Friday, April 25, 2014

Alex Berezow — Why Is Seattle Socialist Kshama Sawant Allowed To Teach Economics?

If I offer a teenager $50 to mow my lawn — and an extra $25 if he trims the bushes — then I can expect to shell out $75. I just offered my little helper a handsome incentive, and there’s a very good chance he’ll respond to it. This insight on human behavior is so basic and obvious that it is listed as one of the foundations of economics in Harvard economist Greg Mankiw’s textbook Principles of Economics.
Unfortunately, socialists never learned this lesson. In a socialist economy, incentives play little (if any) role. Therefore, as University of Michigan-Flint economist Mark J. Perry wrote, “By failing to emphasize incentives, socialism is a theory inconsistent with human nature and is therefore doomed to fail.”
Yet, shockingly, socialists can regularly be found on college campuses. Kshama Sawant, an economics teacher at Seattle Central Community College, openly endorses socialism. She also is running for Seattle City Council and, with the latest election returns, claims 49.5% of the vote. With many ballots left to count, she could still win.
How on earth can somebody who rejects basic academic knowledge be so close to winning a city council seat? Even more troublingly, how can somebody with her beliefs be allowed to teach an economics course?...
I have two questions to which I will never expect to receive a rational answer.
First, why would Seattle Central Community College allow Dr. Sawant (yes, she actually has a Ph.D. in economics) anywhere near students? And second, to the citizens of Seattle, how does one of the most educated cities in America allow themselves to get duped?
Never dawns on this fellow that the people of Seattle might know more than he does. The basis of democracy is that collective wisdom is superior to individual wisdom, as in "two heads are better than one."

Forbes
Why Is Seattle Socialist Kshama Sawant Allowed To Teach Economics?
Alex Berezow, Contributor

10 comments:

Dan Kervick said...

There are many kinds of socialists. Many of them long ago learned from the failures of the big, planned, state-owned, state-run economies of the communist era that viable socialist economies must strike some private-public balance and accommodate the role of incentives.

Anonymous said...

A better question would be: Why is Mr. Berezow allowed to write for Forbes magazine? Another core tenant of free market economics is power balance - something also addressed by most economics text books. When a massive imbalance in relative power exists between market actors - between workers and capital for example - the market ceases to function properly, and the distortion eventually leads to collapse. Why would a person who fails to acknowledge that reality be allowed to write for a magazine about economics? Unless their ideological agenda isn't really "free" markets, but oligarchy?

Andy Blatchford said...

2 heads are better than one always reminds me of the wisdom of crowds http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iOucwX7Z1HU

marris said...

What if the one head is Socrates or Jesus?

IMHO, the only "benefit" for democracy is that it's easier for two people to throw a third person under the bus than for one person to do it. That is, being in a group makes each member feel better when the members do a horrible thing. Collective good feelings damp out personal bad feelings.

I do have some hope that humanity will advance once we identify and turn off the genes/neurons which trigger herd behavior. That behavior may have been necessary when we ran from a predator as a stampede, but I think they've outlived their usefulness.

Tom Hickey said...

Winston Churchill: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.”

Tom Hickey said...

What if the one head is Socrates or Jesus?

Follow the leader?

Actually Socrates, Jesus, and people of that calibre have never come to power under any circumstance. But "follow the leader led to Lenin, Mao, Hitler and Mussolini. Nut such a great historical record.

Matt Franko said...

marris,

"13 Yet he, answering one of them, said, 'Comrade, I am not injuring you! Did you not agree with me for a denarius?
14 Pick up what is yours and go away. Now I want to give to this last one even as to you.
15 Is it not allowed me to do what I want with that which is mine? Or is your eye wicked, seeing that I am good?'
16 Thus shall the last be first, and the first last." Mat 20

The "good guys" finish last... I can't f-ing wait!!!

"And He will be shepherding them with an iron club." Rev 19:15

All I expect is that He let me wield that club... just once....

rsp,

Unknown said...

all that marris is saying is he wants to replace democratically elected governments with an unelected oligarchy. Once you cut through all the deceitful and sanctimonious crap, that is what the grotesque ideology of people like marris boils down to.

Magpie said...

On Nov. 13, 2013 the Vote Sawant responded to Berezow's rather old article:

Forbes goes mad about socialist success; by Clay Showalter
http://www.votesawant.org/forbes_goes_mad_about_socialist_success

In particular, it links to a video lecture "into what really motivates people to work".

Tom Hickey said...

Thanks, Magpie.