We Need a New Way to Teach Economics
by John Komlos, PhD
Remember the walkout of students from their Principles of Economics class at Harvard a couple of years ago in solidarity with the ‘Occupy” movement? They thought that the economics they were being taught was doctrinaire, failed to provide a balanced perspective on the real existing economy, and did not show sufficient empathy for the 45 million people living in poverty. No wonder, the economics being taught on blackboards in almost all classrooms makes it appear as though markets descended straight from heaven while maintaining a conspiracy of silence on the Achilles heals of free markets such as not paying sufficient attention to safety, not caring enough about the environment, and being indifferent to the welfare of future generations.
Now John Cassidy reports in the New Yorker that a group of students in 16 countries are pushing back on the arrogance of mainstream economists and are demanding that a more realistic economics be taught with fewer abstractions, less emphasis on mathematical methods of problem solving, and more attention devoted to the plight of the underclass.
In most classrooms free markets become God’s gift to humanity, government is the boogeyman, and taxation is a simple burden on society’s
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