"May you live in interesting times….."
We don't know whether this ancient Chinese saying was meant as a curse or a blessing, but either way, as far as the global economy is concerned, times could hardly be more interesting. After an extended period of weakness, the economic environment is changing almost daily; but who knows how robust the recovery will be and how soon long-term stability will return? Who knows the most suitable policies to achieve prosperity for everyone (or, at least, an improved standard of living for most)?
While studying Economics may not provide all the answers, it at least helps students to understand, explain and possibly even predict the movements of Adam Smith's renowned "invisible hand" which touches all of our lives. Economics is, after all, a social science: it involves the decisions of millions of individuals, whether as consumers, householders, employees, business owners or politicians, which dictate economic outcomes: recessions, booms, unemployment, inflation, deficits, surpluses, income inequality and so on. In other words, Economics is all about us: it is about understanding what causes us to do what we do and how we do it, given the resources that we have available. Could there be a more relevant discipline for the current age?
The College offers Economics as a Sixth form option at both A-Level and IB. Each programme is broadly similar, covering: microeconomics (the decision making of individuals and firms); macroeconomics (looking at the economy as a whole); international economics (including foreign trade); and development economics. Economics will appeal to students with an enquiring and analytical mind, and the ability to think critically and evaluate alternative outcomes. A solid grasp of mathematical concepts is preferred, as well as more than a passing interest in current affairs. There are many opportunities for enrichment, including participation in the Bank of England's Target 2.0 Interest Rate Challenge, the Student Investor Challenge (a nationwide stock exchange trading competition) as well as events organised by the Royal Economic Society and other institutions.