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Text 7. THE POWER OF ECONOMICS
More than half a century ago John Maynard Keynes, one of the most influential economists of the 20th century, said:
“The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist”.
Most of the ideologies of the modern world have been shaped by prominent economists of the past - Adam Smith, David Ricardo, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, and John Maynard Keynes. And current world leaders routinely solicit the advice and policy suggestions of today's economists.
For example, the President of the United States benefits from the recommendations of his Council of Economic Advisers. The broad range of economic issues facing political leaders is suggested by the contents of the annual Economic Report of the President.
Areas covered typically include unemployment, inflation, economic growth, taxation, poverty, international trade, health care, pollution, discrimination, immigration, regulation, and education, among others.
In spite of many practical benefits, economics is mainly an academic, not a vocational, subject. Unlike accounting, advertising, corporate finance, and marketing, economics is not primarily a how-to-make-money area of study. Knowledge of economics and mastery of the economic perspective will help you run a business or manage your personal finances. But that is not its primary objective. Instead, economics ultimately examines problems and decisions from the social, rather than the personal, point of view. The production, exchange, and consumption of goods and services are discussed from the viewpoint of society's best interest, not strictly from the standpoint of one's own pocketbook.
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