This special breed of person is known for studying a subject with for the vast majority of us is utterly incomphrensible.
They have several characteristics:
- Extremly picky about words and word usage ('anal' is often used here)
- Their eyes don't glaze over when studying statistics
- They can predict a recession with the accuracy of an atomic clock*
Economists are feared as much as they are revered. Two paths are open to them: teaching economics or as an economist for a think-tank or financial firm. The former enjoys the benefits of scaring undergrads, wearing tweed jackets and ugly ties, and engaging in bitter fights over the finer points with fellow economists. The latter get huge salaries, can fake recession warnings*, and write incomphrensible reports on the state of the economy.
*Many people have the misconception that economists can predict economic trends as well as meterologists can forecast weather. Unfortunately this is not true. When the media reports anything about economics, it has already gone through so many non-economists that the report is garbled up. Also, economists in think-tanks issue fallacious reports on the economy because they understand that knowledge is power. An economist really can predict how the future will be with stunning accuracy, only they know that by saying anything they could potentially affect the future. It is often argued that a recession is caused by consumers who, in thinking that there will be a recession, cut back their spending. Knowing this, they really keep their collective mouth shut.
It also helps to know that economics is also a language and a religion.