We have accepted that research is the foundation of solutions and the mother of innovation. Mathematical and statistical explorations are like the crystal balls—recognizing a pattern in gathered data enables us to foresee what might happen and how prevent it, especially if it is negative.
This is what economists do on matters especially concerning production. From the pool of variables, infinite possibilities may arise, not all of them good. It is their job to determine how to manipulate variables to make sure nothing goes out of control—money is on the line, after all, and with the large-scale production that economists have to study, the smallest mistake could cost the most.
One might easily say, “It’s all just numbers.” But at the point in time when calculators and formulas were not yet devised, it was every man for his own. Times now are very different, what with computing devices easily purchased as school supplies. Before technology became so deeply-ingrained in human life, it wasn’t as simple as inputting the numbers and hitting the equals key.
To better understand and appreciate economists and the progress they have caused sans the sophisticated computing equipment, here are a few of the tasks that were included in their job description.
Research and Analysis
To truly grasp the weight of their tasks, here are only a few of the many other variables that economists have to look into:
- Raw materials and supplies, demand for product, time and cost of creating product, cost of hiring workers or operating machines
- Cost of product distribution, cost of product, difference between the expenditures and the revenue
- Finances and all money-related aspects of the area of specialization
Imagine having to collect all that data without the equipment we have today, manually writing down the numbers while staying accurate.Further, imagine having to put all those elements together without the use of a calculator. Of course, not everything can fit in a page and rounding off is necessary, but accuracy is then compromised.
Economists also had to present the findings in a way that non-mathematically-inclined individuals can understand. They had to do the illustrations themselves, plotting and graphing possibly hundreds of values just to make sense of them.
Another challenge they faced was organizing their records and retrieving them in the most efficient way possible—which, in retrospect, may not have been so efficient.
Because of the lack of technological aid, it took a long time for economists to finalize their findings. By the time it is presented to the concerned people, the trends may matter significantly less. So it was also a time-pressured job.
There is so much more to being an economist than the mere manipulation of numbers. When the data has been graphed and the recommendations have been heard, it does not really end there. This is why we should be thankful for now being able to purchase the best graphing calculator for the simplest of requirements.
Technology has mobilized us in a way our forefathers never thought possible, so we ought to make the most out of it, and utilize as much as we can for positive and productive purposes.