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Huang Chunxing:Attitudes for Young Scholars Devoted to Economics

I am from Taiwan, China, and teach economic theory of Austrian School for a long-term in National Tsing Hua University, studying political economics from the perspective of the Austrian school. I’ve learned of lot of discussions on problems of economics, or economics in China more specific, and how to promote economics from previous speakers today. Based on these discussions, I’d like to share views on two things that should be noticed of for the young scholars who are devoted to economics.

First, what attitudes should be taken when studying economics? Or in other words, which perspective should be taken when thinking about economic issues?

I classified the economics into three levels, or three categories. The first is called economics for the world of a single person, in which all the resources are governed by economists, including other people. Such attitude is common among economists at present, especially scholars of the neoclassical school. Is the category, or attitude good or not, right or wrong? I won’t elaborate on it since I myself am from the neoclassical school.

The second category is economics for the world of two people. Economist has realized that if the studying object is a person capable of independent thinking, then he or she might not be the resource that can be arranged. Therefore, economists have to think about what possible countermeasures may be taken. This is the game theory, the economic analysis method for the second category.

These two categories are well-developed, and many economists of the western world have received the Nobel Prize. But things have changed after entering the age of globalization and the Internet. Nowadays, we often do not know where transaction or cooperation partners are, not to mention to find them, without which, we cannot do any analyses. This is called economics for the world of many people. The competitive world is changing rapidly. We cannot analyze any issues with today’s concepts, since it can collapse at any time. The focus of economics for the world of many people is how to establish platforms to form regulations and rules. You young scholars, which perspective among the above mentioned three will you take to think about economic issues is very important.

Now come to the second view. It is known that Coase wrote in his last book that economics of the last century was dominated by the UK, but by the US in this century, and by China in the future on the premise that Chinese economists hold correct attitudes. So what is this correct attitude? Put it simply, it is that economists must know that they are economists, rather than other social sciences scholars.

More specifically, I believe the correct attitude involves the following four principles, or four attitudes in economic research. The first principle is that the pure theory is a logical construction with no geographical differences. The second principle is that since the pure theory is a logical construction, results obtained from theories on production or consuming shall apply into practice continually. Allocation is receiving more and more attention. If we discuss allocation in the future, results obtained in the past from theories on production and consuming (field) cannot be ignored but shall continue to be used.

Marginal utility theory, based on methodological individualism, is accepted by economics at present. Therefore, the third principle is that methodological individualism shall not be abandoned in promoting the development of economics. The fourth principle is the most important one, which is economics is not human science, though they two are closely related. So in economic studies, thinking or background of economists should not be asked of, since they are independent of logic emphasized by economic analyses.

◆please indicate the source if authorized: National Economics Foundation

◆photo:National Economics Foundation