The scope of collaboration between various disciplines has increased in the present time. This is especially true for engineering science as it has formed a great juxtaposition with other prospective domains. When we look at the juxtaposition between engineering science and economics, we find that both the disciplines contribute to each other as well as borrow from one another. The collaboration between the two domains is at the student level, faculty level as well as departmental level. The interdepartmental collaboration leads to interdisciplinary research. Moreover, this collaboration can also be found between various institutions. For instance, engineering colleges in Delhi NCR are collaborating with institutions that have a very progressive economics department. It needs to be noted at this point in time that this collaboration can allow us to explore the commercial potential of products and services that have been developed with a technical framework in mind.
This article is divided into four sections. The first section explores the changing dynamics of engineering science. The second section comments on the essentiality of economics. The third section forms a bridge between engineering science and economics and highlights the perfect juxtaposition. Finally, we move on to the application domains that are possible with the collaboration between the above-mentioned domains.
Engineering science: Changing dynamics
The changing dynamics of engineering science can be understood from the level of advancement we have attained in the last two decades. Engineering is no longer a static discipline as it explores the possibilities of collaborating with other disciplines and broadening its range of applications. Although the third industrial revolution highlighted the potential of computer science and digital applications in bringing about a transformational change in human life, the fourth industrial revolution took this idea forward.
The main aim of the fourth industrial revolution is to integrate different machines and diminish the barriers between humans and machines. However, the fourth industrial revolution does not specifically dwell into the commercial potential of engineering science. This is where the role of economics comes into play.
The essentiality of economics
There have been a lot of theories that have focused on socio-economic welfare and development on a large scale. In his book, Development as Freedom, Amritya Sen believes that economics is the fountain that can help alleviate poverty and bring about targeted development. He mentions four important measures through which public policy needs to be executed and welfarism needs to be guaranteed. These measures include political freedoms, economic outlook, social welfare, transparency guarantees, and integrity. There have been other theories like the Laissez-faire theory proposed by economist Adam Smith who believes that the wealth of nations can be increased once we give a free hand to the market. It is by this utilitarian approach that development would reach the last man standing and poverty would be alleviated.
However, a scientific outlook toward development and welfare in general and poverty alleviation, in particular, was adopted by Abhijeet Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Cremer who went on to win the Nobel prize in economics in the year 2019. They adopted randomized control trials and an experimental approach toward poverty alleviation. This research carried out by the Nobel laureates gives an indication of the role of engineering science in the economic domain. This is highlighted in the next section.
The perfect juxtaposition
Engineering science can form a perfect juxtaposition with Economics. The role of engineering in the present times is about bringing innovation and developing scientific products and services that make the life of humans better. However, not all the products are targeted toward the commercial market as it becomes difficult to examine the exact needs of the customer. This is where the role of economics comes into play. Economics can help in examining the market dynamics as well as the commercial significance of the products and services that are a direct outcome of engineering. On the other hand, engineering can supply economics with quantitative methodologies and statistical measures that can validate various theories of economics.
The application domains of engineering science and economics include retail, logistics, e-commerce, and examination of the demand-supply chains. In addition to this, both the disciplines can prove handy when it comes to policymaking that requires inputs from a technical point of view as well as a commercial point of view. Global supply chains need to be constantly monitored and this is not possible without a perfect collaboration of engineering and economics.
The collaboration between engineering and economics would lead to pathbreaking innovations in the times to come.