A soldier who does not want to be a General is not a good soldier, so the old saying goes. But this is as objective as one stating her favorite color. What if this person gets a hell of kick from just being a soldier?
What if an Economics student doesn’t really care that much about becoming a master of this subject? I am not accusing Prof. Cheung of being elitist, but he sure made Economics sounded like rocket science. No, not just rocket science, more of fine art – you either have “it” or don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I am not denying the eminent existence of “talent”. Otherwise, how could you explain Mozart? But I do believe talent plays a less part in Economics studies than it does in art.
Among the many things I learnt from my sociology professors, one is that as much as a sociologist wants to be objective, she would inevitably fail. And this is not necessarily a bad thing. What it takes to excel in anything, among hard work, little bit of talent and maybe a tiny bit of luck, is passion. Nash didn’t develop Game Theory because he was objective and unbiased. He did it because that’s all he could think about.
Believing in something firmly is not bad at all in academic world, if I may say so. Unless of course, one becomes intellectual fundamentalist. In Chinese history, there was a time when numerous thoughts developed and flourished side by side. That was the great era of “百家争鸣“. That was an era when our ancestors learnt an awful lot about the physical and cosmic reality. So what if one economist praises the appreciation of RMB and doesn’t bother to state its negative effects on migrate workers? Another economist can list out all the harms it would impose on migrate workers without having to mention its positive effects. As long as both pieces of information get out there, people, especially the policy makers can be the judge.
So as a student of both Economics and Sociology, I don’t think Economics is any more “mysterious” than Sociology or Political Science for that matter. As for the last two criteria, namely “the right logic” and “being observant”, tell me a social science that does not require them.