Economics has long been known as the dismal science. So catastrophes – natural, man-made, economic, medical – would seem to be the perfect subject matter for economists. And so they are: the discipline now ranges freely across the full range of modern human concerns, including the global challenges of terrorism, extreme poverty, poor health and climate change.
But as several articles in the new issue of CentrePiece show, some of the most recent findings of economic research are far from dismal:
· Shocking events like the 9/11 attacks on New York do set the economy back but things recover pretty quickly.
· Increased resources for policing can have an impact in cutting crime.
· The rise of China is not going to be a disaster for all sectors and all workers in the old industrialised countries.
· And a little education – for both children and their parents – has the potential to go a long way in reducing disease and early death in the poorer nations of the world.