Economics explores what happens when unlimited desires conflict with limited means. Of course, it applies to buying and selling stuff, but economics is so much more. Economics explains why the minimum wage often hurts the very workers most in need of help. Economics explains why making cars safer doesn’t necessarily save lives, and why requiring babies to be in car seats when flying actually increases child travel fatalities. Economics explains why outlawing the ivory trade can decimate elephant populations, and why requiring medical drugs to be government approved can kill more people than allowing drugs to bypass the approval process.
Invariably, students (often at the prompting of parents) ask, “but what can I do with economics?” Students who study economics at the undergraduate level rarely become “economists.” Most jobs with that title require at least a masters degree. Many economics undergraduates are employed as analysts – business analysts, financial analysts, consumer analysts, strategic analysts. This is because studying economics is less about learning how to do something than it is about learning how to think clearly and analytically.
Particularly for younger students, the job in which you will spend most of career hasn’t been invented yet. In fact, it is likely that the industry hasn’t even been invented yet. This is what makes economics such a valuable course of study. By providing you with the ability to think clearly and analytically, economics prepares you not only for jobs that exist now, but also for jobs that haven’t been invented yet.