Can ChatGPT Teach Economics?

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Can ChatGPT Teach Economics? 2

In class, I have always been citing the US as a large economy and Singapore as a small economy (both are developed economies), with population size being a key reason for the difference. 

Recently, it struck me that Japan is not that highly populated, yet is the 3rd largest economy in the world. Hmmm…that prompted me to ask Chat GPT (referred to as IT henceforth).

This was ITs answer:

“Japan’s economy is one of the largest in the world, despite having a population of around 126 million, which is relatively small compared to other major economies such as the United States and China. There are several factors that have contributed to Japan’s economic success:

  1. Highly skilled workforce: Japan has a highly educated and skilled workforce, with a strong emphasis on science and technology education. This has enabled the country to develop a strong manufacturing and technology sector, which has helped drive economic growth.
  2. Innovation: Japan is known for its innovative technology and high-quality products. The country has a strong culture of innovation and has developed many new technologies and products that have been successful in global markets.
  3. Strong government support: The Japanese government has historically played a strong role in supporting economic growth and development. This has included policies such as investment in infrastructure, support for research and development, and incentives for businesses to invest and expand.
  4. Export-oriented economy: Japan is a major exporter of goods and services, particularly in the technology and manufacturing sectors. The country has developed strong trade relationships with other countries, particularly in Asia, which has helped drive economic growth.
  5. Strong corporate culture: Japanese companies have a strong focus on quality and efficiency, which has helped them to compete in global markets. The country also has a strong system of corporate governance, which has helped to promote long-term growth and stability.

Overall, these factors have helped Japan to build a strong and diversified economy, despite having a relatively small population.”

Not bad for a machine!

My key takeaway from ITs answer is that as all these are what Singapore has been striving to achieve, so Singapore must be on the right track. The only reason why we are not a large economy is because we are still just a tiny red dot in the ocean.

Next, I asked IT:  Which country has the most highly educated and skilled workforce? 

IT answered:

“Determining which country has the most highly educated and skilled workforce can be difficult as it depends on various factors such as the level of education and skills, the types of skills required for different industries, and the quality of education and training programs. However, according to some measures, countries with highly developed education systems and high levels of human capital tend to have the most educated and skilled workforce. Some countries with highly educated and skilled workforces include:

  1. Finland: (elaboration omitted)
  2. Canada: (elaboration omitted)
  3. Japan: (elaboration omitted)
  4. South Korea: (elaboration omitted)
  5. Switzerland: (elaboration omitted)

It’s worth noting that many other countries also have highly educated and skilled workforces, and the specific characteristics of each workforce may vary depending on the country’s economic and social factors.”

I was puzzled why Singapore was not in the list. 

Was ChatGPT anti-Singapore? 

Has it been fed on Mahathir’s spews on Singapore? (okok, just joking, relek la bro)

So I asked IT:  Eh, why is Singapore not on the list ah?

IT replied: “I apologize for the confusion in my previous answer. The countries I listed as examples with highly educated and skilled workforces were not meant to be an exhaustive list, and Singapore could certainly be included in that group. (elaboration omitted)”

Being the gracious person that I am, I told IT I accepted ITs apology and IT replied:

“Thank you for your understanding. I’m glad I could help clarify the information. Please feel free to ask if you have any further questions or concerns.”

Wow! What a positive attitude! I was impressed! No need to hire any more interns already! LOL

Now for the real probing: “Why does Singapore not adopt interest rate policies?

IT: “Singapore does adopt interest rate policies, but the way it does so is different from other countries. Singapore operates a managed float exchange rate system, which means that the Singapore dollar is allowed to fluctuate within a range against a basket of currencies of its major trading partners. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) manages the exchange rate by adjusting the supply of Singapore dollars in the foreign exchange market.

The MAS uses a range of monetary policy tools, including interest rates, to manage inflation and promote economic growth. However, the MAS does not use interest rates as its primary tool to manage the exchange rate or to control inflation. Instead, it relies on managing the supply of Singapore dollars in the foreign exchange market, which allows it to maintain a stable and competitive exchange rate while also promoting price stability.

