Andre Hebron | Economics Editor | Thursday 11 August 2016 | GMT 16:00 | andrehebron1@gmail.com

News Headline: UK economic growth rate revised down to 1.7% in 2017 by the IMF after Brexit Vote. It’s astonishing how people throw the word “economy” around but have little or no knowledge of what it actually means. “We need a strong economy” words echoed by many politicians and economists yet a large proportion of the populace have a limited understanding of what a strong economy consists of, which brings me to my first sweeping statement -Economics is the most important subject of all and everyone should have adequate knowledge. Some of you may disagree. However, this is a platform of creativity so feel free to do so. By the end of this piece, I would have hoped to change your mind on the topic issue.

Having undertaken the subject at A Level, and having limited understanding prior to studying the subject, I have come to this conclusion and will outline further reasons in due course. I believe that everyone should have an understanding of the subject as it encompasses everyday life. The introduction of economics as a subject in schools is too late. It is very rare where the subject is offered at GCSE Level but even then certain concepts should have been grasped by the age of 16. For example, the concept of scarcity and the supply and demand theory. That needs to change. When economics is mentioned, money tends to always be associated. However, economics is much more than that. It’s about behaviour and the decisions we make on a daily basis. Fluctuations in the exchange rate, inflation, unemployment, rising house prices – these are all inescapable factors that affect every country in the world and lie at the heart of what economics is about.

Why is economics so important? Well, as human beings, we must learn to live within our means. Understanding economics enables individuals, businesses and governments to make rational and effective decisions. For example, the UK government could use fiscal policy to reduce the budget deficit, either reduce government spending or increase taxation. Getting the correct balance of such policies that may work to achieve this can prove to be difficult. To make it much more simple, you can either carry on reading this article or stop here. There is an opportunity cost involved. Whether you choose to do or not, there is a cost. The thing about economics is that nothing is ever given. I mean there are theories that are applicable to a variety of scenarios but nothing is set in stone. To an extent, economics is about predictions by analysing trends and statistics. More than often, predictions tend to be wrong. However, more needs to be done to ensure that people are financially aware of their surroundings.

Economics lies at the crux of society. Instantaneous financial transactions occur every single day. Businesses may decide to use game theory to increase their market share or increase profit margins. Make no mistake, economics is not just for those who have high capabilities in mathematics. It also regards the decisions that we take and the effects that follow. Having an understanding of the subject will be beneficial to everyone, regardless of their career path. Other fields such as Engineering, Medicine and Law guide are extremely important for the benefit of the economy but they act as a guide to how resources as allocated.

I may come across quite harsh but some university degrees are a complete waste of time. There is a problem with our society whereby some feel the need to choose a degree that do not allow them to be economically productive in society or one that is viewed as easy. Accumulating £27,000 worth of debt for a degree that cannot even guarantee a stable job. There is no logic behind such a decision. Here, I will begin to outline the failings of the system. You do not have to study marketing at degree level to get a job in marketing. You do not have to study English to become a writer. No one can convince me otherwise. What do I propose? There needs to be dramatic change in the UK education system. The UK government is pushing for 3 million apprenticeships by the end of the Parliament. I wholeheartedly support the idea as it allows the population to be more productive by acquiring the necessary work based skills coupled with the necessary knowledge to carry out their job effectively.

The government needs to push for strong ties between business and schools. Career advice is significantly inadequate for young people to make informed decisions about their career path. Subjects relating to the creative arts industry e.g. Drama, Media, Web Design should be offered as apprenticeships in my view. The process needs to start much earlier. Some may feel that the more rigorous, academic subjects (Mathematics, Law, Medicine, Economics, Engineering and so on) are considered superior and they are, as studying them allows world issues such as climate change, terrorism and poverty to be tackled. This is quite a short list but we need to recognise the world is changing. Certain jobs will become non- existent in the next 10-15 years through technological advancement and changing demand patterns, leading to structural unemployment.

I cannot stress the importance and relevance of Economics in this article alone. But here are some final words of wisdom. Everyone should have an understanding of how the economy works. We, as a generation, are going to be left with the problems that the generation before us could not solve and new problems will arise. It should be mandatory because whether you like it or not, economics affects us all more than we know.

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