I agree with professor Takamitsu Sawa’s assessment (July 12) that economists must not confine their knowledge to the areas of math and statistics. This is also a problem elsewhere.
Considering the current global financial problem, we hear many economic experts opine on television. For example, the likes of American attorney Elizabeth Warren and political economist Robert Reich accurately point out how American family income has either remained stagnant or declined over the past 30 years, despite the condition of dual-income parents.
The two “lost decades” in Japan have been largely attributed to wrong policies applied by the government. Former vice finance minister Eisuke Sakakibara attributes the stagnant economy of Japan partly to China’s integration into the global supply chain.
Meanwhile, economist Andy Xie, the former star of Morgan Stanley, points out that the United States and the developed countries will continue seeing stagnant or declining wages since jobs have moved to Asia and other emerging countries.
Only by taking all these views together does one approach the whole picture of what’s going on. Knowledge of history, pop culture, prevailing moods and sentiments contribute as well.
Understanding the whole picture helps one re-evaluate long-held assumptions. And this is a reason why students still appreciate books from historical economist Charles Kindleberger and anthropologists like Emmanuel Todd.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.