I am doing this resigned of the test I will do tomorrow. I may sound pissed or something, but it is not because of the subject, far beyond that, I find it quite interesting (I’m only like this because tomorrow I will have to wake up really early).
Most subjects I’ve had were either physical, mathematical or some weird juxtaposition of biological or chemical concepts for physicists or people who work with physics, so having Economics has been a blast. Being able to look at underlying mecanisms that are behind our policies, and that have influenced much of history. And the debates, where you have different ideologies clashing each other, as if you were in a japanese anime with a villain and a hero (Dragon Ball Z is a good example, the classical shounen genre) were both of you were villains on each other’s eyes. I am not an economist, nor will I be one, as far as I know, which is why I cherish this subject I am having right now, because I know I will likely work on it again, but I am very certain I will be working with it, whether it be as an engineer or as a physicist.
Sure, the current dynamics of your society shows everyone in bubbles, more or less isolated from each other, none standing each other. It’s kind of sad actually. I am specially sad for the so-called “far-left and far-right activists” in our social media. Sure, classifying political ideologies as being binary is about as stupid as classifying sexuality as such. There is a whole spectrum, and it should even be one-dimensional. Now, we pretty much assume that if you are pro-LGBT and pro-choice, you automatically are a leftist, a socialist (or as any right-wing in the US would say, communist “UUUUuuuuhh the commies are coming, and they are coming hard”). And I pretty much thought of myself as such as well. Now, while I still consider myself as progressive, I don’t think of everything as black and white anymore. There are many sides to one issue, some with more validity than others.
No sides are equal, but if we notice a logical flaw we shouldn’t just shut it down. As something that kind of pisses me off, a good example is astrology. I may think that an astrologer is a legalized con-artist, but I won’t shut down someone for believing stars millions of miles away will have any influence in their lives. I even enjoy reading the horoscopes to my “alleged” signs. It’s quite funny actually what they think of Taurus. But if you don’t go with a sceptic eye, you might start thinking, “Hey, I am like that too. This thing really can say something about me.”. Heck, even as a sceptic, I noted some things were the same for what I thought was my personality. I am pretty sure some psychologists have studied this, if you know who they are, please leave your comments down below.
Here’s a dilemma we were talking about on class. Something about an huge oil reserve in Alaska, worth something like 700 billion USD. To give you perspective, you know how many countries have a GDP below that value? Pretty much all of them, besides the 18 wealthiest countries (Not counting the European Union as a single economic entity, although it is a single economic entity). So naturally there is an huge interest in exploiting the resources. But the debate was not because this oil reserve was found, but because of the location. It happened to be on a natural reserve, I think, where there are some animals who might be endangered, and the method that was being discussed for extracting the oil could put that ecossystem in jeopardy (not the game) so obviously you had two sides in the issue.
One side (the proxy republicans) obviously thought that 700 billion dollars was too much to let go to waist, and specially after the wealthy people tax cut, they should probably find money to cover for government expenses, because these poor people can’t even afford their healthcare anymore. The other side (the environmentalists) were already against this before the debate started, for the simple reason that our planet is FUCKING DYING and we should go solar before it’s too late. After that, they also thought about the endangered species, I mean, at least think of the children, will they even know what these animals were in the future, if they go extinct? It’s a matter of patrimony.
In the end, the debate remained unconclusive, because we still had two many people in both sides. But, a third group appeared. I started as an environmentalist and ended in this group, because ignoring our feelings, and destroying our emotions we decided to look at this from a survival and economic perspective. Something that would allow us that have a sustainable future, while still enjoying the benefits from that oil. Maybe we could still exploit the oil, with a method that wasn’t so damaging to that environment. Sure, you could argue, that is not gonna help the planet. But realistically, it is the best option. Our energetic needs right now, or at least, those of the US, which is the country that matters for this particular issue, can’t really be suplemented by solar alone, so even if all governments decided to start replacing every fossil fuel energy with renewable, it would still take decades to fully replace everything. So if that oil is gonna sit there, it may as well be used. On the same time, let’s admit that maybe use a better, safer method, and while many say they are not even sure if the oil reserves are that big or if the terrain allows to use that method, the Secretary of Interior, the “geologist”, I think his name was Zinke, still allowed for using that controversial method. We believe that yeah, maybe use the oil, but at least, make sure to look like you give a shit about the environment.
That was a fun day, and we had other debates, most of them about issues affecting our own Portuguese reality, so I don’t think it would of much interest to you guys. It was cool, we were able to exchange ideas, oppose ideas, have a bit of conflict (I secretly like chaos) and even change your own personal beliefs. Economics not only taught me how to make decisions (it is literally the science of decision-making) but it also taught me how to change my decisions if they happen to be stupid, and to find if they are stupid by sharing them with someone you disagree with. Again, this doesn’t mean you should take it as a subject.
The core message I wanted to share from my experience was that maybe discussing your ideas with people outside of your echo-chamber is not a bad thing. And yes, you will find out you are wrong in many things, and yes, you will be pissed about it, but you will thank it, one day.