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Author Topic: Harvard Students stage walk-out on Greg Mankiw  (Read 1951 times)
ag
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« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2011, 12:46:49 am »


You don't think more econ majors would lead to more Ph.D students? Or at least a higher quality of Ph.D students?


Americans are only a minority (often a small minority) of doctorate students in all but top 2 or 3 programs in economics. And, probably, half of those weren't econ majors to begin with.  Only a miniscule proportion of American econ majors go on for Ph.D.'s in any case, so the link between the two is, at best, very unclear.

Actually, though not an American, I, in fact, was an econ major in the US as an undergrad (though double major w/ math). It was no Harvard, though. Not even a Rutgers, for that matter, and it worked out fine. But, of course, like most freshmen I was obnoxious - an obnoxious right-winger, for a change, but that's not much difference, really Smiley))
 
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Beet
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« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2011, 01:20:34 am »
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Well ag, you win my taciturn friend. Your fellow Ph.D's and professionals occupy all the important posts now in Europe and the populations are acquiescent. I sincerely hope that succeed. If the world doesn't go into a deep depression in the next couple years, and we can get out of this without more than one or two people killed in riots, can we call it a success?
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« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2011, 04:35:00 am »
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So, let us get is straight. The students worked out on one of the world's major neo-Keynesians Smiley))

That's true. They weren't protesting his body of work as an economist, just the curriculum of Harvard's version of 'Econ 101' which sounds like almost the same as taught in any introductory undergraduate econ course across the US.

Considering how expensive Harvard is, students there have a perfect right to be upset at being overcharged for a course they could have taken elsewhere with the same content.

The point about reading on Harvard or another of the elite university isn't for the vast majority students about what they learn, but that the name is on their diplom afterward and the connections they have gotten while studying there.
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Wonkish1
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« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2011, 05:02:03 am »
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The point about reading on Harvard or another of the elite university isn't for the vast majority students about what they learn, but that the name is on their diplom afterward and the connections they have gotten while studying there.
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Gustaf
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« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2011, 05:44:38 am »
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I think, if anything, there is an oversupply of smart students doing economics as undergraduates. So, if a few of them choose to do Comparative Literature instead, I will only be thrilled.

Wrong sort of minds for that, surely?

Oy! As a member of my university's Literary Society I beg to differ. We're pretty well-read. On the other hand, our membership is percentage-wise really small. On the third hand, that's because most of the students at my school are business students. The actual Econ students aren't as uncultivated as you seem to think.
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« Reply #30 on: November 23, 2011, 08:18:38 am »
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Oy! As a member of my university's Literary Society I beg to differ. We're pretty well-read. On the other hand, our membership is percentage-wise really small. On the third hand, that's because most of the students at my school are business students. The actual Econ students aren't as uncultivated as you seem to think.

Target... hit! Cheesy
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ag
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« Reply #31 on: November 23, 2011, 10:15:59 am »

Well ag, you win my taciturn friend. Your fellow Ph.D's and professionals occupy all the important posts now in Europe and the populations are acquiescent. I sincerely hope that succeed. If the world doesn't go into a deep depression in the next couple years, and we can get out of this without more than one or two people killed in riots, can we call it a success?

My fellow Ph.D. doesn't even head the IMF. They've brought in two colleagues to deal w/ the basket cases of Greece and Italy - and it's a big mistake, if you ask me. The decisions to be made are political, not technocratic, and no amount of smarts are going to make them possible in the absence of political support.
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« Reply #32 on: November 23, 2011, 10:28:17 am »
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Well ag, you win my taciturn friend. Your fellow Ph.D's and professionals occupy all the important posts now in Europe and the populations are acquiescent. I sincerely hope that succeed. If the world doesn't go into a deep depression in the next couple years, and we can get out of this without more than one or two people killed in riots, can we call it a success?

My fellow Ph.D. doesn't even head the IMF. They've brought in two colleagues to deal w/ the basket cases of Greece and Italy - and it's a big mistake, if you ask me. The decisions to be made are political, not technocratic, and no amount of smarts are going to make them possible in the absence of political support.

