Sunday, November 11, 2012

Harvard's Greg Mankiw: a-political economics

A glaring example of conceited academic ignorance: Harvard's professor Greg Mankiw, reacting to a mass undergrad walkout from his economics lecture, insisted that he taught a "mainstream economics course", without political agenda. The undergrads accused him of teaching the kind of economic ideology that brings about inequality in society.

What is shocking here is that Professor Mankiw, whose textbooks are used in Yale, Harvard and Princeton to prepare the future US elite, seems utterly unaware of how a science power relationships and socially constructed meanings define the episteme of a science. His influence reaches beyond the academia: he served as the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the second Bush Administration and an adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
For too many economists, society, environment and human beings are secondary by-products or unfortunate pesky nuisances getting in the way of creating neat PowerPoint presentation of quantifiable data. Steve Keen's and Tom Keene's responses prove that Mankiw's grandiloquent parochialism is by no means an exception in the highest echelons of America's academia. With hardly any exposure to other social sciences, such scientists are neither taught, nor able to teach how to  understand how the system works, and instead simply pass a knowledge of how to perpetuate the status quo for as long as possible, without ever questioning it, demonising any opposing view as communism or socialism.

This is how the US got herself, as well as the rest of the world, to the edge of the financial cliff. Kudos to the brave Harvard undergrads! Humankind apparently is not beyond redeeming.


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