Dec 15, 2007

The Kickoff

Welcome to my new blog! To kick this off, I’ll start with an introduction and an overview of my philosophy:

My name is Ben Hughes and I’m currently a senior at Rochester Institute of Technology, finishing up a double major in Information Technology and Economics. I’m a Ruby on Rails web developer, jazz musician, tennis player, and amateur economist interested in policy issues. I am philosophically libertarian and believe that the free market works better than most non-economists assume. Capitalism, or the free market, often deserves more “respect” than most people grant it, hence the name of this blog.

Let me be clear that the opinions presented and analysis of issues discussed in this blog are based on pure armchair reasoning of issues that do not necessarily represent “hard science” with empirically provable results. I am not a Ph. D. economist and am not interested in publishing research papers backed by hard data and mathematics; I am far more interested in “thinking outside the box” and putting seemingly non-economic issues into an economic light. Some of the most interesting books I’ve ever read followed this direction.

I strongly believe in greater public understanding of economics as a thought process, or “thinking like an economist”. Economics is not business and it is not finance: it is the study of scarcity and how resources are (hopefully optimally) allocated, a fact rarely acknowledged by non-economists. I think it’s a shame that many high schools require four years of study in literature while requiring virtually no study in economics, statistics, or probability – all issues that better-enlighten the public and through democratic voting have drastic consequences on the well-being of millions of people.

Part of my drive for writing this blog arises from the seemingly widespread misconceptions of economic cause and effect that spread like wildfire throughout the popular media, but are seldom properly addressed by journalists. With all the time being dumped into research of dubious practical merit, I think economists should take a more active role in policy issues by aiding in greater understanding of the “dismal science”.

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