Monday, January 5, 2015

Economics needs better critics

The Washington Post describes protests at the ASSA.

They suggest that students ask their economics professors

How does climate change factor into our study of economics?
Why is there nothing about Islamic economics in our curriculum?
Should we slow down fast money with a Robin Hood Tax?

The first question is odd because the discussion of market failures, such as degradation of the environment, is a prominent part of mainstream economics. Austrian economists think that mainstream economists talk about almost nothing but market failures. One of the people they targeted was Greg Mankiw. Mankiw is one of the most prominent supporters of increased taxes on negative externalities.

Why are they concerned about Islamic economics but not Catholic social theory? Are they also concerned that natural scientists teach theories based on religious beliefs?

I have no idea what it means to slow down fast money.

I am not what most people would regard as a traditional mainstream economist. I would like to see less attention to formal mathemtical models, and more attention to institutions, to history, and to narrative forms of explanation.  But these people do not appear to have even a basic understanding of economics.

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