Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Thought Control in Economics

The economics taught at universities is neoclassical, but students hardly ever get taught about other types of economic theories. Courses are simply stated as 'Economics', as this is real economics and everything else is just a side line. But since the recession students have been able to see that this branch is economics has major faults, and that maybe it might even be propaganda. But if an economic's teacher teaches other types of economic theories alongside neoclassical ones he could come under harsh discipline,

When the 'Chicago School' went into Chile they closed down all the universities that taught different types of economic theories, rather than just neoclassical theories.

Neoclassical economics benefits the One Percent at the expense of the rest of society, but this is taught as mainstream economics even though it doesn't work. The right always talk about freedom, but freedom of thought is being suppressed.

The Death of Debate in Economics:



No matter how many stories I tell them about thought control in economics, students and colleagues in other disciplines simply don’t believe me.

They don’t understand the restrictions on the professors who are hired in many economics departments, the narrow range of methods and perspectives published in the leading economics journals, the limits on economics research projects that actually receive funding, and even the strict surveillance of what can be taught to students in basic undergraduate and graduate economics classes. It’s beyond their imagination that mainstream economists do all they can—within their departments and in the wider discipline—to make sure other approaches (often referred to as heterodox economics and, often, noneconomics) are displaced to (and, in many cases, beyond) the margins.

So, it comes as no surprise to me—but it probably does to everyone outside of economics—that a senior lecture rat the University of Glasgow, Alberto Paloni [ht: sm], an expert in post-Keynesian theory, has been stopped from teaching a core degree module on macroeconomics.

This, after an essay in the Royal Economic Society newsletter specifically cited Paloni’s course as introducing a necessary pluralism into the teaching of economics:

'Examples of courses that successfully incorporate pluralist approaches to teaching economics already exist. For instance, the second year macroeconomics course at Glasgow University acknowledges the existence of alternative perspectives within economics and gives students the tools to contrast the standard macroeconomic theory with post-Keynesian economics. Students are made aware of how different perspectives employ different approaches and reach different conclusions, and asks them to evaluate critically how well theories explain empirical evidence. . .In contrast to Glasgow, most macroeconomics courses teach from a single textbook and teach students to solve problems within models as opposed to comparing different types of models and seeing which generate more credible conclusions.'

All Paloni did was teach students some Post Keynesian macroeconomics. Post Keynesian theory, for those who are unfamiliar with the term, focuses on elements of the economic approach inspired by John Maynard Keynes (such as time, radical uncertainty, financial fragility, and so on) that are often domesticated by or simply removed from modern mainstream macroeconomics. Nothing too radical, then—just one among many alternatives to the theory that prevails in economics and, as we now know, the set of approaches and policies got us into the current mess.


Ralph Musgrave said...

I’m not impressed by the never ending “down with neoclassical economics” chant. For a start, the term is near meaningless: it refers to a reliance on market forces. But exactly HOW MUCH reliance on market forces constitutes neoclassical economics? The centrally planned economies of Russia and Eastern Europe prior to the collapse of communism relied on market forces to a significant extent. Were they “neoclassical”? Darned if I know.

“Neoclassical economics benefits the One Percent at the expense of the rest of society..”. Yes – er – the elite in the old Soviet Russia did very nicely for themselves. Same goes for the elite in present day North Korea.

As for the failure of the bank system in 2007/8, that was very specifically a failure of the bank system. That didn’t prove that other aspects of the economy which also rely on market forces were at fault.

Bob said...

To get the "good economics" you go to a school of business.

Bill said...

I enjoyed the typo:

"a senior lecture rat the University of Glasgow, Alberto Paloni"