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January 6, 2010

Science Describes, RW Economics Prescribes

-- by Dave Johnson

Science DEscribes what happens. Right-wing "free market" economics is about "if only people would do so-and-so, then such-and-such will happen." These are very different things. Right-wing economics doesn't work because people don't do what the wingers want them to do.

The Big Picture: Letter from Chicago: F,

The math/science majors meant that I was obligated to take humanities and other (non-science) course work. So I signed up for (amongst other courses) Economics 101.

It took all of ten minutes into the first class for me to recoil in horror. I asked the prof: “What do you meant that humans are rational? That is obviously not true. How important is this idea to economics?”

The response was, in hindsight, not a surprise: “It is the fundamental building block for all of economics. If you fight that underlying concept, if you do not provisionally accept that premise, you will not be able to understand what comes later.”

So I made what turned out to be one of my very best academic decisions: I gathered my books and walked out the door, and dropped the class.

Posted by Dave Johnson at January 6, 2010 9:54 PM


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