Harvard Students’ Walkout Shows Their Ignorance

By:  Bob Adelmann
11/16/2011
       
Harvard Students’ Walkout Shows Their Ignorance

When 70 students attending economics professor Greg Mankiw’s Economics 10 class on November 2nd walked out in protest, they wrote an open letter to him explaining why:  "Today, we are walking out of your class…in order to express our discontent with the bias inherent in this introductory economics course…...

When 70 students attending economics professor Greg Mankiw’s (photo) Economics 10 class on November 2nd walked out in protest, they wrote an open letter to him explaining why:

"Today, we are walking out of your class…in order to express our discontent with the bias inherent in this introductory economics course…

"[The] course…espouses a specific — and limited — view of economics that we believe perpetuates problematic and inefficient systems of economic inequality in our society today…

"There is no justification for presenting Adam Smith’s economic theories as more fundamental or basic than, for example, Keynesian theory…

"If Harvard fails to equip its students with a broad and critical understanding of economics, their actions are likely to harm the global financial system. The last five years of economic turmoil have been proof enough of this."

Part of their protest may stem from their perception that Mankiw is some kind of conservative which is automatically anathema to anyone attending Harvard. But such a perception was quickly corrected by one of Mankiw’s students who didn’t walk out, Jeremy Patashnik, who defended Mankiw:

There’s plenty of Keynesian theory to come in the second semester of Economics 10. In fact, Mankiw is a great Keynesian admirer, and once wrote ‘If you were going to turn to only one economist to understand the problems facing the economy, there’s little doubt that that economist would be John Maynard Keynes.’

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