Wednesday, September 08, 2010

William Easterly introduces Principles of Economics

A nice rant from William Easterly on introducing students to Economics. Below is slightly out of context but gives a good feel.
The boredom of economics education also has the unfortunate effect of making economics scarce in aid work, given the number of aid ideas that violate elementary principles that all economists (from all points on the political spectrum) agree upon.

Sorry, I’m not all that concerned with “how individuals, blah, blah, optimal choices, blah, blah, scarcity, blah, blah…”  I’m concerned why some people are so rich and other people are so poor. I want to understand why some economies work and others don’t, and why even the ones that work still don’t work for everyone. I want to understand how other Americans and I got 64 times richer than our ancestors.

I want to know why Robert Iger, the CEO of Disney, makes $140,000 a day, and why some rock-breakers I met in Ghana make $1 a day. I think a differential of 140,000 times is pretty important to understand (obviously includes both domestic and international inequality).
 (Addendum note Easterly also uses the blah, blah construction so clearly not just restricted to Kevin!).

1 comment:

Kevin Denny said...

So is economics education really that boring? I enjoyed quite a lot of it as a student and I try to make it enjoyable for my students - how successfully I can't say.
So as for "blah blah", I think that puts me in good company. Though for some he is an academic, like me, and hence a low form of human life. In retrospect perhaps I should have used "etc etc" which might not have caused such outrage. Outrage is convenient for some, of course, because it obviates the need to comment intelligently and to engage seriously with important issues.
I was actually tempted to use Ross O'Carroll-Kelly's favourite: "blahdey blah" but it doesn't quite convey the sense of bored rejection I had in mind.