January 28, 2010

Why I want to be an economist?

I have been witnessing the rise of my country with industrialization and significant economic development year by year throughout my childhood, the rapidity of which would have been unimaginable for people living on the same land a hundred years, fifty years, or even just twenty years ago. Yes, lucky I am born in this golden age, and in one of world’s most gigantic metropolises and the capital of a nation with a five-thousand-year history and gradually catching the eyes of the world with its undeniable consequences over international matters, and even luckier I am that I have been thinking of the reasons for such fast development and the propeller for it to be sustained into the future of our nation, ever since my childhood.

Economics is too abstract an idea for a child to fully comprehend, and of course I was no genius in this. What I could tell of the reasons for our development was by no doubt what I could touch and see around me every day as a child. In those days stores in China had already become abundant of western brands and the television with westernized commercials. Compared with completely hand-made clothes, furniture, and soap made from extractions of animal tissues decades ago, people were now using Colgate and Rejoice in mornings and evenings, having Big Macs for a quick lunch, and some of the wealthier were already driving to work. Although I was not sure how those things were developed and realized, I did know that China could not have relied solely on its own and got all these within just a dozen years – We needed to borrow the technologies from the developed and industrialized world, not from begging, but from mutually beneficial trades and exchanges, enabled by the economy reform started during the years of Deng Xiaoping, as I later learned.

When everyone across China had benefited from market economy, average people began realizing the importance of it and the government knew they will have to keep the market expanding and developing while some defects in many market economies away from China, in order to maximizing the welfare of the people. But how? What the Chinese government knew best was the application of military forces, but not the development of economy, a fact made only clearer by the known impoverished China under a planned economy. We lacked the knowledge needed to develop economy well, which is the very foundation of development of our technology, education and academic research, national defense, international status, and the well-being of our good countrymen and future of our nation. We need dedicated economists alongside politicians to design economic policies that are suitable to our specific conditions. With economics being one of the youngest subjects in the fields of research in most Chinese academic institutions, the scarcity of economic specialists is most obvious.

More than five years ago, when I first became a senior high school student, our teacher asked us to write down our wishes and goals for our study. Never would I ever forget what I have written on a slip torn from my notebook in that summer afternoon: Live for the welfare of the whole human race, and contribute to the development and future of mankind until the last day of my life. I believe by studying economics, I will best dedicate my life to our nation and the world. To realize that dream – an eternal dream of humankind.

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