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Why this economics?
By Sushant Sharma

It may have been strange that I picked up a book on ‘economics’ whereas I should have been in look for a book on ‘arts’, a subject that I’m currently pursing for my bachelor degree. Somewhere in the subconscious, impact of more recent terms like recession, packages, bailout and Wall Street seize must have been over-whelming.

Never has it been more important to understand what’s going on in the world of economics. In recent years, words like Inflation, Recession, GDP, Economic growth and Unemployment have rarely been out of the news and have become household words. These are the sorts of issues that we read and hear every day in the newspaper and on the radio and television.

This has been particularly true since the global credit crisis, with the recession that followed with a large impact on economies and businesses worldwide, and quite a few acquaintances being victims of the unexpected layoffs. And this entire furore has made a large portion of the previously oblivious population craving for knowledge and asking questions about ‘this’ branch of social science which seems to be in control of our lives!

And making the ‘curious’ understand Economics and its concepts is what made me to pick this aptly titled book ‘What you need to know about Economics’ from the shelf.

It seems economics is a fascinating subject that is fast gaining popularity amongst people of all age groups. Economics and its related seemingly complex terms, which were once solely the part of the language spoken by businessmen and brokers, have slowly started to intrigue the general masses.

Inflation takes everybody off-guard, not knowing how to react and adjust to it. Considered to be determined by demand and supply, any change in product process can cause inflation. While low and stable inflation is desirable, it is the extreme deflation and hyperinflation that one has to guard against. Interestingly, if rate of inflation increases the rate of interest on deposits, the money pulled out from the banks at such a stage can buy you less than when you started.

Economics and its related seemingly complex terms, which were once solely the part of the language spoken by businessmen and brokers, have slowly started to intrigue the general masses.

Though limited, there has always been a certain fascination with what’s going on in the economies worldwide. To the uninitiated like me, however, understanding economics can be daunting prospect. Quite often, news stories and articles assume that the audience knows some basics about economics whereas often that is not the case. Sometimes these stories just skim over the basic and important terms, facts and data leaving the reader clueless as to what is being thrown at him.

Without knowing the base terms, it is tough to make any headway in understanding this huge worldwide system which seems to be running our lives. Even popular terms like GDP and interest rates could be confusing, to say the least. However, this certainly does not mean that you need a degree to understand economics. In fact, economics is a very logical subject and its basics can be grasped very easily. After all the ‘Father of Economics’, 18th century economist Adam Smith was a Professor of Logic at Glasgow.

Written by George Buckley (Chief UK Economist at Deutsche Bank) and Sumeet Desai (Senior Adviser at the Royal Bank of Scotland), What You Need To Know About Economics aims to provide a basic introduction to the subject of ‘economics’. Understanding economics is one of the cornerstones of understanding how the world functions and how on a personal front, it leads to better living. Having a feel for what’s going on in the economy will get a better idea of the factors that are driving you business - both now and in the future.

With a table of content reading as: Growth, Inflation, Employment, Trade, Money, Central Banking, Public Finances, Housing, this 300-odd page book has left no stone unturned on its quest to explain all the most essential and should-know facts about economics. Although the book aims to be a humble introduction to the subject with its explanation of key economic ideas in simple terms, but in reality and to an amateur’s eyes; this book, supplied with authentic references, real time data filling up flow charts and economic models and notable quotations from the Economist legends, qualifies to be called a concise encyclopedia for beginners.

Worrying about the Economic conditions of the world and our respective country is no longer just the domain of the elders, as the youngsters too have become more enquiring about the importance of economics today than before. With the general mindset of the youth, just out of high school and enrolling themselves in college is aimed towards particular industries and the ‘packages’ provided by them, they want to stay a step ahead of their colleagues with the right information and facts at hand.

Worrying about the Economic conditions of the world and our respective country is no longer just the domain of the elders, as the youngsters too have become more enquiring about the importance of economics today than before.

This book has everything in it that one needs to understand the basic working of the economy whether he/she is starting a new job or business, studying or just interested in one of the most fascinating and evolving subjects of our times.

The world has changed a lot in the last decade. In the last few years, economists have been struggling with the fallout of the credit crunch and the recession that followed - the worst global downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. With new rising economic powers like India and China or with the advent of modern technologies and Internet in almost every home, the world has indeed changed a lot. And this book comes about to be an essential stepping-stone in understanding this dynamic economy that is influenced by forces that impinge our lives on a daily basis.

But despite all the changes around us, the basic laws of economics - like demand and supply paradigm – still hold true. What You Need To Know About Economics gives enough knowledge about the everyday concepts that we can use to apply to just about any situation. The book actually inspires us to read more and gain more knowledge about World Economics and greatly increases our appetite for knowledge.

Frequently asked questions like why did recession happen; why is there inflation; and why companies resort to layoffs have been answered in a very meticulous manner in this book. For example, taking up the topic of social security, the authors describe in a very precise manner that how better healthcare facilities in many developed countries has resulted in an increase in the number of elderly people in the population, claiming state benefits like pensions. At the same time, there remain a relatively smaller proportion of younger people in jobs and paying taxes, resulting in big holes in the state’s pocket as the dependency ratio will be higher than before. No wonder, developing countries do not have social security for its elderly population.

With all its juicy diagrams and quirky facts which are easy to grasp, this book gives us the resources we need to get a clearer picture of how the economy works, what economic development means to us and our business and gives us an ability to better understand the economic analysis and discussion we read in the newspapers and see on television every day.

Sushant Sharma  |  sushant91@gmail.com

Sushant Sharma is a college fresher and an avid reader.

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 Other Articles by Sushant Sharma in
Features  > Young Impressions

Enough! No more corruption!
Thursday, June 23, 2011

Contrary to their popular perception, youth of India have not only become vocal on political issues like corruption and governance, but they are also actively participating in public protests, giving hope for a better future.

Caught in the net
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Social networking websites like Facebook have captured the attention of the younger generation. Little surprise that the youth of today likes to meet and greet friends on the web than in real life.

Rediscovering Gandhi
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Gandhi Katha by Narayan Desai is an effort to involve people in the quest to understand the man behind the Mahatma.

Saving the planet
Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chris Goodall's well researched book, 'How to live a low carbon life', provides a practical approach to low-carbon living and shows how easy it is to take responsibility by each one of us.
  1  2  3     
Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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