Economics Makes Cents

Featured in the September 2022 NGRA Update

With rampant inflation and looming recession, supply chain disruptions and stock market fluctuations making headlines every day, economics is having a moment. Just google the word “economy” and you’ll see what I mean. It’s so ubiquitous in today’s parlance, you might forget that economics is a science.

I don’t pretend to comprehend how economists do what they do—it seems like genius (or magic) to me. But I can certainly understand, appreciate and share with you their research to assign or contextualize value for the things we care about.

To whit, several items in this month’s NGRA Update, including the Research Focus feature (and last month’s too), concern economics. NGRA member-organization WineAmerica has just updated the value—$276 billion vs. $220 billion in 2017—of the American wine industry. And a new report (see the complete September newsletter at link above) from the Breakthrough Institute finds that public (e.g., by federal agencies) agricultural research and development has had—and can have—astounding benefits on our environment. They cite astonishing historical increases in yield without an equivalent growth in acreage, back when federal ag R&D budgets were high, and project substantial reductions in U.S. agricultural emissions IF research funding grows.

As I’ve said, research is a long game whose results we might not see in our lifetimes. Investing in science is a leap of faith. But with economics, we can see the value, not only of our industry/ies, but of the game-changing research (and scientists who do it) that will propel us into an even more economically important future.

Genius or magic, it just makes cents!

Donnell Brown