Economist in a library Sergei Savostyanov/Getty Images

Economía con un rostro de humanidades

CHICAGO – En una encuesta de 2006 se les preguntó a profesores universitarios norteamericanos si era mejor tener conocimiento de varios campos de estudio o de uno solo. Entre los profesores de psicología, el 79% se mostró entusiasta respecto del aprendizaje interdisciplinario, al igual que el 73% de los sociólogos y el 68% de los historiadores. ¿Los menos entusiastas? Los economistas: apenas el 42% de los encuestados dijo que coincidía con la necesidad de entender el mundo a través de una lente multidisciplinaria. Como dijo sin rodeos un observador: "Los economistas literalmente piensan que no tienen nada que aprender de los demás".

Por cierto, los economistas se beneficiarían enormemente si ampliaran su foco. Al tratar, como lo hace, con seres humanos, la economía tiene mucho que aprender de las humanidades. No sólo sus modelos podrían ser más realistas y sus predicciones más precisas, sino que las políticas económicas podrían ser más efectivas y más justas.

Ya sea que se considere cómo fomentar el crecimiento económico en culturas diversas, las cuestiones morales que se plantean cuando las universidades buscan el interés propio a expensas de sus alumnos o cuestiones profundamente personales que tienen que ver con la atención médica, el matrimonio y las familias, las perspectivas económicas son necesarias pero insuficientes. Si lo único que consideramos son esas perspectivas, las políticas trastabillan y la gente sufre.

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