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November 15, 2011

The Students Demand

Earlier this month Harvard Economics 10 students demanded that Professor Gregory Mankiw refrain from teaching them economic theories with which they intend to disagree. 

Wednesday November 2, 2011

Dear Professor Mankiw—

Today, we are walking out of your class, Economics 10, in order to express our discontent with the bias inherent in this introductory economics course. We are deeply concerned about the way that this bias affects students, the University, and our greater society.

As Harvard undergraduates, we enrolled in Economics 10 hoping to gain a broad and introductory foundation of economic theory that would assist us in our various intellectual pursuits and diverse disciplines, which range from Economics, to Government, to Environmental Sciences and Public Policy, and beyond. Instead, we found a course that espouses a specific—and limited—view of economics that we believe perpetuates problematic and inefficient systems of economic inequality in our society today.

The students complained that Adam Smith’s economic theories should not be presented as "more fundamental or basic than, for example, Keynesian theory," apparently not realizing that Keynes is covered later on in the course.  The students continue:

Harvard graduates play major roles in the financial institutions and in shaping public policy around the world. If Harvard fails to equip its students with a broad and critical understanding of economics, their actions are likely to harm the global financial system. The last five years of economic turmoil have been proof enough of this.

We are walking out today to join a Boston-wide march protesting the corporatization of higher education as part of the global Occupy movement. Since the biased nature of Economics 10 contributes to and symbolizes the increasing economic inequality in America, we are walking out of your class today both to protest your inadequate discussion of basic economic theory and to lend our support to a movement that is changing American discourse on economic injustice.

Scary thought, that students like these might someday have a major impact on public policy, free from the encumbrances of unwanted and distasteful economic theory. 

Posted by Tom Bowler at 06:25 PM | Permalink


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I don't understand the problem. Of course, the words Sophist, and Sophomoric,have a history for a reason.
Smith? Keynes?
What's the conflict about THIS college remedial "introduction" course?
Non-attendance? FAIL.
No evidence that you fully comprehend the scope of the subject? FAIL.
Now go home and tell Daddy and Mummy how much MORE of the "tuition" for your "education" you just poured down the drain.
I'm sure they, and/or the evil lending institution involved, will understand and "forgive" the debt incurred of the fruits of "unearned income" of other peoples money.

Hope you at LEAST comprehend the shovel101 part of the "...shovel ready jobs." track. Maybe your delusional "med school" drop/fail out comrades can AT LEAST help you with Blisters/Callouses 101, but don't count on 7-time-losers from the Bar Exams to offer practical advice on sleeping bags and tents as practical substitutes for overpriced dorm accommodations. However, there's plenty of victims of VAWA, ZERO "tolerance", and homeless Vets, EXPERT in such matters.

Hint: Dumpster stew (#10 can, used chaffing dish Sternos, restaurant cast offs) is FAR more nutritious, and MUCH less taxing on other peoples money, than just ONE "Fair Trade" Double Latte Venti.

Besides, If your "interest" in economics is ...intellectual pursuits and diverse disciplines, you should be reading F.A.Hayak anyway. Smith and Keynes ought to have been covered in HIGH SCHOOL "economics". material.

The Really scary part: How many (ie.)NYC "institution of higher learning" professors, or "credentialed adjuncts", are bestowing "credit" for mere attendance of OWS events, IN LIEU OF...? Is Rutgers recognizing such participation in this as "good enough" for an off-campus, independent study, GLBT Minority and Women's Suffrage Studies certificate of attendance(suitable for framing) Degree? program?

Posted by: CaptDMO | Nov 16, 2011 11:55:53 AM

So some Harvard students went there to have their prejudices confirmed rather than to learn anything. The professor is better off without them.

Posted by: john lawless | Nov 16, 2011 9:14:35 PM