Economics VS Latin

By: Sergej Maxim Skackov; double published in the BEE3 Magazine

Which one should you choose?

In S3, let’s say in the middle of the school year, you receive a coloured A4 page with your choices for your S4 and S5. The most important part are the three boxes: one for L4; one for economics; and one for Latin. You don’t know which one to choose. You hear a friend of yours say: “I will take Latin, it’s the best subject!”. Another friend replies: “No, economics is the best subject!”. You, too, will have to choose a side (or you take L4 or nothing at all to stay neutral, it’s up to you), but you have no idea which subject you will study. That’s why, exclusively in this issue of the BEE3, I will a summary of the pros and cons of taking each subject (Latin/ECO only).


Careful, economy ≠ economics: economics is the study of the economy, and an economy is where the production, distribution, and consumption take place.


An understanding of economics can be really useful in starting your own company, or if you decide to become a banker or CEO in a big and successful company, because it shows you how to maximize your profit and maybe even prevent bankruptcy. And, let’s face it, money is more or less the ruling force in our society (prove me wrong), so studying economics will definitely help you get a better grasp of the movement of the coins, papers, or virtual numbers across our whole wide world that symbolize your bank account. Or if you are more interested in your own wallet, the subject can (but I guarantee nothing) save you a big chunk of money and disappointment when choosing which products or services to buy. Little example: you win the lottery. Along with the congratulation mail, you also get a prompt to choose whether you wish to receive 1 000 000 € now or claim 200 000 € every month for ten months. This is a typical situation where economics is the only solution to figure out which choice will maximise your profit. And, finally, it’s mostly easy to understand, unlike Latin, because most of it is just math and/or logic and common sense, so there is less learning off by heart involved than in Latin. Sure, there are some new terms to study, but every subject has this, so it’s just water under the bridge.


As mentioned previously, knowledge of economics can be very useful in some trading or finance jobs, such as banking, accountancy, or other financial disciplines. But in the field of science, which is also very important in modern day society, S4 economy will not get you as far as Latin will. Take biology, for example: a lot of the plant, tree, or bacteria names have Latin origins. If you want to be a linguist (or put another way: if you’re a masochist taking L4 and more), languages like French or Italian have Latin roots and origins, and their etymology mostly follows a Latin model. But for this half, that’s all folks! (Bucks Bunny)


In the 21st Century, studying economics will be useful, mainly because it can help you save money on purchases or contracts, and help you get an understanding of today’s ever-changing markets. Plus, it’s a flexible subject, meaning it provides a strong foundation for a number of later studies ranging from business, marketing and finance to computer science or design.



Since Latin is an ancient language, many popular and/or widely spoken languages in Europe are based on Latin, thanks to Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, and some other blokes from the Antiquity. So, it goes without saying that knowing some Latin is useful for people who want to be language experts, translators, or teachers. Future historians could also profit from this subject, for obvious reasons. Biology, palaeontology (along with Greek), zoology, botany, and other sciences with complicated names, name their discoveries and subjects according to their properties in Latin, like Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and many more. Also, according to Emma Freytag (many thanks to her and to Zofia Leib), it can also help in philosophy because of connectors very often used in that subject. Medicine uses some Latin, too – that’s the most obvious and common example. Also according to Emma, you get a certificate called the “Latinum” that certifies that you can translate and understand Latin very well. One last point, Mr. Morvan teaches Latin, and he’s just a banger teacher, making the subject a bit more attractive.


I’ll put it bluntly: it’s a dead language. It’s very rare that you’ll ask someone for help or directions in Latin, because they will almost certainly think that you drank a bit too much. Also, unless you want to teach Latin or be a biologist, there shouldn’t be questions in interviews or application forms to write a specific sentence in Latin, mainly because the employer doesn’t speak a word of Latin. Also, if your role model is Elon Musk (or some other successful multimillionaire), I recommend that you take economics instead of Latin, because in the market, the value of a product will certainly not require you to speak Latin.


Latin is only for nerds: lots of new and hard terms, exceptions, and so on. But definitely a big help in the medical and biological sector, and these two are pretty well paid today. Also, Latin is arguably the basis of Western civilisation, so it might come in handy to people studying social sciences (to an extent).


Don’t get the wrong idea! L4 still is still a very good choice to pick. I am simply not comparing it here because in my social circle an argument was caused about whether economics or Latin is better. Again, I am not saying you shouldn’t pick L4, and I even encourage you to take L4 if you are a language-inclined person. If so, you could also consider taking Latin. It could be useful as a support for the main syllabus.

A big thanks to Emma Freytag (Latin) and Zofia Leib (Economics) for helping me with information for this article.

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