Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sociology and Economics

You know, I think I could have tried harder in Economics if I believed in it more. There would have been basic math to take as a prereq for my real courses, and it is not an easy major (and it really doesn't help that most of the TAs are international students which makes it that much harder to get help, because of the language thing. Not that they aren't competent, but they are basically math students, not really the people to do teaching, and it is very hard to get answers to questions.), but I am an optimist and I believe in social change, and flexibility and everything, and economics (of course, I only took one upper div econ class, and I withdrew from it) is just very rigid. I still think a basic grasp of economics is important to have, and it is scary that people have to set up their lives and make decisions about careers, and housing, and regions to live, without a minimal awareness of microeconomics, and it is very frustrating to listen to people on radio and television who disregard or are unaware of macro and micro economics. Numeracy is important. But, ugh, scarcity? How can there really be scarcity? I mean, theoretically, sure, some things are finite. But our needs are finite as well, and my wants are finite. Surely we can just plan really, really carefully and then it will be a surplus. We had to read, in the class that I withdrew from, these philosophical/logical exercises about how much you should give to the poor, and they carefully proved that you cannot both take vacations, and help the world's poor, and help local poor. Where is the benefit in proving that? Why not just be brilliant, and work through the scarcity? That is what I will do. 

Anyway, the reason I was thinking about this is because in Soc section our guest TA said that sociology is kind of a depressing field because there are so many problems, and I started laughing very quietly, but he called on me to explain. And I said that I had a slight econ background, and econ is ten times less hopeful and positive and willing to look for solutions, and I had been thinking all quarter how engaging and optimistic this course is. 

But it is true that on our overarching timeline for the course, the current era's (On the chart our era is "Reagan and the 'Neoliberal Era'" and our Regime of Accumulation (yeah, I don't know, it is just my job to memorize it in context) id "Post-Fordism/Flexible Accumulation") Economic Shifts are worrying:
1. Recession
2. Mortgage Crisis
3. Credit Crisis
4. Fiscal Crisis

But i don't know, in sociology it's an attitude of "how are people responding to this in their personal lives? How is this changing the intended career paths? Time spent at work? Percentage of people who relocate? How is it affecting schoolchildren? Divorce?" it's just a more exploratory and less prescriptive/blaming way of looking at the world. 

No comments: