STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Students Rip Open the Economic Dialectic Around the World
By Staff News & Analysis - January 12, 2015

Teaching Economics After the Crash … At universities from Glasgow to Kolkata, economics students are fighting their tutors over how to teach the subject in the wake of the crash. The Guardian's senior economics commentator, Aditya Chakrabortty, reports from the frontline of this most unusual and important academic war. – 9/11 Forum/UK from BBC Radio 4

Dominant Social Theme: Economics has been refined and has now reached a peak of perfection, at least on campus.

Free-Market Analysis: The Internet Reformation continues. The point of this article is that the Crash of 2008-2009 has given rise to an academic confrontation between professors and students regarding how economics is taught.

But for us, the Internet as well must play a role in this evolving revolution, which is apparently present on campuses around the world, according to the BBC. We've not heard about it before, but we're glad to welcome it as a meme – an evolving trend.

The problem students are evidently having is that economics today is taught as a theory of rational expectations. Here's how investopedia.com defines the theory:

An economic idea that the people in the economy make choices based on their rational outlook, available information and past experiences. The theory suggests that the current expectations in the economy are equivalent to what the future state of the economy will be. This contrasts the idea that government policy influences the decisions of people in the economy.

This is strange economics indeed to someone who accepts the reality of the business cycle or the idea of asset inflation generally. In fact, we know from recent history that "current expectations" are equivalent to the "future state of the economy."

No wonder students got upset. The theory defies personal observation. And it also apparently negates the idea of government influences on policy. Again, we can see government programs and fiscal and monetary policy DO influence economies.

Here's more from the BBC:

The banking crash plunged economies around the world into crisis – but it also created questions for economics itself. Even the Queen asked why hardly any economists saw the meltdown coming. Yet economics graduates still roll out of exam halls and off to government departments or the City with much the same toolkit that, just five years ago, produced a massive crash.

Now economics students around the world are demanding a radical change of course. In a manifesto signed by 65 university economics associations from over 30 different countries, students decry a 'dramatic narrowing of the curriculum' that they say prefers algebra to the real world and teaches them there's only one way to run an economy.

As fights go, this one is desperately ill-matched – in one corner, young people fighting to change what they're taught; in the other, the academics who've built careers researching and teaching the subject. Yet the outcome matters to all of us, as it is a battle over the ideas that underpin how we run our economies.

It may seem ill-matched but it fits the paradigm we regularly propose: That the Internet era is overthrowing society's "sacred cows" … or at least calling them into question. The audio program on the subject can be heard here.

The program elaborates on student dissatisfactions without being specific. They do mention free-market economists like Joseph Schumpeter. They also mention Marx, Keynes, etc. This being the BBC, we can't expect too much, eh?

Nonetheless, it is amazing that the article was written at all and comprehensively covered in a BBC report. Its presence reconfirms our theory regarding the necessary expansion of the dialectic. In this Internet era, mainstream media discussions have to expand to stay relevant.

Shaw Academy Ltd

The academic-economic discussion has apparently been bounded recently by the tyranny of "rational expectations," which has effectively excluded many other types of economics from the undergraduate and graduate discussion. Now, inevitably, the conversation must expand again. This is not a coincidence, in our view.

The gun control meme in the US has all but failed and as a result, many "solutions" no longer seem relevant. When it comes to global warming, we were supposed to be trading carbon credits by now, but that hasn't happened. Instead, the dialectic has expanded and warmists argue to their great frustration about whether global warming exists rather than how to pay for its damages.

The War on Drugs is winding down, partially because the nonsensical elements on which it was founded were impossible to sustain, in our view. Violence was supposed to be an inevitable outcome of the War on Drugs, but under the Obama administration, the BATF was caught shipping massive amounts of weaponry to Mexico. That's just one example of how the manipulation was exposed.

The directed history underlying so many of these memes has been called into question in the 21st century. It's no wonder the conversation is shifting. Of course, there are limits to what can be easily discussed in this day and age where "telling the truth is a courageous act."

Eventually, the elasticity of the "new" conversation shall run into barriers that are not easily surmountable. At this point social tension will ratchet up, as people see for themselves that the Western sociopolitical and economic conversation is in fact highly controlled even though it gives evidences otherwise.

After Thoughts

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