SPROWT ARTICLE | Maria do Céu Carvalho


The Importance of Economics in the Development of Societies

Given that the definition of ECONOMY is the attainment of the greatest benefit at the lowest cost, we realize that, on a daily basis, in almost every decision-making process, we are constantly keeping this reasoning in mind because resources are scarce.

From the constant pursuit of balance in personal and corporate finances to that of nations, economic thinking pervades all of society, making it a subject of ongoing study.

Obviously, this study must be interdisciplinary. Considering that Economics is a social science that studies the behavior of individuals in various activities of production, distribution, and consumption, it must be complemented with other social sciences to provide a global view of society.

And here comes the Economist, the thoughtful being who ambitiously helps understand these connections and assists in the development of processes for analysis, planning, and control of organizations through market analysis, analysis of the economic and financial feasibility of investments, and their social impact.

On a broader level, we can economically analyze large organizations and even countries, leading to comparative analyses of indicators we hear about in the news, such as GDP, inflation, unemployment, public debt— all very complicated for the average citizen.

But then, if I hear in the news that the GDP in my country has grown, does it mean that my country is also developing? Well, not always…

We will only have economic development when this growth is associated with a higher quality of life—better education and health, a decrease in the poverty index, a reduction in the mortality rate, an increase in the literacy rate, a reduction in violence. In other words, through the qualitative analysis of the distribution of the wealth produced, not just quantitative.

More balanced societies in terms of meeting the needs of the people, through the reduction of economic differences between social classes, enabling access to education and health for everyone—this should indeed be the number one goal of any leader. The pursuit of this Well-being or Happiness Economy should be a constant. There are numerous studies resulting in development models, but it seems to me that a model based on human satisfaction (not only in fulfilling basic needs but also in personal satisfaction in performing daily tasks) could be a winning model.

From my personal experience, in all workplaces I have been through, those that gave more importance to teamwork, encouraging coworking in pleasant facilities, without too many formalities and rigid schedules, were the ones that showed the highest and best levels of productivity.

The collaborative environment elevates the work at a global level, allowing the sharing of skills among colleagues and thus, in the end, raising the productive quality of the entire organization. Not encouraging excessive competition among colleagues, and instead fostering teamwork without unnecessary arrogance and even developing team-building sessions, will result, on the contrary, in the unity of all to achieve the common goal.

Unfortunately, after the Covid-19 pandemic, it was observed that work, especially that done in offices, was increasingly done in isolation, through telecommuting, witnessing heartbreaking images of empty buildings without the human element giving life to the organization. A sadness! Now, slowly, we are witnessing the normalization of daily life, but much of that previously lived spirit has already been lost.

Perhaps that’s why we all have the feeling that the world has become much worse— it seems that the worst of human nature is coming to the surface, economic wars are very much at the root of actual wars, giving rise to extremism.

As I am, by nature, an optimistic person, I didn’t want to end this text with such a bleak image of the world. Still, I would like to make room and appeal to hope for a better world where we can all live and not just survive, in freedom, respecting others, and consequently, where we can all fulfill our dreams. For this, we have to work towards that goal every day, striving to achieve it. And we don’t need to be the decision-makers of positive policies, imposing them, regulating them through rules of daily task compliance, and exercising responsible citizenship. It’s enough for us to openly follow these practices, spontaneously, consciously, serving as a catalyzing example and reference for others!