Not-from-the-Onion Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on November 15, 2011

in Inequality, Not from the Onion

… is from this enlightening essay by the great Amity Shlaes; the woman quoted just below is a student at Harvard University, one of several of who recently walked out of Greg Mankiw’s EC10 course:

“I’m someone who lives below the poverty line, my family’s extremely poor.  And having a class like this that promotes gaining at the expense of millions of people disturbs me and bothers me at my core,” freshman Amanda Bradley told National Public Radio.

There you have it, folks!  In today’s America, even some poor Americans – people who admit to living “below the poverty line” – are enrolled at Harvard University.

(I wonder if Ms. Amanda Bradley is aware of the irony of her lament.)

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{ 238 comments }

Matt November 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Its really more the content of the quote that disturbs me.

Rick Hull November 15, 2011 at 6:17 pm

I’d prefer we all hold hands and discuss povertynomics.

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm

I heard that interview on NPR while at work. I literally started laughing out loud.

Speedmaster November 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Wow, what that tells me is that primary and high school education have utterly failed Ms. Ms. Amanda Bradley. That statement is almost criminally ignorant.

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Don, I doubt seriously that Amanda Bradley understands the irony of her lament. So much for elite private education.

sams November 15, 2011 at 6:23 pm

lol

Ant November 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Where is the irony?

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm

The fact that she is poor, but at Harvard and claiming rich are exploiting the poor.

Daniel Kuehn November 15, 2011 at 7:20 pm

That makes no sense Jon – so if she’s concerned about some degree of exploitation she must be claiming that all the rich always exploit?

I’m on Mankiw’s side of this whole debacle and I can still see how ridiculous this explanation of the “irony” is.

I was a little unsure myself what Don was referring to – but if its this that’s poor reasoning.

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 7:24 pm

I explained it wrong. Let me get back to you, Dan. I’m in the middle of some work, so I’ll write what I meant in a few minutes.

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 7:39 pm

Ok, this is more what I meant to say:

She is rallying against rich privilege, while unintentionally showing the mobility of classes.

I have got to stop firing off thoughts while working on something else.

Daniel Kuehn November 15, 2011 at 8:48 pm

I still don’t get it. So if there is any mobility one is not allowed to be concerned about anything having to do with inequality?

I think the criticism of these students is simpler than this: having Mankiw as a professor is an excellent introduction to economics.

El Diablo November 15, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Daniel, inequality is not the issue. Life is not perfect or fair. Skipping a class helps no one.

If she really is concerned about the poor, then she should attend those classes and not waste the opportunity to learn something, come up with a great idea for a good or a service that will benefit consumers, employ lots of people to make such good or deliver such service, then give fabulous amounts of the wealth that she has earned to the poor.

Randy November 16, 2011 at 7:15 am

Daniel: “So if there is any mobility one is not allowed to be concerned about anything having to do with inequality?”

I’m going to go with yes. Mobility is absolutely essential to a free society, while equality of outcome is detrimental. As Muirgeo would say, there has never been a society founded on the idea of equality that did not devolve into a totalitarian nightmare.

John Muir November 15, 2011 at 7:55 pm

Daniel, the irony is that a poor person gets to go to an expensive university like Harvard only to boycott an economics class in support of the poor.

It is also sad. I know several people working a full-time job and paying for their own education. They are thankful for the opportunity and would not miss a class that they are paying for. I’m sure that they would gladly trade places with Ms Bradley.

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Thanks Jon.

Daniel Kuehn November 15, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I’m not saying she’s making a dumb decision by not going to class. She most definitely is, and I’ve been of that position from the beginning.

John Muir November 15, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Daniel, I did not say that you did not think that she was not making a bad decision by not attending class. :)

Daniel Kuehn November 15, 2011 at 11:45 pm

I’m responding to your second point – I’m agreeing with you John.

vidyohs November 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm

DK,
If the chick comes out of Mankiw’s class and makes that comment, do you not, like I, have to ask WTF is Mankiw teaching to young chicks that make them think like that……..ooooor what is it that he is not teaching?

Orrrrrr… of course you could just write the chick off as being broken brained and hopeless until that condition is fixed.

PrometheeFeu November 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm

How about this: The value of a Harvard education certainly knocks you way above the poverty line.

txslr November 16, 2011 at 1:59 pm

YES!

Gary Anderson November 16, 2011 at 12:55 pm

You have to start somewhere John. Lots of students go to Harvard and shun the thieving lying bankster profession.

And if any of you think that the banksters were not into the private housing bubble due to greed you are as misguided as Faux News

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm

You really have it in for your biological father, don’t you, Gary?

And what about the house flippers and the people who bought more house than they could afford? Is that not just naked greed? What about the people who elect politicians who promise to use the government’s monopoly on violent force to transfer wealth others created to them? Is that not greed?

Gary Anderson November 16, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Oh, you get around, Methinks. Are you the guy who says this over and over when I post my articles to BI?

Gary Anderson November 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Besides, I am quite certain that when banks took underwriting seriously, knowing they would have to hold their loans, you know, pre bubble, that very few people got too much house.

When banks abdicated the responsibility of underwriting, then what you see in the housing market mirrors what you see in the German banks who are levered to their eyeballs in bad PIIGS loans. And BTW, Italy home ownership, 78 percent, Spain at 80 percent, Greece at 79 percent.

Those guys probably look at the Germans who mostly rent and say, look at those poor damn Germans who own nothing, trying to tell us what to do?

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I’ve never seen you before. What’s BI? I’m not a guy, but I see that someone else has already pointed out the obvious.

And I see you’ve gotten accustomed to doing a tap dance to distract the weak minded when confronted by logic.

So, your response is basically: Bankers are adults who must be held responsible for their action, but every other adult should not be held responsible for his actions. When a banker does it, it’s greed. When anyone else does it, it’s not. Is that right?

Banks responded to incentives out of greed. Everyone who bought too much in the real estate market responded to incentives out of greed.

German banks are not overlevered because they abdicated their underwriting responsibility. For someone who claims to have a genetic predisposition to finance, you don’t seem to know much about it.

vikingvista November 16, 2011 at 2:00 pm

“When banks abdicated the responsibility of underwriting,”

Everybody always tries to maximize their returns. That has never changed, and never will. Everybody must use signals to determine risk and decide how best to maximize their returns. When loanable funds become cheap, people borrow more. When demand for mortgages with poor or no credit history goes up (say because GSEs start buying them), it appears risk is lower, more such mortgages are both made and purchased by others.

So, you can either believe that some sort of infectious agent, or alien technology, or supernatural mind control caused millions of people to oddly and for no good reason to simultaneously begin behaving differently over a few short years than they previously did, or you can believe that just a few misleading signals changed to set off the whole wave.

Which do you think is more likely–a million-fold coincidence across the system, or 1 or 2 bad decisions that had systemic impact? And if the latter, where do you find decisions with such power? Who is it that can instantly make masses of people across the country repeatedly do things that they wouldn’t normally want to do? Can you think of anyone?

Gary Anderson November 16, 2011 at 3:00 pm

How did you know my biological father was a banker?

Greg Webb November 16, 2011 at 11:20 pm

. . . shun the thieving lying bankster profession.

Gary, why the deranged, incoherent babbling about the banking profession? Politics is the lying, thieving profession, especially Marxist, liberal democraps.

And if any of you think that the banksters were not into the private housing bubble due to greed you are as misguided as Faux News

Ho ho ho! Your indoctrination by MSNBC is complete. Rachael Madcow will be pleased.

Invisible Backhand November 15, 2011 at 6:58 pm

A teenage girl is not properly submissive, humble and grateful for her scholarship, I guess. Unless it’s a delightfully meta inductive leap from the specific to the general that since one impoverished girl goes to Havaad, Daisy Dizzy doesn’t know all impoverished girls go to Havaad, even though she is one. I myself think it’s a metaphor for how Austrian economics, that ethereal platonic ideal, becomes that banality of evil, neoliberalism, much like how everyone enjoys an elegant dinner in The Rocky Horror Picture Show until Dr. Frank-N-Furter throws back the tablecloth to reveal they’ve all been dining over a rotting corpse.

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Swing and a miss

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 15, 2011 at 7:46 pm

No, Jon, he tripped over a donut in the on dork circle.

What incoherent lachrymose drivel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Invisible Backhand November 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm

In Hebrew religious school, a young student is being taught the Torah (the Five Books of Moses), and is reading the narrative in Exodus, chapter 16, about manna from heaven. At one point, we are told that the manna tasted like “tsappihiit in honey” (v. 31). The student asks the teacher: “How do you translate tsappihiit?”

Now, this word occurs only here in all of Scripture (hapax legomenon), and there has always been a lingering uncertainty about its derivation, although we assume that it refers to a kind of cake, something like baklava.

The teacher’s answer to the student is most telling. “You see, the Israelites were in bondage to Pharaoh in Egypt, until the LORD liberated them under the leadership of Moses, bringing them into the wilderness. There was no food to eat, so the LORD in His kindness brought down manna from heaven, which swing and a miss. Now do you understand?”

El Diablo November 15, 2011 at 8:21 pm

I understand! Stupid Marxists will buy the shit-on-a-shingle that Methinks once proposed selling. Now that there is demand, the supply will soon be forthcoming.

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 7:11 am

Hey hey hey!!

That shit on a brick is a great idea! It raises GDP, which means we’re all richer.

Invisible Backhand November 15, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Everyone, please excuse Irritable Bowel. Dr. Muirgeo gave him a laxative instead of a sedative. You know, that Dr. Muirgeo isn’t a very good doctor.

Invisible Backhand November 15, 2011 at 8:51 pm

“I use the word ‘neoliberalism’ in its original sense, to refer to the doctrines espoused by the Mont Pelerin Society. If there is another definition, I would love to hear what it is so that I can decide whether neoliberalism is more than an intellectual swear word.”

The Washington Consensus Reconsidered, Serra & Stiglitz

Invisible Backhand November 15, 2011 at 9:02 pm

It’s the laxative that causes Irritable Bowel to ramble incoherently.

John Muir November 15, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Because laxatives cause my other personality to be irritable, we gave him the nickname: Irritable Bowel.

Dan Phillips November 15, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Here’s some good advice: never take a laxative and a sleeping pill at the same time.

Chris Bowyer November 15, 2011 at 8:21 pm

The fact that she can still be technically right (she isn’t, but in theory she could be) does nothing to lessen the irony. At all.

SmoledMan November 16, 2011 at 11:54 am

No she’s a stupid close-minded Marxist properly influenced by your side. Her strings are simply being pulled by the likes of you.

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 12:15 pm

A teenage girl is not properly submissive, humble and grateful for her scholarship, I guess.

Yes, that’s right. When other people dig into their own pockets to kindly provide you with an education, it is beyond bad manners to take the money and refuse the education. It’s fraud.

Invisible Backhand November 16, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Just like when an immigrant from Russia comes in and shits all over democracy?

SmoledMan November 16, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Are you sure you wan to go there racist?

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Irritable Moron, how is it that it takes an immigrant to inform you the United States is not a democracy? hmmm?

Darren November 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm

A teenage girl is not properly submissive, humble and grateful for her scholarship, I guess.

I would bet there are many others would would be much more appreciative of that scholarship.

Nuke Nemesis November 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm

I think the real horror was that they were eating meat from the corpse. The decor was a secondary horror.

Dan H November 17, 2011 at 10:48 am

“A teenage girl is not properly submissive, humble and grateful for her scholarship”

The Ivy League does not offer scholarships for undergrads. Trust me, I went through that only six and a half years ago while being recruited by those schools for track. No academic or athletic scholarships for undergrads. Only academic scholarships and grants for elite grad students. This chick probably is part of Harvard’s new “need based” grant system whereby you are exempt from tuition if your combined household income is under $40k per year, but that is not a scholarship by any means.

GrizzlyAdam November 16, 2011 at 11:51 am

She is at Harvard, one of the most prestigious schools in the world, complaining about rich people exploiting the poor, seemingly unaware that her education is being paid for by rich people.

Greg November 15, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Mankiw’s course certainly does not have “right guys, if we, the rich, want to get richer we have to exploit the poor, so this is how we do it…”

i would REALLY like to hear how this student justifies what she said. I want her to point out where exactly in the course Mankiw talked about extracting a rent from the poor for the rich…apart from the observation that a lot of regulations and subsidies do that.

tdp November 15, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Or whether she understands a damn thing about economics (clearly, no, since she remains convinced that wealth is zero-sum and that people earn money by exploiting the poor, both of which are demonstrably false.) The most troubling aspect of this is that someone so clearly deficient in critical thinking, comprehension (she clearly didn’t understand what was being taught) and thoughtfulness (she walked out on the class after one day) was admitted into what is widely considered the best, most prestigious university in the world. I almost certainly couldn’t have gotten into Harvard, and yet apparently there are people there who don’t have two brain cells to rub together.

jcpederson November 15, 2011 at 6:44 pm

There is no currency more highly valued, on the American campus, as the ability to be offended, on the basis of your identity.

It’s not just academia – anyone who sits through a harassment class, when presented with different scenarios, asking who is in the right, need not really pay much attention to the fine points – the woman is right and the man is wrong, the senior is right and the youngster is wrong, the heavy person is right and the beanpole is wrong, and the older, black lesbian in the wheelchair beats a royal flush.

Randy November 15, 2011 at 8:07 pm

:)

Peter McIlhon November 16, 2011 at 12:24 am

“There is no currency more highly valued, on the American campus, as the ability to be offended, on the basis of your identity.”

Indeed. Also, I’m plagiarizing the living crap outta this.

Ryan Vann November 16, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Stolen!

Upton November 16, 2011 at 8:01 am

“There is no currency more highly valued, on the American campus, as the ability to be offended, on the basis of your identity.”

