Saturday, 19 February 2011 15:50

Patience is Good Economics!

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The morning at the WES starts at 10 am, with the Ramphal building slowly filling up with scattered and confused delegates waiting for the talks of the day. I manage to corner Andy Haldane, the Executive Director of Financial Stability at The Bank of England. Haldane is to my delight speaking on patience and economics, disguised under the rather dull label "Finance and Stability". 

Do you think conferences like this can help bring the economics discipline forward?

- "Yes, massively so! Such conferences definitely enhance the education of today's students. Moreover, if we're talking about the economic crisis, it is an international event that is best told from an international point of view – we can learn from events like today when we're all together."

And there certainly is an international focus at the WES, I realise as I am introduced to Bulgarian Nikolay and his Lithuanian girlfriend Vaivara. Nikolay, who grew up in South Africa, is arguably among the most veteran delegates at the Summit, having come to the WES for the past four years. He keeps on coming simply because he finds that "it is a brilliant occasion to freshen up my knowledge, apply what I have learned about economics to real world scenarios and to hear experts contradict each other publicly!"

Nikolay also seems to have an remarkable marketing talent: "The second I was here I managed to get 20 people from my university, the next I got 40! I have now completed my studies but we are still around 30 delegates from Manchester here. In fact, I think it is even more important to continue to participate in these kinds of events when you finish university. It is so easy to come into a habit of work-TV-work-TV… It’s so good to get out of this and get a mental stimulus that we take back to our daily lives."

So when do you plan on finally stopping to attend the Summit?

- "My plan is to continue to be here every year, at least as long as I live in the UK. In fact, I plan to continue to be a delegate until I become so successful that I can finally be a speaker here. The only thing that could stop me would be if I was to go back to South Africa!"

Nikolay, Vaivara and the rest of us head out for lunch, as Haldane disappears to the VIP suite. I want to leave you with this morning's message from Haldane, which is the link between patience and good economics: Check out this video from RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures & Commerce), about the 'secret powers of time'.

While we're off to eat, this should give the rest of you some food for thought!

Ingvild Skarpeid is reporting live for E&M at this year's Warwick Economics Summit, UK.

Last modified on Sunday, 20 February 2011 20:12

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