“Love towards economics is the root of all virtue.” – George Bernard Shaw
Economics is an integral part of the UPSC syllabus. Whether you like it or not, you have to study this subject if you wish to clear the IAS exam. Those who don’t like this subject frequently complain of it being a dry and boring subject. If you study with a preconceived notion in your head, chances are that you will not enjoy the process and ultimately your comprehension of the subject will suffer. This will lead you to perform poorly in these topics in the IAS exam thereby hampering your success in the civil services exam. This article talks about why economics is really an interesting subject and also about how you can make your economics learning fun and rewarding.
It’s all about models
Any economist would tell you that everything is explained by way of models in economics. Models help understand individual or firm behaviour.
“In economics, a model is a theoretical construct representing economic processes by a set of variables and a set of logical and/or quantitative relationships between them. The economic model is a simplified framework designed to illustrate complex processes, often but not always using mathematical techniques.”
Understanding these models and the assumptions underlying them can help in a better appreciation of the subject.
It forces you to think rationally
“Economics is the art to meet unlimited needs with scarce resources.” – Laurence J Peter
As you see, the basic question in economics is how to satisfy the needs of all with limited resources. Government policy is based on this. How to efficiently allocate resources? Economics forces you to think rationally while staying within constraints. This skill has wide-ranging applications and will help you when you become a civil servant.
Relation with society
Economics is not a standalone subject. It has broad applications in society. A good civil servant must have a decent knowledge of economics. A good grasp of this subject will help you understand a lot of the problems faced by people and also help you find solutions to them. Most problems like crime, backwardness, social evils, etc. all have an economic origin most of the time.
A good way to start liking economics is to read about its huge role in history and also about the impact of the global economy on people’s lives. If you think about it, the way we live today has got a lot to do with economics. Colonialism, the slave trade, invasions – all these events took place because of predominantly economic needs. You can start by a light reading of the book: Economic History of India: Ancient to Present Day authored by N. Jayapalan.
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