The Griff

Club Q+A: Economics Club

Campus

Club Q+A: Economics Club

A sit-down with Club Vice President Sean Thomas and Event Coordinator Jesse Furber

When did you decide to start the Economics Club?

Sean Thomas: The club started two years ago, but it was very preliminary, and we only had one speaker event. A lot of us had the same class together on economic issues, and we got excited about this idea.

How was the Economics Club developed?

ST: It was promoting people interested in the field of economics, because it is such a broad field, yet nobody seems to know exactly what economics is. Is it business? Is it finance? Is it mathematics? Is it politics? Is it theory? It’s kind of a conglomeration of all these different fields that, at the rudimentary point, come down to psychology. It comes down to how human beings respond and react to conditions, and how they make choices on a micro level.

We wanted to bring the ideas to the table, and to bring the speakers out. For instance, we brought in Andrew Leach. He is the architect of Alberta’s carbon tax. We brought him in to hear his side of the story, and why he implemented it.

Jesse Furber: It’s mostly psychology. It’s about how businesses makes choices, and how people respond to incentives in
the marketplace.

What kind of discussions and activities could club members expect to see and participate in?

ST: Whenever we have a meeting, we will bring up some issue, whether it’s the North Korea versus United States (tensions), or a taxation policy, or the NDP versus the Conservative Party. There is always a debate. We are not arguing, we are debating.

People in the club are not closed-minded, so members are more willing to give their opinions. Arguably, it’s a safe space, but people are going to challenge one another. This is what makes our club attractive. Not everyone has to agree with each other to be a part of the group.

What are the expectations for the members of the club?

ST: Everybody is welcome. Even if you do not say a word, and just come and hear us out, or want to enjoy our speaker series or The Pint nights, or come to the group meetings every week. And you do not have to be an economics student or have taken a class, or even know how economics works.

Just come out and see what we are all about, and meet some people. That is probably another foundation of our group — getting to know students on campus.

What sorts of activities is your club planning to do in the future?

ST: We have the intention of bringing people from finance to teach us about investing and portfolio management; that is always tied into economics. We want to bring in policy makers, like Andrew Leach with the carbon tax, or maybe bring in the Conservative Party or members of the Parliament. If we could bring in Rachel Notley — how amazing would that be? There are so many different people on our spectrum, and that is what makes our club unique.

What events is your club hosting this year?

ST: The speaker series is probably our pioneering event, and serves as a platform for bigger ideas. We are always looking to do a debate night. This year, we are hosting a speaker series with Brad Shopland, who will be doing a presentation on the creation of his stock trading program. This will be a joint event with the Computer Science Club on campus. 



Edited for length and clarity.