Harvard Econ 10 students as thick as pigshit

So, a walk out from Greg Mankiw\’s class at Harvard. One point made is that:

A legitimate academic study of economics must include a critical discussion of both the benefits and flaws of different economic simplifying models. As your class does not include primary sources and rarely features articles from academic journals, we have very little access to alternative approaches to economics. There is no justification for presenting Adam Smith’s economic theories as more fundamental or basic than, for example, Keynesian theory.

Dear God these people are stupid.

Here\’s an outline of Econ 10 at Harvard:

N. Gregory Mankiw, and members of the Economics Department
Full course. M., W., F., at 12. Sections also meet at 9, 10, 11, 12, 1, or 2. EXAM GROUP: 5
Introduction to economic issues and basic principles and methods of economics. Fall term focuses on microeconomics: how markets work, market efficiency and market failure, firm and consumer behavior, and policy issues such as taxation, international trade, the environment, and the distribution of income. Spring term focuses on macroeconomics: economic growth, inflation, unemployment, the business cycle, the financial system, international capital flows and trade imbalances, and the impact of monetary and fiscal policy.
Note: Microeconomics (taught in the fall term) is a prerequisite for macroeconomics (taught in the spring term). Students may elect to take only the fall microeconomics course and receive a half-course credit. Taught in a mixture of lectures and small sections. No calculus is used, and there is no mathematics background requirement. Designed for both potential Economics concentrators and those who plan no further work in the field. The Department of Economics strongly encourages students considering concentration to take the full-year course in their freshman year. This is a required course for all economics concentrators and a prerequisite for higher level courses in economics.

For those who don\’t get it, Keynes is studied in macroeconomics, not microeconomics. That is, Keynes is studied next semester, not this semester.

I think we\’re getting our proof that Harvard is for the rich thickos, aren\’t we?


21 comments on “Harvard Econ 10 students as thick as pigshit

  1. “As your class does not include primary sources and rarely features articles from academic journals, we have very little access to alternative approaches to economics”

    They don’t have such a thing as a library at Harvard, then? Or access to the Internet?

  2. Another point here is that you can’t understand what’s wrong with “orthodox” neoclassical economics until you understand what it is.
    It would be perverse, and probably useless, to teach Sraffa or early Roemer in introductory courses.

  3. Tim – do not be so quick to brand them “rich thickos”. This stupidity is very much on a par with Eoin Clarke and those thickos besieging the city, and Murphy and Shaxson and Glasman and the thicko called Ciaran Osborne who expatiates so stupidly on the role of the Remembrancer over at Hundal’s slimeblog. Being rich is not necessary – it is just required to be so thick that you do not realise the limits of your knowledge.

  4. Okay I managed to get through uni without ever taking a 100-level course, but my experience is that primary sources and journal articles are more of a 300-level thing (unless you define lab work as a primary source).

  5. lemme get this right…they pay c.$50k per annum to go to Harvard and insist on not recieving any service?!!!!

    If there is a lord, I pray he delivers dozens of clients to me each year who offer to write cheques for $50k each without delivery of service. I promise I would listen very intently to their “ishooes” and take them very seriously.

  6. One need only read Matt Yglesias over at Think Progress to understand just how thick Harvard thickies really are.

    Then again, one need only look at a roster of the last ten or so U.S. presidents to understand just how thick the Ivy League is when taken as a whole.

  7. And that list doesn’t count the Ivy League thickies who ran and lost… Kerry, Gore, etc.

  8. Economics has had problems since at least 2000
    when the Sorbonne students rebelled against a course too much dominated by maths and arbitary statistical models or what the students called “imaginary worlds”They also called the subject an autistic science which was a bit brutal,but since two name scientists claim that autism gave them special abilties in the subject probably not de trop
    This rebellion was followed up by a similar outbreak among Cambridge doctoral subjects a year later.
    Something is clearly wrong with a subject where a Nobel Prize was given for a magic formula for pricing options which brought
    Long Term Capital Management to its knees and
    shook the whole financial system.

  9. “No calculus is used, and there is no mathematics background requirement.” I attended an economics course “for scientists and engineers” so it used maths, and went hell-for-leather by the standards of the economics department. One of the lecturers tutored me: he said he enjoyed teaching the elements at that pace while admitting that they found the questioning rather testing.

    “my experience is that primary sources and journal articles are more of a 300-level thing”: not for me. First and second year chemistry tutorials were designed so that first we mastered taking information from textbooks (!) and then from journal papers: that department saw it as its job to convert us from schoolboys to undergraduates. The labs were good too: pity about most of the lectures.

    Of course that was all back then. I recently had a research student who had never done a undergraduate lab on his own; he’d always worked in pairs. Christ on a bicycle, we don’t half short-change the youngsters.

  10. Dennis:

    Whether counting presidents or presidencies, fewer than half of the last ten haved been Ivy grads. I can only tick off the Bushes, JFK, and Obama (and he only for law school). And, all told, that’s only two of the “Ivies.”

    I don’t think much in the way of conclusions can be drawn from such small sample size.

  11. Tim Vodafone blocks access to this site on mobiles and mobile broadband. Has a certain accountant or Work Foundation bankrupter reported you perchance?…

  12. DBC Reed:

    If you’d really care to understand what’s wrong with all mathematical approaches to economics, there’s no finer nor more complete exposition of the subject than you’ll find in Mises’ HUMAN ACTION.

    I know you’re up to it.

  13. Better screen the walkouts for unusual pomposity and irrational reactions to criticism. Tim, of all people, should know what can happen to undergraduates who think themselves superior to their first year econ classes.

  14. Gene-

    Clinton went to Yale Law. That makes 50%. In any event, the Bush Dynasty and Obama are enough to prove my point. Gore and Kerry are more along the lines of bonus points.

  15. Frances

    But Mr. Murphy sees nothing wrong with that. That is how it should be. That is the state’s rôle.

    We have just had the Labour Minister here saying that if unemployment has gone up last month it is because the conservative autonomous regions (seriously bankrupted by previous corrupt and conspiciuous spending left-wing governments) have started laying people off.

    They still believe that state jobs are genuine employment as opposed to (in the best of cases) state spending of wealth to create ‘necessary’ services.

  16. Worstofall: you comment frequently on matters of economics. I can’t find anything about what may be termed your economic credentials. What are they?

    Tim adds: If you have a look around here you will see that I continually say that I’m not an economist. Merely an interested amateur.

    For my qualifications are not sufficient for me to be described as an economist. I’ve only one peer reviewd paper to my name and my degree was in economics from the London School of Economics. Enough to be an interested amateur but no more.

    BTW, my degree is the same one that Richard J Murphy has, although his is from Southampton.

  17. Bilbaoboy

    My graph shows public debt versus GDP. Maybe I’m naive but I thought the whole point of net investment was to increase GDP. Well, it possibly did – but my graph shows that public debt also increased as a proportion of GDP. In fact if you put the two graphs together it is evident that all that “investment” seems to have achieved is an overall increase in public debt. Really useful…..

    Murphy is only telling half the story, undoubtedly because the other half of the story doesn’t support his argument that Labour is good for the economy and Tories bad.

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