Honest thoughts from an economics expert

MADIAN ESTELA, CONTRIBUTING WRITER

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A college student is asked to write a piece on economics, with a twisting in their stomach and panic in their eyes, they realize how little they actually know about this topic. Blaming the culture they grew up in, the college student soon realized that the knowledge of economics isn’t just a moment that you wait for like puberty. So what is it? What is this knowledge that is missing? Is it not just the study of money?

Jon M. Boulet is the current chair of the Business Administration Department at North Greenville University and he has been educating students for the last 16 years. Boulet is using economic principles to guide his life decisions and he is sharing what he hopes to inspire students to see the value of this field of study.

Boulet discovered early in his education that there was a why and how to the economic standing for both the rich and poor. Boulet made the decision that he was going to find these answers and the field of economics paved the way to find them.

Economics has been defined in many ways. It is the study of scarcity, the study of how people use resources and respond to incentives or the study of the history and pattern of peoples decision making. However you define it, it all refers to having a deeper understanding of the data that is presented. Boulet started off by serving in the U.S. Army National Guard from 1986 to 1994 and then went back to school to earn his doctorate in economics at Clark University in 1999.

Now with this acquired knowledge, Boulet’s goal was to use economics in his own life and teach others what he has learned. Boulet admitted that the pay for anyone in the business department would go up 50 percent if they would go out into the fields they are licensed and experienced to work.

However, according to Boulet’s favorite author and economist, Thomas Sowell, “The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it.” Keeping that mentality of scarcity a person’s lifetime is the limited resource and there is not enough time to satisfy everything one wants or needs to do. Boulet saw bigger and better trade-off from the typical economics expert, pulling him into the field of education and also giving him a schedule that would benefit him in his home life.

Boulet explained that Sowell was the first economist he found who was talking about the power of culture, ideas, principles and the impact of people’s decision making. A lot of economists ignored that there is a relationship between culture and how people spend their money, early in Sowell’s career. Many economists felt that they were threatening other people’s beliefs and their view on resources.

Boulet credits Sowell as one of his main reliable and preferred resources when it comes to economics and finding the balance of life and money.

Back in Boulet’s office, hanging next to his desk is a corkboard full of pictures spilling over into the wall of Boulet’s family. Father of nine with ranging ages of 27 to three-years-old and happily married for 26 years, Boulet is a family man.

Boulet says, “We are all after happiness, and it is important in knowing what drives you.” For Boulet with the principle of scarcity of his time and resource the logical trade-off was a job that would give him what he needed most of, time.

Boulet did admit that like every academic it was hard financially. However, with the communication and understanding, his wife and he have developed riches of family over the literal riches of material things.

Boulet is not only a professor, a scholar, and a family man but he is also an honorary guest speaker on multiple radio shows. Boulet has made special appearances to discuss everything economics on Tony Beam’s show “Christian Worldview Today,” which airs on the Greenville-based radio station Christian Talk 660 every Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Boulet recalls, “The funniest things I got as a response is somebody called and said you are the first non-Yankee I ever thought of liking.” This goes to show how personable Boulet is and he credits it to his time studying economics for his understanding of people.

Boulet jokingly said, “the human race are screwballs,” and everyone’s question is, “can we be better?” Boulet’s answer to his own question was followed with advice for his students and anyone trying to win at the game of life. Honesty and good work ethic never go unnoticed, Boulet explained, and one needs to know what motivates and feels like a fair trade-off for your time.

After getting to hear from Boulet, don’t forget to reflect once in a while. Define what drives you and do everything in your power to efficiently use your scarce resource, time, to get closer to that goal of happiness.