I remember back at Uni, during my first year when I’d actually enrolled for an engineering course before switching to commerce, a young lad quite rudely asked the calculus lecturer just what on earth we were being taught during a specific lesson would help us with in our application of that “knowledge.” That guy (who’s probably a fully qualified engineer by now) went on to shape my entire professional life as that’s perhaps the defining moment which made me question just what I was doing there, learning about integration and what not. Perhaps he’ll never know it, but he definitely contributed to me being in the financial industry.
I must say that that wasn’t my final encounter with calculus in some form or the other, because in the actuarial sciences (which form only part of my profession), we did indeed learn about integration and the likes, but with more of a theoretic feel to it so as to help develop and maintain the various financial systems used throughout the entire financial industry. If it’s all about making money, I really thought that the best way to do that was right in the middle of the financial industry, and so I said goodbye to what would have been my engineering degree.
Anyway, questions around the education we pay so much money for keep haunting me to this day and I often sympathise with people who ask questions like “Shouldn’t all economists be rich?” I mean they’re all experts in their field, which is the field of how the financial sector works. Economists have all the inside knowledge, don’t they, and so they should know how to take advantage of this knowledge to make themselves wealthy?
You see them featured on all those business and money shows, giving their expert opinion on what the market is going to do. Some are even willed to pick what they deem to be hot stocks or hot investments which they believe will be the next biggest movers of the market, as possible cases for the eager onlooker to make a bit of money for themselves. I can’t count how many times an economist has gotten their predictions horribly wrong however, which brings us back to the question of whether or not all economists should indeed be rich.
With a strong scientific background as well, I’ve often questioned the inner-workings of the financial system myself, wondering whether or not is should follow more of a scientific methodology. What I discovered though, through my ground-level experience working in the financial sector, is that economists and pretty much anyone else working in the financial industry gets equipped with fundamental knowledge of how the financial system works. Just like economists, we all study what is essentially the “science” which drives the operation of the financial system. What economists aren’t privy to is the type of information available to candidates for insider trading. Well they perhaps are, but they simply cannot make use of that information to enrich themselves, otherwise they’d be indicted for insider trading.