Monday, June 20, 2011

PPE or PLB? Philosophy plus Politics and Economics or Law and Business?

The following thoughts were prompted during/after reading "Economists, it’s time for the lawyers" by Alan Beattie in The Financial Times, June 17 2011

Since we live in societies where it's the laws that rule (although there tend to be too many laws, conflicting and ovelapping ones, to the point that the statement that a citizen must be aware of all laws is rendered utopian), a law degree is one of the qualifications needed for a CEO or other senior manager or decision maker (and has been for decades, for CEOs, in the US and internationally).

On the other hand, economics, in spite of its fancy math formulae, was and remains a social science, ie it has no "laws", as eg Physics does, so its theories tend to evolve into dogmae, hence explaining the often dogmatic disagreements between economic schools of thought (dogmae).

Maybe it is also time for the MBAs and in general for people who have experience of life, the economics of daily life and of running a biz (even a micro one) or being an executive, to assume jobs in places like the IMF, World Bank, etc.

In the UK, many political leaders etc have the well known "PPE" (Philosophy, Politics, Economics) degree. Maybe a Philosophy, Law and Business degree would be more suited in this era!

PS. One of the issues is to what extent knowledge or even a degree in Finance is needed today not only for the top exec of a place like the IMF, ie does one need to understand bond convexity to be the head of the IMF or even a citizen who can understand the Greek or the Eurozone crisis? IMO, No.

PS2. Which of course begs the question, is Finance a section of Economics or a science of its own? One could also argue whether Economics is (after all, still) a section of Sociology.

PS3. Our times, it could be said, are too financial, in addition to being too "legal", maybe too economic, not philosophical enough, too just-in-time, in other words too complex, too volatile and inter-disciplinary. Thus maybe a university degree programme in "Understanding the multi-facet world we live in and in making Decisions" in it could be the best qualification not only for leaders as well as all kinds of decision makers, even the average citizen (and voter).

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