newspapers, on the Internet, commenting on the real issues:

Real issue 1:  Over the last 50 years, millions of manufacturing jobs were voluntarily transferred to foreign countries.

Real issue 2:  Over this period, America's balance of trade with foreign countries in manufactured goods went from POSITIVE to a huge NEGATIVE of over 500 billion dollars per year.

The above two "real issues" are real things that actually happened.  The above two "real issues" are facts, absolutely incontrovertible facts. 

Surely in any discussion of America's economic situation, the above two "real issues" have to be dealth with.

I looked at the website of the economics department of each of two major U.S. universities.  In one case there are 37 professors and in the other case 56 professors.  That is nearly 100 economics professors in only two universities.  Look at every university with an economics department and you will undoubtedly come up with a figure in the thousands.

Is there no economics professor, among all those professors, who is brave enough to come forward and comment on the above two "real issues" and tell us the significance of these issues and what should be done to solve our economics problem?

I am planning to write a brief note, similar to the above, to a sample of economics professors at various universities.  it will be interesting to see what happens!

In my chemical engineering work, I came up with one good invention.  To develop this invention, I used basic high school algebra, combined with a couple of basic principles of science and engineering.  In other words, simple stuff.

Similarly, I believe that the content of Economics 101 is more than enough to solve America's economics problem.  Everything needed is set out in Economics 101.  So what are we waiting for?

But I should think about this statement a little more.  It is based on my experience of taking Economics 101 a good few years ago.  Here is the question I have.

What on earth are they teaching today's Economics 101 students?   Surely students know that we are in very serious economic difficulties and are looking for answers.  Surely every student is wondering if he or she will be able to find employment, after graduation.  

Maybe I should attend Economics 101 lectures at a nearby university and see what is going on!

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