What Economics Means to Me
by Nick Mastronardi
While economics technically is the "study of the efficient allocation of scarce resources," it means more than that to me. Coming from a mathematical (and Italian) background, Economics is much more interesting than deterministic equations because people argue a lot more.
Specifically, Economics combines the Art of postulating behavioral characteristics and preferences with the Science of drawing inferences from data, constructing models that shed light on the operations of the world around us, and calculating optimal policies. At its heart, Economics holds answers to how we should behave in order to obtain our best result (and that “we” can pertain to you, to me, to us, or to the environment…)
A subtle question that remains is what we mean by “best.” Philosophers contemplate this exhaustively. Economists take the philosophers answers, use mathematical tools, and solve whichever ones we can. Politicians view our results, and then implement whatever they like.
More seriously, getting to the heart of economics is a very challenging and delicate adventure. It requires artistic talent and lots of scientific muscle. One need be very familiar with the way that we affect all resources of our environment, and also with the way that our environment affects us. Therefore, “what economics means to me” is trying to simultaneously determine “what I mean to economics.”