Experts in Macroeconomics

I recently read an interesting opinion piece about how macroeconomics is perceived. Due to the nature of macroeconomics on the surface it feels like a relatable subject, as it includes topics such as taxation, income, government expenditure, inflation, etc. This is why there tends to be a much greater stress of opinion on macroeconomics, compared to microeconomics. However, the technicality of it is far from relatable, with your common academic paper being far from accessible even to those studying economics in the first or second year.

It would be rare to find a laymen with an opinion on microeconomics, mainly due to it immediately being a technical subject from the surface. However I feel it would be safe to assume they would have some kind of opinion on the aforementioned topics. The issue here does not lie with the laymen, the issue that arises is the strong views and opinions that people hold even though they are not experts on the subject.

It is relatively accessible to have an opinion on macroeconomic factors, but this can cause a misunderstanding of policy, and what effects certain policies may have. Then due to the political aspect of macroeconomics this can develop into strong views. The critical element here is that macroeconomics is on par in regards to technicality with microeconomics in many areas due to the use of similar techniques in analysis. This is not accessible to those approaching it from the political perspective or the daily understanding.

The further evolves due to the immediate reaction to The Great Recession, where economists were perceived to have been standing around, scratching their heads, confused as to what was the cause of the crisis, potential outcomes, and the right solutions. Consequently, the public may perceive that macroeconomists themselves have a loose understanding themselves. In this economists are the first to admit that evidence does not make everything cut and clear, but simply an appreciation of the complexity of the many variables in the macroeconomy that interact.

I write this as an article on game theory has become most read on the BBC homepage, but even this is a surface application of what is rigorously mathematical and technical when applied in the academic stage, whereas the concept in itself is a bit more straight forward. In the end of the day it seems like all those involved in public policy believe themselves to be experts in macroeconomics in the decisions they make, however it is clear that it attributes to itself a complexity when approached technically that shows the true value of an expert in the field… even though they may not have all the answers.


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