Friday, November 04, 2011

President Barry probably boycotted his lecture as well.

Apparently, a bunch of OWS protest supporters at Harvard showed their support of the movement by boycotting Greg Mankiw's EC 10 class.

Here's how the Harvard Crimson covered the boycott.......

The Occupy movement has become known for its many, and often contradictory, faces. Now we can add a new group of faces to that list—Ec 10 students. Students in the popular introductory economics class walked out fifteen minutes into the class yesterday in a gesture of solidarity with the Occupy movement and to protest what the event organizers consider a class that promotes a “strongly conservative neoliberal ideology.” We find it troubling that students would protest a class because of its supposed ideological bent at an institution dedicated to academic integrity. Such an action sets a dangerous precedent of ideological discrimination against professors.

While it is true that Professor N. Gregory Mankiw, who was lecturing during the walkout, has conservative views and held a position in the Bush Administration, we take issue with the claim that his class is inherently biased because he is the professor and author of its textbook. The truth is that Ec 10, a requirement for economics concentrators, provides a necessary academic grounding for the study of economics as a social science. Professor Mankiw’s curriculum sticks to the basics of economic theory without straying into partisan debate. We struggle to believe that we must defend his textbook, much maligned by the protesters, which is both peer reviewed and widely used.

Furthermore, the students protesting the class who desire that he give more time to other, less accepted schools of economic thought—like Marxism—would do well to remember that such interrogation is the domain of social theory, not economic theory. Supply-and-demand economics is a popular idea of how society is organized, and Mankiw’s Ec 10 never presents itself as more than that. As such, including other theories would simply muddy the waters of what is intended; Ec 10 is an introductory class that lays the foundation for future, more nuanced, study

This reminds me of a lecture my Econ 101 professor gave the class after his students did so poorly on an exam. After about 15 minutes of listening to him complain about how the people who didn't show up to class did poorly, I got up in front of about 600 students and said "Dr. Berry, the people who you are complaining about aren't here and the one's who are don't need to hear it."

Given the total lack of aptitude of the OWS people and our president, it appears that many of them could have sat in on this lecture and learned something.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The concept of supply and demand is alien to these people.