The Economics of My Life

Week 4 of semester 2 has begun and to say that I am stressed is but an understatement. FYI I meant to post this during week 1 but look at how preoccupied with school work.

“Schools are going online”, “get your internship for next summer!”, “Singapore’s GDP has contracted and entered a technical recession”. These are words that are flying around me and the need to respond to them is so urgent. It seems that I have become such city nomad that a day without checking my to-do list becomes something unusual.

I am trying a way to balance studies and my life but for a logical yet highly emotional person like me, I figured the best way would be to explain life, as I know it, in simple economics terms. That way I might probably find a way to really digest and process some facts of life.

THERE IS ALWAYS A TRADE-OFF

This is something I often say to others. The reason behind problems is scarcity. If there is no scarcity, there is no value in money. If that happens – yes hyperinflation – then how can individuals obtain a good or service in return? And it’s not just scarcity in terms of physical resources but in time and energy. Everyone has inherent constraints and there’s really nothing we can do about it. And because of this, there is a trade-off. We must choose what we want to do with our time and resources and this brings me to my next point.

IMPOSSIBLE TRINITY

It may be possible that no one can conquer the “impossible trinity” and that is, logically fine. As students we aim to be diligent in our studies, excel in internships and club activities while maintaining good social relationships. Time is the inherent constraint here but why does it seem like some people have it all? Are they lacking in other aspects of their lives, say family relationships? The nature of social media further blurs what is teal or fake, fooling us to believe that what is online is real. But in reality, this may not be the case because we only have that limited time each day.

AIM FOR A PARETO IMPROVEMENT

This was a concept I struggled with while I did EC2101 and I only understood it better after finals :’) (please be proud of me Dr. Zhang). Ironically, it was one of the economics concepts that I love most because it encourages me to aim not for perfection, but for areas of improvement without harming others.

It sounds incredible noble but I guess being able to do something meaningful is not such a bad thing?

LIKE A BUSINESS CYCLE, LIFE GOES UP AND DOWN

Nobody knows exactly what causes business cycles and when they end. But the fact that it does end, however long it may be, is comforting isn’t it?

I guess however long the difficulties lie ahead, knowing that one day tomorrow will be better is enough.

GDP = C + I + G + nX

That’s how most economies and governments measure success but I’m glad some, like Bhutan, are stepping up and using other index to measure a nation’s happiness.

As for me, I guess happiness comprises of emotional, physical and mental health, wealth, healthy and meaningful relationships and meaningful career.

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