Joining the Conversation:

Economic well-being matters, and thus people engaged in the economic conversation can, for better or for worse, make a real difference. We wear so to speak the difference on our sleeves. The face of Che Guevara is displayed prominently on tee shirts worn by young the world over. A side portrait of Adam Smith sits prominently on a tie worn by important economists and political leaders. Scotland has its statues of Smith and Hume, Europe and South America its Marx and Engels. And so on. Studying economics is a journey filled with intellectual challenges and even, of course, the occasional pitfall. But it's also a journey filled with a lot intellectual excitement and personal fulfillment. Gatherings of economists and economics majors are neither quiet nor boring. The economic conversation is too controversial for any of that. Professional economists are well-paid and enjoy some social prestige. Economics was a good enough major for John Stuart Mill, W.E.B. Du Bois, Alan Greenspan, Ronald Reagan, Justice Sandra Day-O'Connor, United Nations Secretary Kofi Annan, Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, and Mick Jagger, who studied at the London School of Economics until he decided to quit and follow a career in music. In short order he would invent with Keith Richards The Rolling Stones, the most famous band in rock music history. Clearly, Mick understood the importance of opportunity cost: sometimes one has to drop out of college, even the London School of Economics, to follow an economic dream. Remember what he said: "you can't always get what you want." But remember something else that Mick Jagger said: "I can't get no/ sa-tis-fac-tion. . . But I try." So, we hope, will you.