In the early 1990s, when the economy was new but our mindsets were old, your humble columnist, then newly returned from Oxford was astounded at the old-fashioned world of Indian journalism. In those days, it was believed that the fate of the nation rested on the home ministry, defence ministry, ministry of external affairs and the finance ministry. These ministries were covered by senior male journalists, snarling patriarchs who guarded their domains with the fierce territoriality of lions. Rural development, education and health — which all over the world were seen as vital to a nation’s progress — were relegated firmly to second place. These ‘social sectors’ were covered by women, conscientious ladies who were repeatedly reminded that infant mortality, epidemics, primary education and affordable housing didn’t really matter as much as high diplomacy or heavy-duty weaponry. Sagarika Ghose is senior editor CNN-IBN.
As an erstwhile keen graduate student of history who stumbled into finance and economics as a professional hazard... I have learnt as much from economics as I have from history not only to understand the real world but also for formulating policy as a civil servant. Rather, this is a plea for rescuing the discipline of economics from the jaws of rocket scientists and mathematicians and handing it back to macro-economists, economic historians and political-economists. Social scientists need to reclaim the dismal science and spruce it up. There are after all other social sciences, such as psychology, that economics can turn to, to make it both more colourful and this-worldly, as George Akerlof, Robert Shiller and Richard Thaler have shown recently. The writer is a civil servant. Views are personal. Alok Sheel: Of economists and historians Business Standard - Jun 12, 2009 7:51 PM