Economy in three years?

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By FERNANDO NOGUEIRA DA COSTA*

The fourth year, during the day, is completely empty, because the vast majority already do internships and, in practice, abandon their studies

Brazil, a backward and uncultured country with its late capitalism, copies the United States. “What is good for the United States is good for Brazil”, as the Brazilian ambassador in Washington, Juracy Magalhães (1964 to 1965), said during the dictatorial military regime.

The former Brazilian president's submission to the American flag and president was also shameful. He was always an anachronistic cultivator of the Cold War and anti-communism to get elected. Worse, many uneducated people follow the (false) myth!

In Higher Education, submission to the model of the United States with a predominance of private and/or paid education still remains. A bachelor's course lasts 4 years, a master's course lasts 2 years, and a doctoral course lasts 5 to 7 years, with the aim of making students long-term “paid education clients”.

With many students, including EaD (Distance Learning), for each teacher, it is very profitable. The deal is even of interest to foreign investment funds.

Many Brazilian educational institutions (aka “Unisquinas”) sell young Brazilians a graduation certificate, but do not offer a good education. If the student invests his time and money, he should receive a good education. Unfortunately, most seem to just want to acquire the right diploma to gain the opportunity to be trained in a company and earn a salary.

Regrettably, this culture of seeking to “internship” as soon as possible, to later become Trainee and securing a job, also affects university students enrolled in an economics course with excellent teaching. The fourth year, during the day, is completely empty, because the vast majority already do internships and, in practice, abandon their studies, only attending classes at night, paying attention only to their cell phones, and doing just enough tests or papers to pass. and achieve graduation.

The Brazilian State pays for students at public universities and the others have to fend for themselves. The best system would be for the government to guarantee funding to all citizens willing to meet the requirements of any university, public or private, with paid quality education. It would guarantee the loan to all students in need, to be paid as a payroll loan, after graduation, discounted in the future payslip by their employer in a certain proportion of their salary.

The goal of “saving” – planning savings by cutting consumption, in professional jargon – seems to have become widespread after the pandemic-social distancing-unemployment scare. Encouraged by the increase in the interest rate and its permanence above 1% per month for twelve months, ANBIMA registered this higher demand for investments. In two years (Dec 2020-Dec 2022), 42 million investment accounts were opened in more profitable financial products and 10 million less profitable savings accounts were closed.

Economy has a double meaning. On the one hand, it refers to the control or moderation of expenses in order to save money. On the other hand, it is a science dedicated to studying the phenomena related to obtaining and using material and financial resources necessary for individual and social well-being.

Economics involves the set of theories of individual or rational decisions: “what should be”. But the particularity of his knowledge, not achieved without focused study, is the law of social movement: "what is".

Both, respectively, normative economics and positive economics, require a systemic financial approach to the resulting interconnections between personal, corporate, public, banking and international finance. This holistic view allows the perception of its dynamic configurations, that is, variables over time, suitable for the elaboration of possible emerging, although uncertain, future scenarios, suitable for strategic decision-making by all economic agents.

For this reason, the goal for social well-being should be the popular massification of economics knowledge, at least financial education. Instead of the large empty spaces of public university classrooms, during the day, why could this knowledge not be provided free of charge to those who are actually interested with a great economy of scale?

Given the high cost of the low student/teacher ratio in Brazil, Higher Education should be massified as it has always been in Argentina. Our neighbor has twice the percentage of the population with higher education compared to Brazil: among young people (25-34 years old), 40% to 20%; among the elderly (55-64 years): 30% to 15%. We suffered a “rout”!

South Korea has a low percentage among the elderly (20%) but the highest in the world (70%) among young people. Demonstrates the planning of a developmental State to have good results for popular education with Higher Education.

We must copy Europe: integrate a master's degree into the undergraduate course, for five years, for those who wish to pursue a graduate degree, and offer a bachelor's degree with only three years of mandatory credits, during the day, so that the 4th year can be dedicated to writing the monograph at night , when the student has an internship during the day. The percentage of adults (25-64 years old) with a master's degree from her is 16% against 0,8% in Brazil – and with a doctorate from 1,1% to 0,24%.

There, unlike in the Americas, higher education is public or free. The Bologna Process, signed by 29 countries (including the United Kingdom), provides greater mobility between students from different countries and unifies the stages of Higher Education.

The ECTS credit system (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) is widely used in Economics courses in Europe, as well as in other higher education programs. It is designed to facilitate the transfer of credits between different universities and countries for exchange students.

Is it not possible to teach the fundamentals of Economic Science in 3 years?! The table below distorts the counter-argument of conservatives, reactionaries against this possibility of acquiring economic knowledge in less time by more people.

The curriculum above includes, among other knowledge, Microeconomics (study of the economic behavior of individual agents, such as consumers and companies, including introduction to the principles of marketing and business management), Macroeconomics (analysis of economic trends at an aggregate level, such as economic growth , inflation and unemployment, with analysis of government economic policies and their impact), Law and Economics (exploration of interactions between the legal system and economic activities), Monetary and Financial Theory (study of theories related to money, banking and inflation), Finance (study of portfolio decisions, financing and risk management), Mathematics, Statistics and Econometrics (formulation of rational deductions and use of statistical methods to analyze economic data and test hypotheses), Labor Economics (analysis of the labor market, unemployment, wages and labor policies), International Economics (exploration of economic relations between nations, including international trade and exchange rates), Development Economics (study of economic issues related to economic and social development), Environmental Economics (discussion of the interaction between economics and environment, sustainability and natural resources).

A massive higher education, in all areas of knowledge, would even allow Brazilian society to avoid phenomena such as the day of national shame (08/01/23) with unruly people vandalizing the headquarters of the three powers of the Republic.

*Fernando Nogueira da Costa He is a full professor at the Institute of Economics at Unicamp. Author, among other books, of Brazil of banks (EDUSP).


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