The value of a modern economics degree

The point of the title – IT’S EASY TO BELIEVE AOC HAS AN ECONOMICS DEGREE – is not to point out how dumb Ocasio-Cortez is, but how shallow economic theory has become. It’s a quite nice article, which for me is only diminished because no mention is made of Keynesian theory. And this may be because by now almost no one even appreciates where the problem lies. He refers to central banks as the core of non-solutions to our economic problems but not to public spending. Still, I like what he writes. Here are some quotes from the article.

Why is it so hard to believe that she has a degree in economics? It seems far too many people have rather inaccurate ideas about what is taught in economics programs nowadays. The truth is there is little emphasis on understanding markets in economics programs, and little emphasis on the value of markets. The emphasis is now on using economics to justify state action in the economy. And any bias that may have once existed in favor of unhampered markets in these departments is vanishing.

There’s no reason to believe that a student with an economics degree is going to graduate with a deep understanding of how government intervention distorts markets or impoverishes consumers. The theoretical foundations behind such things are mentioned, of course, but at many institutions they are most certainly not emphasized. Far more likely, one learns in these programs that central banks can be relied upon to fix almost any economic problem faced in the course of a business cycle. And if a certain problem becomes especially difficult, the answer surely lies in giving the central bank even more power.

It’s entirely plausible AOC took any number of economics courses and came out with good grades after learning virtually nothing accurate about entrepreneurship, wages, money, or consumer choice. What she did learn on these topics was likely built on the premise that the state ought to be intervening and tinkering with all these things.

Economics is taught with the first priority being an ability to write some abstruse but highly mathematised paper of no relevance to anything other than it can be published in a high ranking journal. There is then some smattering of theory related to how government can fix things by hiring economic grads to work on devising policy since the market left to itself will only make things worse. An economics degree is merely proof that someone has next to no idea how an economy works. It’s sad but it’s true.

NEEDS ELEVATION FROM THE COMMENTS: Via Tim Neilson.

James Hacker:
Bernard. Humphrey should have seen this coming and warned me.

Bernard Woolley:
I don’t think Sir Humphrey understands economics, Prime Minister. He did read classics, you know?

James Hacker:
How about Sir Frank? He is head of the Treasury.

Bernard Woolley:
Well, I’m afraid he’s in even greater disadvantage in understanding economics. He’s an economist.

Many a truth is told in jest.

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7 Responses to The value of a modern economics degree

  1. Entropy

    Ning involved in government policy at a high level I endorse this statement. Economics is a tool to justify whatever the careerist sociopaths actually running the show (politicians and their technocratic enablers in high level SES) to give themselves an ever greater central role in, well anything.

  2. Tom

    An economics degree is merely proof that someone has next to no idea how an economy works.

    Coming from an economics professor, that is scandalous. We should be reading about it in our news media or at least in academic journals. That fact that we’re not is the other great scandal of our era: media and academia have become myopic bumboys of the ruling class.

  3. Crossie

    Economics, schmeconomics. What they emphasise in business degrees is the corporate social responsibility. We can expect the management class to be more left and deranged as these brainwashed graduates gain more power. Our universities are teaching them to destroy the economy in the name of equality.

  4. Crossie

    Tom
    #3332387, posted on February 23, 2020 at 11:33 am
    An economics degree is merely proof that someone has next to no idea how an economy works.

    Coming from an economics professor, that is scandalous. We should be reading about it in our news media or at least in academic journals. That fact that we’re not is the other great scandal of our era: media and academia have become myopic bumboys of the ruling class.

    I think it’s the other way around, academics inculcate this stuff in their students who operationalise it when they gain leadership of corporations.

  5. Tim Neilson

    Worth repeating:

    James Hacker:
    Bernard. Humphrey should have seen this coming and warned me.

    Bernard Woolley:
    I don’t think Sir Humphrey understands economics, Prime Minister. He did read classics, you know?

    James Hacker:
    How about Sir Frank? He is head of the Treasury.

    Bernard Woolley:
    Well, I’m afraid he’s in even greater disadvantage in understanding economics. He’s an economist.

    Now it’s getting empirically validated.

  6. Beachcomber

    Crossie at 1:09 pm

    Our universities are teaching them to destroy the economy in the name of equality.

    The Universities are working towards Year Zero.

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