On Czech Academia and Economics

Posted on Mar 12, 2017 into Scribbles

Why do I bother studying abroad, when it’s so hard to be away from home and the tuition so expensive, you ask? Can’t I get free education in the Czech Republic?

The thing is, Czech academics have their opinion on things, which they feel very strong about. Actually, unlike academics throughout the Anglo-saxon style academies, they feel a bit too strong about themselves. They go through life, collecting various abbreviations placed in front of and after their names, boosting their own ego and enjoying the feeling of excellence in front of students.

At least that’s how it was at the Technical University of Ostrava. The problem comes when somebody is supposed to learn something from their two hour lectures, which in a sense are more of performances, or tutorials where they keep having seemingly philosophical monologues on how stupid the students are. They literally keep teaching their opinions instead of providing supportive environment and enabling students to form their own. Some just because they wrote a book and they feel good about it.

If you want to approach them, they act like gods, taking ages to mark your coursework, preferring quantitative assessment, rights and wrongs, dos and don'ts… There are few, who are not arrogant, give honest advice and don’t wish for you to fail in fear of their employability. Of course not all are like that, but I have not met many exceptionsin my life. As a matter of a fact, the good one I knew had quit his PhD programme, probably because he shared my opinion.

Now, of course the good-wrong and do-don’t has a reasonable application in exact sciences, where you can’t argue that shoving a handful of cesium into a lake might not create a blinding explosion. And this is what can be seen on the technical subjects taught in my homeland. Nuclear science, engineering and medicine thrive.

But I decided to study economics. For a social science with some quantitative observations, you simply can’t hold dogmas about findings. Because people change. And hence do economies.

We are supposed to try out best to find causes to past anomalies, predict future, and prevent fuckups. Regardless of our specialization (Micro or Macro), approach (econometrics, theory, qualitative analysis), school (see the picture), or political views (socialist, nationalists, liberal, centrist).

And if someone decides to go and teach us their perspective on economics based on concept that led to a brutal failure ten year ago, how are WE supposed not to fuck up in our professional life?

Macroeconomics have multiple schools, broadly outlining sets of opinions on real-life phenomena and have their own approaches to solving various issues. I don’t say you’ve got to choose one (but if you don’t, you’re Austrian in my eyes) and submit to its propaganda. But you gotta know them and recognize how far off we are from them in terms of views.

And that is what I get at Plymouth University and didn’t get in Ostrava. Other Czech unis might tell you about their existence and all, but will still insist on one of these being right and all the others wrong. And they will carry on behaving like gods. Until somebody comes and fixes it.

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