Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Other Things Equal (1992) [pdf] (deirdremccloskey.com)
8 points by collate 13 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 5 comments

"A nineteen year-old... has no feel on his pulse for those tragedies of adult life that economists call scarcity and choice."

I think this says a lot about what kind of teenager gets into an economics program, or at least the author's perception of them.

The author describes "believing" in "Good Old School Chicago Economics" by analogy to religious faith. He then says that most learners balk at being told they are made in the image of "homo economicus" (our Lord and Saviour). He is cruel! He is nothing like me, or my family!

If learners can't accept the orthodoxy, if it causes them cognitive dissonance, then where does the problem lie? Is it within the student -- unable to grasp the fundamental Truth revealed in the gospel of "Good Old School Chicago Economics"? Or are they (unconsciously?) rebelling against indoctrination into a death-cult which is worshipping the antisocial, careening towards an apocalypse, and telling them "There Is No Other Way".

I dunno, it's probably because undergrads are dumb.

I think it happens to the dumb and the smart ones, maybe not at Chicago and some of the big US unis, but my economics instruction included a large amount of statistics that were never even explained, sometimes it was just memorize this formula - I could not develop an intuitive understanding of anything being dropped on these islands. Being decent at maths I expected to be able to follow along, but couldn't. I brought a much more capable friend to class and he confirmed that while there was real maths underneath it wasn't being presented and bits were missing from what they were showing us. It goes on, they are forever talking about IS LM curves "shifting", it doesn't shift, but the point at which it is rotating is not on your chart. To that particular professor's credit, he at least knew (kinda) what they were not teaching us and could answer my ring in's questions. I was pretty disappointed overall by the courses at the University of Sydney, it was already a degree mill and this was over a decade ago.

Can you let me know where you saw this article mentioned recently? I saw it on my twitter TL today but I'm scratching my head as to who it was that posted it. Thanks!

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact