To most people, “the economy” is some nebulous concept that vaguely affects how they live and work. When “the economy” is good, they are successful; when “the economy” is bad, they struggle. While economic experts might understand what “the economy” is and how it functions, the average person has little incentive to explore such complex concepts — right?
Actually, almost everyone can benefit from understanding more about the economy and specifically about economics. Broadly speaking, the economy refers to all activities associated with production, consumption and trade, which impacts almost every person on Earth. Meanwhile, economics is the study of the management and use of resources, by individuals, groups, nations or the entire globe. Here are a few benefits everyone enjoys from taking a course to learn more about economics.
One of the best reasons to take a course in an unfamiliar field — as opposed to merely reading a book or a journal article on the subject — is because a course will lay a foundation of knowledge on which students can build with further study. A business economics course will introduce fundamental concepts to students, most notably key economic terms that might be difficult for individuals to understand in other contexts. By gaining fluency in these terms, students can go on to consume other forms of economics education, like newspaper articles and podcasts, to learn even more about economics and the current state of the economy.
To the outsider, economics seems to be dominated by numbers and graphs, but the truth is that economics is a field with a significant amount of nuance. A large amount of economic theory is focused on predicting and assuming human behavior, which requires understanding how and why people act in real world environments and situations. Economists tend to know as much as psychologists about issues like cognitive biases, decision-making processes and rationality. This kind of nuanced understanding of human behavior can be exceedingly beneficial in many professional fields.
Not only does an economics course provide students with deeper understanding about the movements of broad financial markets, but studying economics can help students understand their own habits and values related to spending. Because so many economic concepts are focused on human behavior, an economics course might help students evaluate their own financial behavior and make changes that allow for wiser financial decisions into the future. Plus, there are many opportunities in everyday life for students to practice economic lessons, so life can benefit schoolwork, as well.
Application of Valuable Tools
Economists do not track the complex changes to economic systems using pencil and paper. The practice of economics relies heavily on a bevy of tools, to include statistical approaches, mathematical models, formulas and more. Leveraging these tools tends to help individuals and professionals understand and gain control over their financial situation. Again, an economics course tends to be advantageous over other forms of learning because it ensures that students will have plenty of supervised practice of essential tools. When guided by a knowledgeable expert, students can master these important tools faster, allowing them to use the tools in real life sooner and to greater accuracy and success.
Economics courses are not easy, but they provide valuable knowledge and skill. Employers generally prefer to hire job candidates with a breadth of useful experience and abilities, and the hard and soft skills provided through the study of economics will be impressive to hiring managers throughout a professional’s career. Even self-employed workers can improve their prospects after gaining more understanding of economics, as they can develop the ability to predict client demands and improve their products.
Of course, many students of economics fall in love with the field. A single course in economics could lead an individual to pursue an economics degree or study the economy in greater depth in graduate school. Because economics maintains a focus on decision-making, studying economics will help students make better decisions regarding their own professional futures.
Being able to keep up in conversations about the current state of the economy is an infinitesimal benefit of studying economics. Students who take the time to enroll in economics courses gain so much more from their formal exposure and practice in this field.