Excuse, me. I thought the act of putting them in charge by itself was the ultimate political decision? Unless you can show where they asked for something and the politicians were not obedient?
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Gustaf
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« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2011, 08:44:58 pm »
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Oy! As a member of my university's Literary Society I beg to differ. We're pretty well-read. On the other hand, our membership is percentage-wise really small. On the third hand, that's because most of the students at my school are business students. The actual Econ students aren't as uncultivated as you seem to think.

Target... hit! Cheesy

I just came home after a night of drinking absinthe and discussing surreal literature. So, there. Beyond that, this is just a game for me, since I usually take your position at my university.

(tonight, we had an unusually large attendance due to the offer of absinthe. I think we scared them away through random provocative statements though)
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ag
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« Reply #34 on: November 24, 2011, 10:25:39 am »

Excuse, me. I thought the act of putting them in charge by itself was the ultimate political decision? Unless you can show where they asked for something and the politicians were not obedient?

No, it's the avoidande of the political decision. It is the general understanding among the economists, that either euro has to be ditched, or the much greater political and fiscal union has to be achieved. Neither option is even on the table - and the "economists" in question will never even whisper about it, as they have no political capital to implement it. So, it will be a muddle through for a while, at least until the politicians actually decide to shoulder the responsibility. Those poor montis and papademoses are merely sacrificial goats, put where they are to take the blame for everything that's going to happen.
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« Reply #35 on: November 24, 2011, 04:36:39 pm »
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Excuse, me. I thought the act of putting them in charge by itself was the ultimate political decision? Unless you can show where they asked for something and the politicians were not obedient?

No, it's the avoidande of the political decision. It is the general understanding among the economists, that either euro has to be ditched, or the much greater political and fiscal union has to be achieved. Neither option is even on the table - and the "economists" in question will never even whisper about it, as they have no political capital to implement it. So, it will be a muddle through for a while, at least until the politicians actually decide to shoulder the responsibility. Those poor montis and papademoses are merely sacrificial goats, put where they are to take the blame for everything that's going to happen.

Oh, well in that case, we are in agreement. Smiley
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ag
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« Reply #36 on: November 24, 2011, 04:48:53 pm »

Oh, well in that case, we are in agreement. Smiley

Well, yeah. That seems to be the straightforward professional consensus. I am not a macro guy, but my macro colleauges seem, actually, to have an alibi, specially constructed to make fun of them less than 2 years ago:

http://econjwatch.org/articles/it-can-t-happen-it-s-a-bad-idea-it-won-t-last-us-economists-on-the-emu-and-the-euro-1989-2002

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Gustaf
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« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2011, 08:34:52 pm »
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Oh, well in that case, we are in agreement. Smiley

Well, yeah. That seems to be the straightforward professional consensus. I am not a macro guy, but my macro colleauges seem, actually, to have an alibi, specially constructed to make fun of them less than 2 years ago:

http://econjwatch.org/articles/it-can-t-happen-it-s-a-bad-idea-it-won-t-last-us-economists-on-the-emu-and-the-euro-1989-2002



The author of that article is a personal friend of my parents. He was, hilariously, opposed to the euro before he was hired to go work in Brussels. He asked my parents, before he went, "do you think I will be able to retain my independence if I take this job?" They told him no and turned out to be right. Tongue
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« Reply #38 on: November 24, 2011, 10:29:21 pm »
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Introductory courses for most sciences are based on unrealistic assumptions, and for such courses in economics to do this must mean economics has become a science.

On a serious note, it doesn't seem as if some students have much choice:
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Many Harvard students do not have the ability to opt out of Economics 10. This class is required for Economics and Environmental Science and Public Policy concentrators, while Social Studies concentrators must take an introductory economics course ...  Many other students simply desire an analytic understanding of economics as part of a quality liberal arts education.

Harvard students have reasons to be angry. While they're taking notes on the inefficiency of price ceilings, the Justice class nearby is arguing about Rawlsian ethics. The latter is what was advertised and what applicants dreamed of. And don't dismiss everyone going to Harvard as doing it for the degree - financial aid means there are disadvantaged students who wants the education. Connections aren't easy to make without academic merit, either.

One response gets the central problem when it says "One lesson from the first day of Ec 10 ... is learning to separate positive questions from normative ones." But the study of economics cannot choose between one or the other. Instead, the way the course is taught can be changed. Maybe intro econ can be taught in a "critical" manner by chronicling economics today as the product of economists' critiques.
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« Reply #39 on: November 26, 2011, 12:03:06 am »
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Introductory courses for most sciences are based on unrealistic assumptions, and for such courses in economics to do this must mean economics has become a science.

On a serious note, it doesn't seem as if some students have much choice:

Your follow up phrase makes me think the opening sentence is tongue-in-cheek. Even so, I'm confused by the highlighted clause.
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« Reply #40 on: November 26, 2011, 12:43:41 am »
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Your follow up phrase makes me think the opening sentence is tongue-in-cheek. Even so, I'm confused by the highlighted clause.

A reference to freshman physics abstracting air friction and the like. Also references an argument I heard that introductory economics must sacrifice realism to develop the method of reasoning, just as introductory physics does.

"Science" was not the best word choice, but take it as you will.
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« Reply #41 on: November 26, 2011, 01:03:15 am »
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Your follow up phrase makes me think the opening sentence is tongue-in-cheek. Even so, I'm confused by the highlighted clause.

A reference to freshman physics abstracting air friction and the like. Also references an argument I heard that introductory economics must sacrifice realism to develop the method of reasoning, just as introductory physics does.

"Science" was not the best word choice, but take it as you will.

Now I'm fascinated. Abstracting air friction is not something I'd expect in freshman physics beyond the concept of a terminal velocity. That doesn't strike me as an unrealistic assumption, so I presume there's something more to the story.
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« Reply #42 on: November 26, 2011, 12:00:26 pm »
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I have never heard of a first year economics textbook that does not highlight the difference between positive and normative economics, and does not emphasize almost exclusively the former. When normative economics is broached, usually the top opposing viewpoints on a particular matter are given to provide balance.

This is just a bunch of whiny, naive students who know nothing about economics, most notably a complete absence of understanding of scarcity/constraints. This is the foundation of their fantastical beliefs about a great deal of things without an iota of empirical evidence, not to mention mathematical rigor, to back themselves up...
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« Reply #43 on: November 26, 2011, 12:10:48 pm »
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Classic right-wing diatribe there, politico, devoid of any evidence to back it up.  You do realize, don't you, that 'scarcity' is a myth created by the owners?
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« Reply #44 on: November 26, 2011, 12:14:35 pm »
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Classic right-wing diatribe there, politico, devoid of any evidence to back it up.  You do realize, don't you, that 'scarcity' is a myth created by the owners?

Full disclosure: I used to be just like them when I was a teenager.

You still do not realize why printing money will not get everybody everything they want/desire? Every time I see one of your posts in this sub-forum, I pray that you are trolling and not serious...
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« Reply #45 on: November 26, 2011, 12:22:38 pm »
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Full disclosure: I used to be just like them when I was a teenager.

You still do not realize why printing money will not get everybody everything they want/desire? Every time I see one of your posts in this sub-forum, I pray that you are trolling and not serious...

The point is to get rid of the debt without 'repaying' it, Politico.  Printing money is one good way to do that.
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« Reply #46 on: November 26, 2011, 12:24:39 pm »
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Full disclosure: I used to be just like them when I was a teenager.

You still do not realize why printing money will not get everybody everything they want/desire? Every time I see one of your posts in this sub-forum, I pray that you are trolling and not serious...

The point is to get rid of the debt without 'repaying' it, Politico.  Printing money is one good way to do that.

Reminder to self: Do not feed the troll...do not feed the troll...do not feed the troll...
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« Reply #47 on: November 26, 2011, 12:26:41 pm »
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You still do not realize why printing money will not get everybody everything they want/desire? Every time I see one of your posts in this sub-forum, I pray that you are trolling and not serious...

The point is to get rid of the debt without 'repaying' it, Politico.  Printing money is one good way to do that.

Reminder to self: Do not feed the troll...do not feed the troll...do not feed the troll...

Come on, politico, you're the classic right-wing 'troll'.

Surely you realize that the reason some countries (the US, UK, Japan) pay low interest rates is precisely because they can simply print the money to pay back debts (the debt is 'guaranteed' in that way).
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« Reply #48 on: November 26, 2011, 12:33:47 pm »
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I can't hear you!
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« Reply #49 on: November 27, 2011, 10:15:53 pm »
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Scarcity is certainly an item of mere myth in macroeconomic theory.
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