One reason for this approach is that Singapore has a small open economy that is heavily dependent on trade. Using interest rates to manage the exchange rate could lead to unwanted fluctuations in the currency and make it more difficult for businesses to plan and invest. By managing the supply of Singapore dollars in the foreign exchange market, the MAS can maintain a stable and predictable exchange rate, which helps to promote economic stability and growth.

Overall, while Singapore does not rely on interest rates as its primary tool for managing the economy, it does use them as part of its broader monetary policy framework. The MAS’s approach reflects the unique characteristics of Singapore’s economy and its commitment to promoting stability and growth.”

Oh oh…this answer cannot pass….Singapore does not adopt interest rate policy. Period.
IT confused interest rates with exchange rate policy and went “off-tangent”….instead of answering my question.

“Conceptual Errors! Not Answering Question! Better attend my economics tuition!” I mumbled.

Next, I asked a question that I think is an aspect many teachers are unclear about. It’s a bit of a pain in the arse consequence of repealing section 377a  hassle of categorisation.

I asked: Is wage subsidy considered a fiscal policy or supply side policy?

IT replied: 

“Wage subsidies can be considered a fiscal policy because they involve government spending to support employment and provide assistance to workers. Wage subsidies involve the government providing financial support to employers to encourage them to hire workers or to retain employees during periods of economic hardship.

By providing wage subsidies, the government can help to support employment and reduce unemployment. This can help to stimulate economic growth by increasing consumer spending and reducing social welfare costs. Wage subsidies can also provide support to workers who may be struggling to find employment or facing reduced hours or wages.

While wage subsidies can be considered a fiscal policy, they can also have supply-side effects. By reducing the cost of labor for businesses, wage subsidies can incentivize firms to increase production and invest in new equipment or technology. This can help to improve the competitiveness of the economy and increase productivity, which can contribute to long-term economic growth.

Overall, wage subsidies can be seen as a combination of fiscal and supply-side policies, as they involve government spending to support employment and can also have supply-side effects on the economy.”

I am quite pleased with ITs answer and generally agree except for the point about incentivising investments “in new equipment or technology” and “long-term economic growth”.

The Upshot?

I don’t know, so I asked IT: Can ChatGPT teach Economics?

“Yes, as an AI language model, I can provide information and explanations related to economics based on my training data and knowledge. I can help you understand economic concepts, theories, and models, as well as provide examples and applications of these concepts in real-world situations.

However, please note that my responses are based on the information and knowledge available to me, and may not be tailored to your specific needs or circumstances. If you need personalized advice or guidance on economics, it may be helpful to consult with a qualified professional or expert in the field.”

Hmm…perhaps rather offended, I stated:

“I beg to differ. You cannot teach what you do not really understand. You are merely spewing out digested knowledge that you have been fed with but you do not really understand the theories.”

IT replied:

“You make a valid point. As an AI language model, I do not have the ability to truly “understand” economic concepts in the way that humans do. Rather, my responses are based on patterns and associations within my training data, which allows me to provide information and explanations based on what I have been programmed to do.

While I can provide explanations and examples related to economics, I do not have the ability to critically evaluate or analyze economic theories and models. My responses should be taken as informative and educational in nature, rather than as authoritative or definitive statements on the subject.

It is important to note that economics is a complex and multifaceted field, and there is often debate and disagreement among economists on various topics and issues. Therefore, it is always a good idea to seek out multiple sources of information and perspectives in order to develop a well-rounded understanding of the subject.”

At least some humility…and looks like I can still keep my job!

The Real Upshot

Like IT said, IT can provide some explanations and examples but IT is NOT an authority on the subject.

I think IT can be a good assistant / helper but the one using IT has to be a qualified boss. IT cannot really teach economics but IT can probably be my next intern !!!

Free one some more. Scold will apologise. Shiok.

“Do you mind if I scold you sometimes?”

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Comments 3

  1. I really like reading through a post that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!

  2. Great information shared.. really enjoyed reading this post thank you author for sharing this post .. appreciated

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