She’s not going to be a good economist, is she?

As if five jobs weren’t already enough, it was announced yesterday that the former chancellor George Osborne has been appointed as an honorary professor of economics at the University of Manchester. Osborne will not be leading any courses but will be expected to deliver guest lectures. The appointment of an economic policymaker who is not an economist by training makes a bold statement about the way the university wishes to approach the teaching of the subject.

The Post-Crash Economics society of which I am a part has been campaigning for a more real world-focused economics syllabus, and therefore welcomed Osborne’s comments in a recent interview with Research. The former chancellor stated that the “teaching of economics has become a bit too science-like and a bit too theoretical”, and that “people don’t always look for the maximum utility”. Given that one of the main things that we have been asking for in our economics education is for more real-world application, Osborne clearly has common ground with our efforts for this part of curriculum reform.

While Manchester University has stated that Osborne’s position will be unpaid, we still argue that his appointment is a questionable priority. Time and resources should be devoted to expanding the economics syllabus instead. Osborne’s track record demonstrates that he, like the economics curriculum at Manchester, lacks a holistic approach to the economy. While he was chancellor, fiscal economic policy in the UK became very focused on GDP and unemployment levels, which do not take into account inequality, health indicators, educational standards, environmental degradation, job security and many other things that are essential parts of the economy. His austerity policies and legacy have received much criticism from academics and economists for worsening the economic recovery.

His austerity policies have received much criticism from academics and economists for worsening the recovery
We welcome economic policy practitioners into the department who seek to challenge the unrealistic assumptions the models that we are taught often make, but we do not think it goes anywhere near solving the problem. As well as being divorced from the real world, economics degrees are narrow and uncritical, and do not give students sufficient tools and skills to deal with contemporary economic problems. Economics degrees currently train students in neoclassical methods, focusing on individuals and their utility maximisation, rather than encouraging them to critically engage with a range of schools of thought, and making informed, independent decisions about which methodologies are most appropriate for our modern world.

So she welcomes real world practitioners, welcomes inputs not based upon pure theory. But doesn’t welcome a recent Chancellor to give a few unpaid lectures.

Basic logic is one of those things needed to be an economist…..

20 comments on “She’s not going to be a good economist, is she?

  1. ….have received much criticism from academics and economists for WORSENING the economic recovery. Basic Use of English would be an advantage also.

  2. Francesca’s doing politics and economics, and her basic complaint is there’s not enough politics, well there is a remedy for that already, a rather obvious one.

  3. “Basic logic is one of those things needed to be an economist…..”

    Could have fooled me.. What about the LSE?

  4. “The appointment of an economic policymaker who is not an economist by training makes a bold statement about the way the university wishes to approach the teaching of the subject”

    Someone had better tell City University.

  5. She should have just said he’s a bit of a wanker and I’d have agreed with her.

  6. “Osborne will not be leading any courses”: Oh Christ, does one “lead” a course now? Fucking Führerprinzip.

  7. She could have swapped every sentence round and it would still have made sense. e.g. Osborne hasn’t cut spending if compared to the budget of 07/08 which no-one seriously claims was an austerity budget. Osborne was not obsessed by GDP, ( all govt spending increases are good for GDP, right? ) etc

    I notice the Snippa method of contradicting herself in the same paragraph – she admits it’s an unpaid, not even part-time position and she also claims that for the university the appointment is a priority.

  8. Has Murphy commented unfavourably on this? That would be the most hilarious lack of self-awareness of all.

  9. “The Post-Crash Economics society of which I am a part has been campaigning for a more real world-focused economics syllabus”

    So, why don’t you quit, as you already know that it’s junk?

  10. Not a good economist, probably. But she’s ticking all the right boxes for Groan op-eds.

  11. [T]he UK became very focused on GDP and unemployment levels, which do not take into account inequality, health indicators, educational standards, environmental degradation, job security and many other things that are essential parts of the economy.

    The marginal propensity to blather is well represented in the decreasingly niche area where economics meets gender studies.

  12. ‘The appointment of an economic policymaker who is not an economist by training makes a bold statement about the way the university wishes to approach the teaching of the subject.’

    Yes, they are saying, “We don’t give a shit about economics.” And Ms R-W agrees. She cares about ‘inequality, health indicators, educational standards, environmental degradation, job security and many other things that are essential parts of the economy.’

    Which, in fact, are not part of the economy. She care about strangers, evil and social injustice, and wants economics to embrace HER interests. I presume her Post-Crash Economics society’s goal is the corruption of economics.

    ‘The Post-Crash Economics Society campaigns for pluralism in economics.’

    Well there you have it: they said it. They are communists. They want to restructure economics education. What could go wrong?

  13. Manchester has serious recent form when it comes to appointing celebrity faculty. At least this one will be, supposedly, expenses only.

  14. “She’s not going to be a good economist, is she?”

    Good enough for a career in the media, which often seems to find economists whose general answer to any question begins with ‘If we measured the economy differently …”

  15. At least this one will be, supposedly, expenses only.

    That twat Osborne was bloody expensive for us taxpayers. Hope Manchester uni has plenty of contingency cash on hand.

  16. “celebrity faculty”: has Manchester really become so prone to American jargon that it refers to its academics as “faculty”? Shame on them.

  17. @dearieme, It’s my reference, based on what they were calling actual professors (and possibly only those with endowed chairs) back when they were still the Victoria University.

    By contrst, at American universities, people think it covers any academic employee, sometimes down to postgraduate tutors, because everyone is called “Professor”.

  18. Is there any chance she is writing this for a target audience of ivory tower SJWs and just really doesn’t like Osborne?

    I’d really have to read some of her other work to know, but I don’t care enough to spend the time. This action does not maximize my utility.

  19. At least this one will be, supposedly, expenses only.

    Isn’t Osborne’s fee on the rubber chicken circuit in five figures?

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