Quote of the year! Thanks.

jcpederson November 16, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Thanks guys, steal away, although now that I look at it, I feel a pang of regret – it really ought to be “THAN the ability to be offended”.

Rob November 15, 2011 at 6:56 pm

I was in Boston and visited Harvard this weekend. I found, much to my chagrin, that Harvard Yard was “occupied” and consequently closed to all non-Harvard students. The irony of course being that the protestors, presumably indignant at their plight, and not realizing the privileged they enjoy at being able to attend Harvard, effectively succeeded in increasing the gap between the mythic 1% and the rest of us. Maybe they should have stayed in Mankiw’s class for the lecture on unintended consequences.

One may only hope that the University will quickly heed to that which is written on the very gates now locked

Open Ye the Gates that the Righteous Nation which Keepeth the Truth May Enter In

purplefox November 15, 2011 at 7:16 pm

The rich extract rent from the poor by forcing them to buy expensive name brand clothing, cigarettes, and the latest iPhone. C’mon guys, get with the program! No one should ever have to sacrifice now to have money for later.

It’s pretty common around here for those paying with EBT to have one of more of the following: 1)nicer name brand clothing than I do, 2)an expensive smart phone with expensive case, 3)a cart full of expensive junk food 4) copious body art. Being poor sure isn’t what it used to be.

Hasdrubal November 16, 2011 at 10:27 am

No, not iPhones because they’re Apple products. And all Apple products are goodness and light because they were personally designed and manufactured by Steve Jobs, the new St. Peter. Unlike those evil Microsoft products made by that horrible, horrible Bill Gates who tells us it’s wrong to steal and has the gall to give away hundreds of millions of his personal fortune to help starving children in Africa. The jerk!

Daniel Kuehn November 15, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I don’t get what’s ironic about this particular statement.

What I found ironic was in their open letter where they accused Mankiw of under-emphasizing Keynes – Mankiw of all people!

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Right?! I mean, it’s Mankiw.

Don Boudreaux November 15, 2011 at 10:33 pm

Daniel: You do not find it ironic that someone who can afford to spend time attending college complains about being “extremely poor”? No one who attends college – whether it be Harvard or Northwest South Dakota Community College – is “extremely poor” by any sensible definition of that term. That this young woman attends Harvard – even if on a full-paid scholarship – only reinforces the fact.

This young woman is oblivious to the enormous wealth she and her family have that allows her to spend time into her twenties reading books and studying (and also, in her case, pontificating in Harvard Square about how hard her life is).

She is not “extremely poor” – or even “poor” in any absolute sense – given that her family can afford to allow her to take time away from helping the family in order to pursue collegiate studies. She’s astonishingly rich. And the fact that she can identify a handful of other people who are even more astonishingly rich than she is does absolutely nothing to render her assessment of her material state correct (although it does reveal that her knowledge of history or of the plain meaning of words (or both) is appallingly deficient).

Daniel Kuehn November 15, 2011 at 11:48 pm

If you know she is astonishingly rich you’re privy to information I don’t have.

If you mean she has a rich and fulfilling life, you’re certainly right given her circumstances. I’m taking her at her word that she comes from a low income family. Lots of low income people live fulfilling lives. I don’t think that removes concern about poverty.

g-dub November 16, 2011 at 12:33 am

Get invited to many parties? You’re stiff as a board.

Daniel Kuehn November 16, 2011 at 9:32 am

Not sure how I’m being “stiff as a board” by suggesting that maybe we shouldn’t browbeat a college freshman for being concerned about poverty.

A party full of people who get worked up over somewhat over-the-top idealistic college kids, or a party full of people who understand that idealistic college kids will be idealistic college kids and that poverty is a concern? I’ll go with the latter – thanks.

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 10:10 am

She’s clearly not concerned about poverty. If she were concerned about poverty, she wouldn’t be advocating for a system that keeps everyone in poverty.

Unless you mean she’s concerned that everyone isn’t living in poverty.

g-dub November 16, 2011 at 10:42 am

dk> maybe we shouldn’t browbeat a college freshman for being concerned about poverty.

She’s isn’t getting “browbeat” for being “concerned about poverty.”

LowcountryJoe November 16, 2011 at 12:48 am

Come now, DK, you must deliberately being obtuse here. Re-read Don’s comment and, before you let your hardheadedness kick in [to avoid having to concede a valid point, I presume], reflect a little bit on this.

vikingvista November 16, 2011 at 1:46 am

“DK, you must deliberately being obtuse here.”

No, after seeing him in action for quite some time, I’m pretty sure he’s genuinely obtuse.

g-dub November 16, 2011 at 10:26 am

lcj> DK, you must deliberately being obtuse here.

vv> No, after seeing him in action for quite some time, I’m pretty sure he’s genuinely obtuse.

Being simultaneously intelligent and dense aren’t independent equations. The coincidence is a riddle to be solved. Some don’t think it’s a riddle.

g-dub November 16, 2011 at 10:27 am

btw, I am not trying to be mean. I read DK’s posts, because they are often worth reading. Some are just “wth?”

vikingvista November 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Having seen what else squirms around here claiming to give counterpoint, I’ve come to see DK in an entirely new light from when I first began reading him. I’ll take more DK and less muirde, if such an exchange is at all possible.

Russell Nelson November 19, 2011 at 12:29 pm

DK is the least of our idiots.

dsylexic November 16, 2011 at 2:38 am

do you even know that studying when you are in your twenties is a luxury even by 21st century standards?even if it is on a scholarship?
oh.wait.you wouldnt have a clue.you are probably in your late 20s and still studying .
you are frickin privileged

Daniel Kuehn November 16, 2011 at 9:33 am

Of course she’s privileged. And she’s not getting just any education – she’s at Harvard.

Sorry if you got the impression I was saying she wasn’t privileged. Of course she is. I thought I’ve said that a couple times now.

david nh November 16, 2011 at 9:53 am

I think Don means that, by virtue of the fact that she can spend time reading books into adulthood and learning while at the same time not producing, we know that she has great wealth. Prolonged consumption of luxuries and expensive goods is evidence of real wealth. She can’t be poor.

PrometheeFeu November 16, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Well, this year alone, she appears to be consuming over $72,610 worth of services before shelling out a single cent on the basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, shelter etc… I on the other hand, a software engineer at a big company with a generous paycheck would not be able to make rent, much less pay for food or clothing should I spend that kind of money. I would say that by any useful measure, she is quite rich.

vikingvista November 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm

“pontificating in Harvard Square about how hard her life is”

Now you’re sounding like P.J. O’Rourke. Love it.

Invisible Backhand November 16, 2011 at 9:43 pm

She is not “extremely poor” – or even “poor” in any absolute sense – given that her family can afford to allow her to take time away from helping the family in order to pursue collegiate studies. She’s astonishingly rich.

You’re busted again, Regards, Ken. You can’t disguise you style of speech. You really shouldn’t be claiming to be Boudreaux though.

Darren November 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm

under-emphasizing Keynes

Most likely, they have an odd idea of what Keynes advocated (not that I know any better).

