What is introspective economy?
Classical economics analyzes economic systems and the relationships between the subjects of these systems. But we overlook that we manage our own economic system, made of parts of ourselves that conflict with one another. Managing these parts isn’t that different from household management. Thus, as we speak of Home economics, we could also speak of individual economy. Since, however, to analyze this type of economy we resort to introspection, we could call it Introspective Economy.
A too high price to pay
If we want something, we have to pay a price for it. It may not be about money, but something that costs us to do (to work hard, to give up something else, to fight against something, someone or ourselves, to draw up a strategy…).
Aristide loved to write and travel. He was a smart boy and at the high school he had good grades in all subjects. But he didn’t like to draw, and he studied mathematics and physics just to maintain a good average at school. Instead, he liked history and geography and wrote articles for the school newspaper. According to his English teacher, he was a born journalist.
But Aristide did not like things that are too easy. He wanted to achieve hard results. And he wasn’t interested in being a journalist, he wanted to become an architect.
He attended the Faculty of Architecture, to which he had enrolled; though he had no major problems, these studies did not interest him. He agreed to study and give exams just because he had to, if he wanted to become a famous architect.
A lack of introspective economy
He did never wonder how his architect professional activity would be like once he graduated; how much it would cost him to spend most of the day at the computer to prepare drawings, to look for the right materials for his constructions, and to do mathematical calculations. Besides, did he really care about building buildings?
He never wondered if he wished to:
- Be an architect and play that character;
- Work as an architect and appreciate his job.
There was a lack of introspective economy. He had omitted to compare the price to pay for carrying on an uninteresting activity with what he would pay to be a journalist, with the pleasure of writing and traveling.
Which part of himself did he favor?
A part of Aristide will enjoy showing himself in public as an architect; it will also enjoy having succeeded despite the difficulties; this part of him would not feel fulfilled if he had become a journalist. Other parts of him, however, are not happy with:
- Devoting much of the day to a job they consider uninteresting;
- Giving up writing;
- Giving up travelling and interviewing people to find out what’s going on.
Aristide has made his life difficult. He will have to mediate among his parts, trying to please those dissatisfied; he will also have to keep the enthusiasm of the part he has satisfied; in time, this enthusiasm can reduce more and more – a too high price to pay.
Management of inner resources
A company, if it wants to be productive, must know how to manage its resources well. This is also true for individuals. They must know how to manage well, whether external or inner resources (self-management). Aristide’s external resources will be best:
- He’ll get a good degree;
- He will have enough money to open an architect’s office (his father is a well-known manufacturer in the building materials industry);
- He will have enough knowledge to develop, in a short time, a customer base. But he does not satisfy some of its inner parts; and this will reduce the success of his future activity. Is this a case of uneconomical management of his internal resources? – of his talents, if we want to refer to the Gospel of Matthew? A careful introspective analysis, based on economic principles, could clarify the situation and give a key to managing it at its best.