Just back from IIT B campus where we had a very stimulating lecture by Dr Kaushik Basu (former Chief Economist of the World Bank and also former Economic Advisor to Government of India). The topic was deliberately and most appropriately chosen as The Economics of Corruption, Black Money, and Demonetisation.
Dr Basu was delivering the 3rd Prof N R Kamath Chair Colloquium Lecture which is an annual event. Prof N R Kamath was a well known Chemical Engineer and I was wondering what an economist had to do with chemical engineering. But I realised on second thoughts that what an economist does for a living, not unlike a chemical engineer, is just trying to put some of his recipes into practice. While a chemical engineer can manipulate the pressure, temperature,and concentrations of various chemicals and pH of the solutions, an economist has variables like money supply, interest rates, exchange rates, and other equally obtuse parameters to play with. But while a chemical engineer may quickly be able to ascertain the results of his experiment an economist can safely keep on arguing about correctness of his solution vis-a-vis other solutions by other economists till Doomsday.