BEFRIENDING ECONOMICS
Brunch Mumbai|February 9, 2020
A courageous attempt at understanding the queen of the social sciences
Rehana Munir

At the recent launch of a book, I found myself twinning with one of the two acclaimed authors. I cannot assume that Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee and I have much in common, but on that January day, we were both dressed in black churidar-kurtas and floral jackets. Finding him beside me at the coffee counter just before the event, I nervously muttered, “May I please shake your hand… because I can?” The befuddled intellectual shrugged his shoulders and gamely accepted my graceless offer.

THE FRIENDLY INTELLECTUALS

Which brings me to my point: economics. Having hit the home stretch of Good Economics for Hard Times by Banerjee and Esther Duflo, I have come to certain conclusions, and not all in the area of the book’s study. The first: thank heavens for intellectuals who aren’t condescending. There are so many jokes and pop culture references in the guide that even clueless lit graduates are made to feel welcome. Second, did you know that GDP is not the best indicator of growth? Or that the arrival of low-wage migrants does not upset the wages of native workers in a town?

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