Methinks1776 November 15, 2011 at 7:42 pm

She lives in this country. That alone means she has no idea what extremely poor looks like. Now, if she were to live in one these equalized utopias where everyone except the politically connected lives in actual poverty, then she might come to understand what “poor” means.

It’s stories like this that make me happy I didn’t have children who will have to suffer these fools.

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Hear, hear. If anything, Amanda Bradley needs a good spanking.

vidyohs November 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm

You sound too eager, do you know something about Amanda that we don’t? :-)

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm

LOL!

Stone Glasgow November 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Perhaps all she needs is to visit a poor nation and see wha real poverty looks like. In most of the world, people are correct to fear death at any moment. In her world, death, war, starvation, and fatal illness are not even on her top ten list. It more likely includes:

1. Will Bobby call me tonight?
2. Do I look fat in these $200 jeans?
3. If I buy the new iPhone 4S, can I still eat out for all meals until daddy’s next check arrives?
4. What will my parents think if I get a tattoo on my ass?
5. Etc.

Gil November 15, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Thos reminds me of how no one was abused when they were a child because their childhood was tame compared to brutal upbringing of many children in Africa, e.g. children being pressed into soliders.

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 7:25 am

Exactly. In the countries where my husband grew up, people lived in grinding poverty. They worried about dying from Cholera and actual starvation (not food “insecurity” where overweight people worry if they’ll pass their favourite fast food restaurant on their way to the movies that night). Not only were they poor, but their opportunities were limited.

In America, the poor have many options. In the impoverished countries in which my husband and I spent our childhoods, they did not. Options are valuable whether they are exercised or not.

Darren November 16, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Perhaps all she needs is to visit a poor nation and see wha real poverty looks like.

I doubt it would matter. She wouldn’t make the connection that she herself would be considered wealthy on a global scale.

anthonyl November 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm

And those are wonderful things to worry about.  I hope all humans find themselves with the same troubles someday. 
But what does she mean by dropping a class in protest that teaches, if I understand Greg Mankiw,  about designing a society where those who do not produce, like her, do not need to live in abject poverty but were all a little worse off.  
Even beggars have access to many well off people they can ask donations from.  In many countries poor people do not have such access.

Old Man November 15, 2011 at 7:42 pm

She probably doesn’t remember when Harvard was a club for the rich elite.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 15, 2011 at 7:57 pm

I’m not sure who this girl is, but she needs an attitude adjustment. I’m not sure that Harvard is the proper vehicle for imparting awareness of one’s because I’m sure she’ll make it through without having her preconceived notions assaulted.

Indeed, she’ll probably learn to speak with her teeth clenched, meet a lot of girls with names like Muffy and Buffy, get a job with an investment bank with huge bonuses and become properly dismissive of people who don’t listen to NPR and look down her nose at the electrician and plumber.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 15, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Errata:

…awareness of one’s own ignorance.

Jay November 15, 2011 at 8:19 pm

What is this woman’s major? Puppetry?

Nevertheless, someone needs to teach her that as a student at Harvard she has a very valuable asset that will preclude her from being “poor”, even if she is currently illiquid.

Total Assets > P(She graduates from Harvard) * NPV(Earnings of a Harvard Grad)

Jay November 15, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Obama should pass legislation that forces her to mark-to-market this asset each day. All increases in the asset’s value will be carried to income statement as ordinary income and taxed at the Michael Moore preferred marginal tax rate of 100%.

Losses can be accrued for at most 2 years and can only be used to shield taxation from future gains of the asset.

Ubiquitous November 15, 2011 at 11:43 pm

What is this woman’s major? Puppetry?

No. Sophistry.

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Excellent!

dcj125 November 15, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I can see why most of you think her quote is ironic, but I can also understand her opinion.

If she is from a low-income family AND attending Harvard, then she’s probably heavily subsidized on grants, scholarships, and loans. She may have the privilege of having an “elite” college education, but that doesn’t make her family or her upbringing a privileged or elite one. It’s not like she was wealthy her entire life and is now decrying the basis of her family’s wealth.

I don’t know what material EC10 covers, but she has the opportunity to see the world from a different perspective and what she sees/interprets is how soylent green is made.

Will November 15, 2011 at 9:31 pm

The irony to me is that this is Harvard University. You have to work you tail off to get there and out preform everyone else to earn a spot there. Even if you include all students in the top ten Universities, they probably make up a small fraction of 1 percent of all college students in the country. No Doubt, she got there becase of hard work and if poor, she probably has had to work harder than other students. She is the top elite of all college students. I imagine she believes she earned her spot and is rightly rewarded by her admission. She would probably be upset, if she were told that its not fair that she gets to go to Harvard for 4 years when 99% of all college students are unable to attend and that after her first year they are going to give her spot to someone else because that would allow for more equal distribution of Harvard class to college students and therefore fair.

Will November 15, 2011 at 9:33 pm

This was suppose to be just a general response, not specifically to dcj125, hit the wong button.

Ubiquitous November 15, 2011 at 11:40 pm

She is the top elite of all college students.

She is a twit.

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 7:27 am

There are a lot of those at these “elite” universities.

John F. Opie November 16, 2011 at 10:54 am

The two terms “She is the top elite of all college students” and “she is a twit”, while not an accounting identity, are closely correlated. There may – but only may – be a causal relationship.

vidyohs November 15, 2011 at 9:48 pm

So where did she get the “exploitation” from. Does Mankiw teach exploitation 101?

Here is a tidbit of info I learned the other day, plus a conclusion I draw from that info.

In a retirement seminar I was told by an Ameriprise Financial planner that IRS data for 2011 showed that the top 1% of income earners in America paid a tax of 24% on that income Vs 34% in 1980. And, the bottom 50% of income earners in America paid a tax of 2% on that income Vs 6% in 1980. Looks like both categories are doing better today than in Carter’s day.

However, Amanda, like so many, doesn’t understand that when the top 1% stop making the effort to be in the top 1% and decide not to make so much effort anymore, that bottom 50% will very likely be paying no tax because they won’t have a job at all.

But, Amanda didn’t get that way by going to Harvard. I guarantee you that she had already been screwed up by her family and primary schooling.

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 10:17 pm

That’s very likely. By selecting the kids of the wealthy and the poor, Harvard trains the next generation of likely political leaders, who have strong emotional biases favorable to socialism.

Dan Phillips November 15, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Easy there,fella. I put my son through Harvard and neither he nor any of his associates (students, not faculty) have any strong emotional ties to socialism. They used to joke with each other about going to “indoctrination” classes. They remain as committed to classical liberalism as ever.

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Good!

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Why did you take exception to my comment? Are you poor? Or, are you wealthy? If neither, then it did not apply to you.

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 7:32 am

Dan, there are always exceptions to the rule. As a rule, Greg Webb is right.

The interesting thing is these people have nothing against exploitation. They’re complaint is that they want to be the exploiters and to justify their malevolence, they concoct an alternate reality in which the poor are exploited because they are employed by the rich.

This is why Marx is eternally popular. He’s very handy. Although, little Amanda is surely too ignorant to realize where her brainwashing comes from.

g-dub November 16, 2011 at 12:38 am

I guarantee you that she had already been screwed up by her family and primary schooling.

Which is a very bad kind of poor. She’s poor, alright.

vidyohs November 16, 2011 at 6:06 am

Harvard is just adding sophistication and veneer to her poor.

vidyohs November 16, 2011 at 6:19 am

“promotes gaining at the expense of millions of people disturbs me and bothers me at my core,”"

How did the girl get so twisted that she interprets producing and selling goods to people who willingly buy them as theft?

You and I both know without even having been there that Mankiw does not teach Mugging 101, or Government Collection Procedures 101.

g-dub November 16, 2011 at 10:54 am

vid> How did the girl get so twisted that she interprets producing and selling goods to people who willingly buy them as theft?

It is almost certain that the complaints have nothing to do with anything Mankiw was teaching. I guess that is their complaint — they weren’t being taught to rob well enough, and that robbery is okay (justified).

She had 8 siblings but was “poor.” Why did her parents have 8 kids? Apparently they thought they were well enough off to pop out 9 kids — to support them. How did they define “poor?” The story gets stranger by the minute.

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 9:48 pm

EC10 is Economics 101. It’s the basic class that is offered. So, it’s things like supply & demand, opportunity costs, why people trade, the benefits of trade, comparative vs. absolute advantage, the effects of outside influences on the market, etc.

dcj125 November 15, 2011 at 11:22 pm

I was wondering about this too. I took basic econ classes and I couldn’t remember anything I learned that made me think what Ms. Bradley thought. But then again, I didn’t graduate from Harvard.

g-dub November 16, 2011 at 12:41 am

Oh, don’t forget you’ll learn stuff like rent control is stupid, since rent control is indefensible. So obviously economists are racists and hate the poor.

Russell Nelson November 19, 2011 at 12:37 pm

She is poor in spirit, knowledge, and outlook.

Milton Recht November 15, 2011 at 9:21 pm

Two important things she probably will learn in Mankiw’s eco course.

The economy is not zero sum and someone’s economic gain is not at someone else’s loss.

Economic growth benefits everyone, even the poor.

Years ago, a poor person would not say poverty is being below the poverty line. They would have described the hunger, the lack of food, the lack of shoes, the crowded beds where they slept, the dropping out of HS to work for family income, etc. It is probably unlike her pre-college life, as most of the poor below the poverty line today in the US have food, clothes, TVs, cellphones, air-conditioning, etc.

What Amanda is describing is a Marxist view of the world, that capitalists only gain by exploiting and under-paying workers. Does she think that describes, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg and thousands of other US entrepreneurs and innovators.

steve November 15, 2011 at 10:08 pm

“The economy is not zero sum and someone’s economic gain is not at someone else’s loss.”

That never happens?

Steve

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 15, 2011 at 11:03 pm

Economic growth benefits everyone, even the poor.

not in this country

real incomes of the bottom have been stagnant for 30/40 years

read the charts

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Income_inequality_in_the_United_States

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 15, 2011 at 11:19 pm

“real incomes of the bottom have been stagnant for 30/40 years”.

The only thing stagnant is the pool of socialist filth you willingly bathe in.

Ubiquitous November 15, 2011 at 11:21 pm

We’ve already gone over this issue in many previous threads, shmucko. Try to catch up, OK? Pasting a link from a Wikipedia article won’t change a thing.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 16, 2011 at 8:57 am

yea, I know, the facts lie

El Diablo November 16, 2011 at 10:23 am

No, just you, Luzha.

Russell Nelson November 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm

She will only learn if she has a place in her head to put that knowledge. It sounds like she is not ready to learn. I vote to take away her scholarship and go work for a living for a few years.

Ike November 15, 2011 at 9:30 pm

I’m surprised no one has mentioned the irony that she thinks her Harvard education is going to be too *conservative*.

(I use the modern political understanding of the word, not to be confused with the original use of liberal.)

John Papola November 15, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Studying econ at Harvard is like living below the INTELLECTUAL poverty line.

EG November 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Oh come now! That was uncalled for.

Russell Nelson November 19, 2011 at 12:39 pm

It was mean, true. It is also deserved.

Ubiquitous November 15, 2011 at 11:18 pm

+1

Like!

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 15, 2011 at 11:19 pm

+2

EG November 15, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Not a big deal, other than the comedic value these kids bring. Out of a class of over 700, under 70 walked out. These were kids who were forced to be in that class, anyway; a required course at Harvard. In every large group of people, at least 10% will be idiots. More than 10% of them were going to fail the class anyway. So no surprise. And nothing to worry about.

That was probably an 8am class too. If I were 18, I’d have walked out too.

g-dub November 16, 2011 at 12:45 am

lol!

vikingvista November 16, 2011 at 1:52 am

Harvard fails people?

Dan J November 16, 2011 at 2:08 am

I’m sure everything that needs to Be said about the ludicrous statement by the dum-dum has been said. She is a future panelist on Bill Mahers show.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 16, 2011 at 8:36 am

Harvard fails people?

Barack Obama.

vikingvista November 16, 2011 at 11:16 am

Were his Harvard records ever released?

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Rather than taking pop shots at the poor girl, we should probably focus on the larger issue here, and that is the misunderstanding of basic economic principles that lead to this current situation.

tdp November 15, 2011 at 10:00 pm

There are way too many ignorant ECONOMISTS with doctoral degrees to even THINK about educating the public about economics.

Speaking of poverty, I would like to see someone do a massive comprehensive study of the behavioral patterns, family backgrounds, educational levels, occupations, etc. of the poor and those who are one mishap away from dipping below poverty level, as well as one that tracks long-term upward mobility of those living below the poverty line. I would bet a lot of money that most of the things that lead to people being poor have nothing to do with “too much” capitalism or the effects of free markets, and that many of them could be alleviated through the effects of free markets.

You could also do one on the uninsured and underinsured in America and determine how many people could benefit from a free-market healthcare reform that would increase competition and lower prices, as well as one on global poverty akin to the studies cited by Johan Norberg in his works on the effects of economic liberalization.

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Read Freakonomics. They cover that idea.

kyle8 November 15, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Poverty is not a state of being it is state of mind. At least in a nation such as ours. (not, perhaps in a very poor nation or one with no economic opportunity).

People have often drawn a false correlation/causation between crime and poverty but the correlation is that they have the same pathologies.

Ignorance, sloth, substance abuse, dependency, inability to delay satisfaction, blaming others. These things lead to a poverty mentality
and work to hinder the necassary steps to leave poverty.

But there are no excuses, because literally millions of recent immigrants have shown that you can rise up to at least lower middle class status no matter how low you start with just hard work and not getting into trouble.

A person can be poor temporarily but not impoverished, and an impoverished person can be given a winning lottery ticket and be broke again in one year. It is a state of mind.

Dan J November 16, 2011 at 2:10 am

The poverty line is quite the moving target…… Harvard student is poverty stricken?

El Diablo November 16, 2011 at 9:25 am

No. The political class includes the wealthy and a few poor that the wealthy have choosen to educate and employ to as useful idiots.

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Jon, if she won’t go to class, how will she ever learn basic economic principals.

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 10:08 pm

If it were up to me, we’d teach it in high school, right next to Civics 101 and Latin.

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 10:08 pm

And “How to manage household finance”

El Diablo November 16, 2011 at 9:19 am

You should add a class in manners and respect for others.

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 10:09 pm

I agree with all three of those recommendations.

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 10:11 pm

…four recommendations.

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 10:12 pm

I knew what you meant :-P

g-dub November 16, 2011 at 12:48 am

Latin? Now that was funny!

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Jon, what is also surprising is her arrogance in thinking that she knows more than Professor Mankiw and singling him out as the only class that she is boycotting.

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Right. And Mankiw is a very very moderate professor. Have his textbook is Keyenism.

Jon Murphy November 15, 2011 at 10:09 pm

*half his text book is Keynesian

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Does it explain Keynesianism really well? If so, I may buy it.

Jon Murphy November 16, 2011 at 9:15 am

I think he does. Mankiw does a good job explaining the theories behind Keynes. If you want, Greg, I have an old textbook I’ll give you.

Daniel Kuehn November 16, 2011 at 9:28 am

Although it actually has less classic, “old” Keynesianism than most intro textbooks. Still though – it’s very ironic to criticize him on the “underemphasize Keynes” point.

Greg Webb November 16, 2011 at 10:34 am

Thanks, Jon! Your offer is very kind. Is it an intro economics textbook or is it more advanced? I took both principles and intermediate macro and micro in college. I’ve also read The General Theory, quite a bit of Paul Samuelson’s work, and Judge Richard Posner’s summation of The General Theory from a couple of years ago. Do you think Mankiw’s text sheds any new light or, perhaps, is just better written?

Jon Murphy November 16, 2011 at 10:36 am

This is an intro textbook. I think it is a good explanation of basic Keynesian theory. It probably won’t shed any new light onto the case for you, but it is certainly better written (all due respect to other textbook authors out there).

Jon Murphy November 16, 2011 at 10:37 am

If you want, Greg, email me an address you’d like me to send the book to and I’ll pop it in the mail today or tomorrow.

My email is jmurphy8289@gmail.com

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 15, 2011 at 11:05 pm

Mankiw worked for Bush; did nothing when Bush cut taxes and bankrupted the country

enough said

guy has bush fleas

kyle8 November 15, 2011 at 11:09 pm

BOOSH BOOSH BOOSH!!!!! OMG! the evil! he actually cut taxes!!!

Oh horrors!

Bush did a lot of stupid things, but it is humorous that the lunatic left hate him most for the one right thing he did.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 16, 2011 at 9:01 am

kyle8

investment is down, since bush cut taxes

when you bankrupt the country, refusing to pay for two wars, lot of crap does wrong

BYW, I am not a part of the lunatic left, I am a Keynesian who believes that taxes should have raised by Bush to further reduce deficits

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Luzha, first, the country is not bankrupt. Second, federal government spending in excess of that legitimately needed to carry out its authorized functions is the problem, not cutting taxes. Third, Professor Mankiw did not make policy. Fourth, only stupid Marxists refusing to bathe have fleas.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 16, 2011 at 9:03 am

carry out its authorized functions

what is this?

a euphemism for end social security, medicare and send the carts around every morning for us to throw out our dead

Greg Webb November 16, 2011 at 10:35 am

Nope! It is putting the federal government back in its place.

Jon Murphy November 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Minor point of clarification: Greg Mankiw was not President Bush’s economic adviser when the tax cuts were passed. He came along 2 years later.

Nikolai Luzhin, Eastern Promises November 16, 2011 at 9:04 am

greg

don’t book with books

reading with comprehension is beyond you

Greg Webb November 16, 2011 at 10:36 am

Little Nikki Luzha, your writing ability clearly reflects your reading comprehension ability.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 15, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Jon, her deficiency isn’t intellectual, its moral. She’s 18, attending what’s widely presumed to be THE elite university and instead lapping up the saucer of cream put before her, she’s hissing and spitting. Life is all about reality bitch-slapping our cherished preconceptions to smithereens.

Her deficiency is “pride” and not the rah-rah, beat Yale, go Crimson stuff. Its that she thinks, at 18, that she is in position to judge the class.

Actually, the great irony her isn’t how she’s ranting about poverty while at an expensive school, its that she’s at this prestigious institution and doesn’t think she needs to be there.

Darren November 16, 2011 at 1:06 pm

she’s at this prestigious institution and doesn’t think she needs to be there.

Perhaps she envisions a career as a lap dancer.

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 7:40 am

Jon Murphy,

What economics principles can this child understand if she’s unwilling to sit through an introductory class in economics?

When I was in college, I was also working three jobs to pay for it. I was exhausted all the time and you would have had to pry me out of my seat in class with crowbar and drag me out with a team of mules. These are spoiled brats in need of a nasty life lesson.

Greg G November 16, 2011 at 7:55 am

Shame on you Jon Murphy for suggesting our first response should not be to “give her a nasty life lesson.”

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 8:18 am

Are you already drunk this early in the morning? I’m neither Jon Murphy nor did I suggest anyone give her anything.

Clearly, this spoiled brat has already been given too much.

Greg G November 16, 2011 at 8:28 am

Methinks

Yes I know you are not Jon Murphy. The comment was directed at him which is why it had his name in it, not yours.

But you had better keep a close watch on Jon. He is already reading Keynesian blogs you know. He is young and impressionable may slip away to the dark side if you are not vigilant. He already shows an alarming lack of hostility to non-libertarians.

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 8:32 am

So, you’re not drunk, you’re just too stupid to make out which reply button to click. Why am I not surprised?

Greg G November 16, 2011 at 8:34 am

See that Jon? That’s how it’s done. That’s the proper level of hostility.

Jon Murphy November 16, 2011 at 10:42 am

Wow…the things I say to cause controversy pass with barely a notice and the uncontroversial things I say cause problems.

I just feel kinda bad for the girl. It is kind of unfair for us to be taking shots at her when we don’t even know her and she has no way to defend herself. We’re kind of using her as a figurehead for the entire movement.

Greg Webb November 16, 2011 at 10:44 am

Jon, LOL! Disingenuous Greg G is at it again. This time he directs a comment at you that contains an indirect criticism of Methinks1776 by “quoting” her previous comment. Then, he pretends that he wasn’t talking to her at all. (In case you really are that clueless Greg G, my comment is directed to Jon but it is really intended for you.)

Methinks1776, you have made Greg G cry once again. If you are not careful, the thought police will make you take a sensitivity class.

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 11:39 am

Greg W, I think senility has set in with Greg G.

Joh Murphy, it’s high time we hold adults responsible for their actions and the things that tumble from their mouths. If I were providing this petulant child her scholarship, I would pull it for such behaviour.

Moreover, while you’re going easy on her, consider the shots she’s taking at the productive people in the world whom she also doesn’t know and they also “can’t defend themselves” (whatever that means, she has every opportunity to defend herself unless someone has gagged her – which may not be the worst thing).

Greg Webb November 16, 2011 at 11:09 am

Methinks1776, I agree with you. Amanda needs a lesson in real life and does not need to be coddled as a special privilege kid.

A friend’s daughter received a failing grade simply because she missed one class. The dean of the nursing school changed the policy from 1 permitted missed class to zero permitted missed classes just this year. Everyone was notified and she was aware of the policy. But, she simply made a mistake, but the dean would not make an exception. Her parents are middle class.

Contrast that with Amanda who boycotts a class because she is concerned about inequality. Boycotting the class won’t do anything to change inequality. Yet, some choose to admire her for pretending to care about when she all she did was intentionally skip class. Her parents are poor, but her adoptive parents at Harvard are wealthy.

Economic Freedom November 15, 2011 at 10:46 pm

Greg Mankiw is a discredited supply-side economist. He aided and abetted Bush in his quest to reduce taxes on the wealthy. He is partly to blame for the financial meltdown. Right-wing and librarian economics have also been repeatedly discredited. That student is completely correct to want a progressive, environmentally sustainable economics to replace the rubbish that Mankiw spews in his class at Harvard. It is a disgrace that his hasn’t been put out to pasture yet.

House Of Cards November 15, 2011 at 11:00 pm

That student is completely correct to want a progressive, environmentally sustainable economics to replace the rubbish that Mankiw spews in his class at Harvard.

Done throwing your little temper trantrum, Imposter Economic Freedom?

Suppose you tell us: what country has, in your opinion, a progressive, environmentally sustainable economics?

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 11:05 pm

EF, just why do you hate librarians so much?

BTW, your comments were silly, unsubstantiated personal attacks, unsupported conclusory statements, and stupid Marxist propaganda. But, thanks for proving that you are an idiot.

Jon Murphy November 16, 2011 at 9:14 am

$5 bucks says he’s never read Mankiw’s book, blog, or class notes

g-dub November 17, 2011 at 11:40 am

If EF hates librarians, EF likely also hates books. Reading is hard! Understanding more so.

kyle8 November 15, 2011 at 10:47 pm

I don’t know that much about Mankiw except that he has written several thing I disagree with. But I am tolerably certain that he never taught anyone that the way to be rich is to exploit the poor.

Unless he is an outright Marxist which I don’t think he is. What a dismal young person.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 15, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Interesting point Kyle-the dismal science attracting dismal students.

Ubiquitous November 15, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Their specific criticisms are that economics as taught in this class, formally called Economics 10, failed to prevent the financial crisis and does nothing to narrow the gap between rich and poor.

In other words, these dipshultz Harvard arse-hats have never even taken an intro course in economics, and know absolutely nothing about the subject, yet somehow they claim to have enough knowledge of it to say with certainty that economics “as taught in this class failed to prevent the financial crisis and does nothing to narrow the gap between rich and poor”? How the hell could they know that? How do they know the crisis wasn’t caused, instead, by policy deviations from the teachings of Econ 10?

What these spoiled moochers and looters really want is propaganda to confirm and reinforce the assumptions they already have. They want a course that tells them what they want to hear, rather than one that teaches the fundamentals of a subject that might — that should — (if well taught) — challenge their assumptions.

Greg Webb November 15, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Socialists don’t like to deviate from approved propaganda. It confuses them and takes longer to learn, thus causing them to miss indoctrination meetings.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 15, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Wait until she takes an intro to Physics class:

Their specific criticisms are that physics taught in this class, formally called Physics 10, failed to prevent friction and does nothing to narrow the gap between earth and the sun.

Ubiquitous November 15, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Good point. “The physics taught in Physics10 fails to prevent plane crashes.”

g-dub November 16, 2011 at 12:57 am

so damn funny.

g-dub November 16, 2011 at 1:25 am

The pertinant quote, btw, was:

Harvard graduates play major roles in the financial institutions and in shaping public policy around the world. 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.

http://hpronline.org/harvard/an-open-letter-to-greg-mankiw/

Ubiquitous November 16, 2011 at 3:05 am

Cool!

And by the phrase “a broad and critical understanding of economics” — coming, as it does, from undergrads who haven’t even taken an intro course on the subject and know (to be generous about it) zippo — is meant what, precisely?

Marxism?

Do you believe that a thoroughly debunked economic theory like Marxism — not to mention its spectacular failures when put into practice around the world during the 20th century — would give Harvard graduates a broad and critical understanding of economics?

g-dub November 16, 2011 at 10:40 am

Yes — the letter is incoherent while pretentious. They seemed to have learned classic “progressivism” quite well.

Dan Phillips November 16, 2011 at 8:59 am

My goodness, will you people listen to yourselves? Harvard students aren’t any different from any other students. Maybe they’re a little brighter than the average, but they’re just kids like those that go to State U. You are painting with too broad a brush. Sure there are unthinking “leftist” students at Harvard. But most of them are devoted to their subject of choice (physics, anthropology, chemistry, etc.) and they have no time or interest in politics. Most of the Harvard kids I knew would be hard-pressed to tell you who is the Secretary of Defense. Lighten up with the hatred, OK?

Ubiquitous November 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm

My goodness, will you people listen to yourselves? Harvard students aren’t any different from any other students.

Well, I know that, and you know that, but the question is, do they know that?

htims mada November 16, 2011 at 12:03 am

How come when the means of war are owned, operated and purchased by
the US. government it is not called socialized national defense compared
to the operation of medical services operated under federal guidelines
but not owned and/ or directly operated by the government — socialized
medicine ? Both are endeavors aimed at protecting citizens from risk
of death or debilitation. The percentage of citizens in American history
who have been directly threatened by foreign enemies for any significant
duration of time is small. All citizens are at risk of disease or illness at
some time , often long periods of their lives continuously.
Why is the attempt to protect or prevent the relatively low risk…for most
periods in American history for most people which is owned and controlled
by the state not considered a form of socialism utilized for the common
good to reduce risk for citizens. While attempts to utilize health care
to protect citizens from the much greater and persistent risk of disease
but less centrally controlled by the state, most of whoms’ practitioners are
not employees of the state, within facilities and equipment that is privately
owned for profit, whose financing is oversee by corporate for profit entities- insurance companies not controlled by the state consider ” socialized medicine “

Greg Webb November 16, 2011 at 12:16 am

Because national governments are created to protect citizens from attank by other countries. Citizens have to protect themselves from disease by washing their hands, not eating under cooked or spoiled food, batheing regularly, eating right, exercising regularly, etc. Goverent is busy defending the country. Why are you so selfish that you won’t take good care of yourself?

muirgeo November 16, 2011 at 12:58 am

Nice post htims.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 16, 2011 at 8:40 am

Yeah muibot has spun off a new identity.

