A good time to be an Economist
Over the past three years, the world economy has been one turbulent roller-coaster ride that we don't see halting anytime soon. It began with the unprecedented damages by the pandemic, followed by the massive humanitarian and energy costs of the Russia-Ukraine War and now, the forecasts of recession in the UK.
There is a lot that we lost - from friends and family, to livelihoods, and sometimes, our faith in humanity. But there is a lot we learned as well - adaptability, empathy, and that it is a good time to be an Economist. I’ll tell you why.
Take the current turmoil in the UK economy for instance. The extraordinary run up of inflation over the past year was exacerbated by the introduction of tax cuts, which resulted in the pound shrinking and interest rates rising. With uncertainty and u-turns flooding headlines, the country is more in need of economic analysts than ever - to forecast the consequences of major policy decisions before implementing them, and to prepare contingency plans to soften the blow. According to Chris Giles, the economics editor of the Financial Times, economic forecasters have become pessimistic about the future, with the general consensus being that the UK economy will to shrink 0.3% next year. These economic forecasts are imperative for firms and people to make decisions about their production and consumption patterns. Additionally, to bring some real names into the discussion; the three most recent Chancellor of Exchequers of the UK have degrees in the field of Economics.
Furthermore, if you’ve been distraught by the humanitarian crisis in Sudan or the escalating poverty and inequality rates in the UK, here’s where you can step in as an Economist. Studying an Economics degree at university, you can choose modules such as 'Politics of International Development' and 'Democracy and Authority'. They not only educate you regarding ongoing global conflicts, political turmoil and development issues but also train you to analyse the data of a country and make informed policy decisions. For instance, over the past decade, inequality has emerged as a vast research field in Economics, with ground-breaking work such as that of Princeton’s Anne Case and Nobel laureate Economist Angus Deaton in their book ‘Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism’.
On the other hand, if it’s a fast-paced career in finance that excites you, you’ll be happy to know that Economics and Finance are said to be two sides of the same coin. Investment Banks, Asset Managers, Hedge Fund Managers etc. are all affected by macroeconomic factors such as interest rates, inflation, and recession. For example, when the pandemic rattled the world, the economic impacts of uncertainty, rising demand and supply-chain issues affected clients of Investment Banks. Economic analysis was imperative in helping these firms solve revenue and cost challenges and aid their access to credit. Moreover, amidst the Russia-Ukraine crisis, it is forecasted that energy transition to reduce dependence on Russia will result in increased partnerships in the private markets and mergers and acquisitions, as many companies may struggle to keep up. Thus, investigating, analysing and presenting these changes in the global markets are what makes economists vital in the Finance industry, and imperative amidst the ongoing crises.
In conclusion, there are economic decisions in running every aspect of the world today and its significance only magnifies in times of crisis. Because of the broad field of careers that it caters to, this is a profession that will always have something to offer to the world. So be the change you want to see in the world - become an Economist.