Mr Kirkup misses the point here

But Scott’s analysis also shows that going to university makes a person more right-wing on economics. Graduates are significantly less likely than non-grads to support that opening statement about redistribution.

That’s this one:

“Government should redistribute income from the better off to those who are less well off.”

About which Kirkup wonders:

Quite why university pushes people to the right on economics isn’t clear. One theory is that graduates see themselves as more likely to lose out from redistribution, so they oppose it out of self-interest. Another is that the experience of higher education makes people more individualistic, keener for people to be able to make their own spending choices rather than let the state do it for them.

Hmm. Perhaps because they’re now educated? Better informed, all that?

22 thoughts on “Mr Kirkup misses the point here”

  1. The phrase “rob Peter to pay Paul” springs to mind. Very popular with Paul, but not so much with Peter.

  2. I would question the statement that economics graduates tend to the right, given that almost all economics professors are either soft or hard leftist twats. Do the Lefties stay in academia to poison the well while the sensible ones leave? It’s a long time since any economics article in the TLS or THES expressed views that were not socialist

  3. If it was a science it wouldn’t go left or right but where the evidence led.

    Science has been led by religious dogma since before the days of Copernicus and Galileo. The brief interlude of demanding evidence and falsifiable theorems was just that, a brief interlude.

  4. Harry Haddock's Ghost

    Perhaps exposure to petulant lefty gobshites at Uni gives them a rather jaundiced view of socialism?

  5. Shock, Horror, no-one could see this one coming: Uneducated young people, with uneducated opinions, become educated and change their opinions!
    Despite the best endeavors of everyone in academia to prevent it……….

  6. Well, I didn’t not-study economics at Uni, and I don’t want to pay tax. I’d argue that everyone naturally wants to keep their money for themselves. Or just spend it themselves.

    Of course you might care to argue that I’m just a penny-pinching old bastard.

    But I’m happy for other people to be richer, provided it doesn’t make me poorer. That’s why I love industrialisation and technological progress. As the computer said in some old scifi story, the only way to win all the time is to cheat. Using lots of fossil fuels to drive gadgets allows us to evade the laws of thermodynamics.

    But some people don’t seem to be happy to just be Peter. They have to have a Paul to rob. Needless to say, I don’t want to be the Paul. Neither does anyone else, whether they’ve gone to uni or not.

  7. Given that they’re paying a hefty price in terms of student loans and associated interest with an ever decreasing chance of NOT becoming rich, but rather just getting an ordinary 9-5 McJob and being burdened with those student loan commitments for decades, I’d say that these graduates are showing an appropriate level of mental clarity about “redistribution” or “legalised theft” might be a more appropriate way of putting it.

    Good for them.

  8. This is actually the explanation. The evidence in economics tells us that capitalism and markets work. You want to go lefty then you can call for a bit more planning, some more redistribution, regulation. But those socialist fantasies of planning everything just don’t cut it in the face of the evidence. So, compared to sociology, anthropology, or the beliefs of most teenagers, economics is right wing. Precisely because of the evidence.

  9. There are certain journoes such as Kirkup or James Forsyth or Stephen Daisley whose output us so dire that I know not
    a) why they get published
    b) why they bother

  10. Agreed, Ottokring. Kirkup is a world class bore.
    Oddly, having a mortgage makes people right wing. I’d have thought that in that event people would be in favour of debt jubilees as advocated by the blockade Wall St crowd. But no.

  11. I would question the statement that economics graduates tend to the right

    Otherwise LSE would be a bastion of the far right?

  12. Seems to me that the statement in question is so broad/ill-defined that it’s silly to try to make judgements about how right/left leaning anyone is. I know plenty of left-leaners who would support that statement if it said “from the rich” instead of “better off”.

  13. I know plenty of left-leaners who would support that statement if it said “from the rich” instead of “better off”.

    The problem is that for the consideration of most taxes those self same left-leaners are “The Rich” / “Better Off”. When they finally realise that (and many are so economically illiterate that they never do), they aren’t quite so keen.

    “The Rich” pay a great deal in taxes, both absolute, relative and by percentage. The problem is that you could soak all the wealth they ever have or will have and still only pay a portion of the UK’s spending burden for a single year with nothing possible from them for subsequent years.

    This is where the “Tax the Rich” idiots always have failed and always will fail. The vast majority of taxation is paid by those on low and middle incomes.

  14. “I would question the statement that economics graduates tend to the right, given that almost all economics professors are either soft or hard leftist twats. Do the Lefties stay in academia to poison the well while the sensible ones leave? It’s a long time since any economics article in the TLS or THES expressed views that were not socialist”

    It’s more that the people who go into industry are kickass, willing to work hard and getting threesomes with supermodels, while the people who stay at university in many subjects just want an easy life. Plus, their employer is essentially the state, so they’d like an employer that will give them more money (meaning socialists, not classic liberals).

    I keep saying to people thinking of doing a computer science degree that they’re going to be taught by people who either never left, or just couldn’t ship enough code to stay in industry. A precis of the careers of most lecturers is now on course websites and there’s no-one with more than a couple of years experience.

  15. Firstly, people who make more than I do are Rich and need the hell taxed out of them.
    Secondly, people who make what I make are Poor and need generous subsidies.

  16. It’s an odd thing but Ferdinand Mount, once a speechwriter for Maggie, has gone full Toynbee, dissing the British Empire and Brexit at every opportunity. He is the exception that tests the rule

  17. To echo Tim- i went to a wokeist of woke institution for my economics joint hons degree. The lecturers were undoubtedly very left wing, but endearingly so in that they taught the subject’s fundamentals straight. They cherished us as they were mainly employed in providing a few units for the biz studies fausands that passed through.

  18. Theophrastus (2066)

    Kirkup’s claim was about graduates in general, not economics graduates. And it fits: the average graduate doesn’t want redistribution of his rewards, but he wants the state to provide more…

  19. “A precis of the careers of most lecturers is now on course websites and there’s no-one with more than a couple of years experience.”

    Possibly because to leave for more than a couple of years means you have no chance of ever becoming anything other than a poorly-paid lecturer on a yearly contract. In which case you might as well take up contracting for industry and get paid somewhat better.

  20. There’s a problem with the analysis. How do we know that it was the graduation which caused the opinion. Maybe people who are smart enough to graduate would have formed the same opinion anyway.

    Correlation is not causation.

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