Captain Profit November 16, 2011 at 2:28 am

And for gosh sakes, why doesn’t my car insurance cover oil changes? Seriously…

robert_o November 16, 2011 at 2:49 am

I don’t get it. The US military is socialized (with the occasional subcontracting). It has all the same problems as any other socialized sector.

vikingvista November 16, 2011 at 6:04 am

Exactly right. It necessarily contains all the same perverse incentives and inefficiencies. Many of the same people who correctly assess nationalization of any other industry to be the worst way of providing those goods and services, adamantly proclaim just the opposite to be the case for military services. And they do so by ignoring those reasons that make nationalization an impractical choice for all industries. It is a powerful bias that keeps libertarians from applying universal economic principles universally.

And it is an easily exploitable inconsistency, as we see here, for those wishing to expand the statist exception in the mind of a libertarian.

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 4:35 pm

I don’t get it.

We don’t call it socialism. Brilliant insight. What? You don’t think so?

Russell Nelson November 19, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I love it! It’s not socialism because we don’t call it socialism. Let’s not call government schooling “socialist schooling”, then.

Dan J November 16, 2011 at 7:36 am

There should be a mandate on purchasing of an automobile. Everyone will travel in one way or another and there are millions of people in poverty who do not have access to a car or even public transportation, so to cover the costs, and lower the overall prices of vehicles, mandate the purchase of a vehicle.

GAAPrulesIFRSdrools November 16, 2011 at 8:42 am

Cliche Ridden Unwarranted Drivel.

muirgeo November 16, 2011 at 12:56 am

From the NPR interview;

INSKEEP: So you say that it’s definitely risen, but is it a matter of concern, and is it something that the government has made worse?

MANKIW: Well, I don’t think it’s primarily being driven by government policy. I think it’s primarily been driven by a variety of forces in the economy including, for example, technology. But the question of whether it’s something the government should worry about is an issue of political philosophy, as well as economics. And that’s one of the things I talked about yesterday is that there’s different perspectives on this.

For Mankiw to claim the change in income inequality isn’t policy driven is reason enough for the student to walk away from his pulpit. How ridiculous.

http://www.npr.org/2011/11/03/141969009/economics-class-protests-perceived-bias

LowcountryJoe November 16, 2011 at 2:13 am

For Mankiw to claim the change in income inequality isn’t policy driven is reason enough for the student to walk away from his pulpit. How ridiculous.

Can you even explain what you meant by this? Whose policies? What was the supposed desired effect of them?

Muirgeo, I’m pretty sure that you’re a champion of transparency; so, do you let the parents of your patients know anything about your on-line behaviors, interests, discussions, ideological leanings and subsequent failings of/from them?

muirgeo November 16, 2011 at 2:32 am

LCJ,

Honest answer Joe. Do you really really believe the changes seen in the linked graph have nothing to due with policy?

http://aidsoversixty.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/1920-share.png

LowcountryJoe November 16, 2011 at 5:51 am

I wouldn’t be able to say “nothing” because all policy has some affect. Now, answer my questions, please; I did ask first and it would help to know all your answers before I could really dive further and give you a more thorough answer that you seek…note, though, I did answer your question.

Darren November 16, 2011 at 1:19 pm

From the quote you provided, Mankiw did not say it had nothing to do with policy. He said is is not *primarily* do to government policy. You are distorting his words.

Dan J November 16, 2011 at 2:24 am

I agree that there is an instituted unfairness in income distribution. Ever more lazy, unproductive people are getting paid by GOVT to be lazy and unproductive. It’s unfair that I have to earn my living while others get to leech off of the 53% who work and pay.

Richard Stands November 16, 2011 at 1:09 am

Amazing how many ways exist to define Economically Bankrupt.

She seems like a smart, driven kid who had some very rough breaks and attained her goals anyway. Along the way, she apparently bought into some simplistic zero-sum thought and the same hard-headedness that fueled her progress also fueled youthful arrogance that she was smarter than the people others were paying to teach her.

Yep. I see some irony there.

mark November 16, 2011 at 1:14 am

not what you’d expect from someone at harvard.

Adam Smith November 16, 2011 at 5:11 am

What’s also not from the Onion is a bunch of freeloading jerks. Ones that never defend the Kochs and put into perspective that they are only the 85th largest political donor, hardly able to bribe Americans into common sense and normal fatherly protection of their fragile society.
The Onion misfits make you laugh, they never write sappy love notes to Dan Klein while Naomi Klein eats their lunches and leaves American children a future of internet porn and an electrical grid powered by false promises and human-sized hamster wheels.
America uses 20 million barrels of oil a day. Seems there’s 17000 million barrels of economically recoverable Alberta tar sand oil to be refined. Why not pitch in and put and put an Atlas shoulder into the burden of getting all that oil to Koch’s Minnesota refineries.
Be forthright about the .028 million and .001 million barrel northern Alberta pipeline spills and the scope of the damage they caused.
Why be a bunch of critics about Nero’s fiddling skills? Long after Nero died, Rome lived onward until the 15th Century by relocating to Constantinople and reinventing herself.

Russell Nelson November 19, 2011 at 10:36 pm

tl;dr: Sarcastic sarcasm is sarcastic.

Randy November 16, 2011 at 8:58 am

Ms. Bradley: ” …a class like this that promotes gaining at the expense of millions of people…”

Actually, it is the political science classes that she should be walking out of. Economics promotes a system of trading value for value. It is political “science” that promotes the systematic exploitation of millions of people.

Don Boudreaux November 16, 2011 at 9:02 am

Yep.

g-dub November 16, 2011 at 11:02 am

I’m sure she could articulate exactly what Mankiw taught that said any such thing.

It is total fabrication. This is the pathology of “progressivism.” It is like brain damage/malfunction. One can lie without being concious of doing so. The structural nature (mechanics) of “progressive” ideology is that the host will produce lies without even knowing it. It’s Borg.

Gary Anderson November 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm

On the contrary. The housing bubble was a deliberate attempt to offer easy money loans in such quantities that the easy money distorted the prices of the houses. This was a Wall Street churn, just like when speculators churn oil contracts and you pay more than a dollar per gallon in gas than you would if speculation were banned. Same principle in housing only Wall Street let main street do the churning, like puppets on a string.

Dan J November 16, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Oh, And GOVT setting the stage by putting Fannie and Freddie up as GSE’s to bear brunt of high risk loans played no part?

Rodger Morrow November 16, 2011 at 10:26 am

One of my favorite Joseph Schumpeter anecdotes (there are many; he was quite a colorful character in his time at Harvard) concerns a seminar organized by his students in 1939 to discuss his newly-published opus, Business Cycles.. During the seminar, it quickly became evident that nobody had actually read the text in question. One of the students later recalled that in the discussion everyone talked about Keynes, whose General Theory had been published a few years earlier (with students lining up for copies at the Harvard bookstore as if they were queuing for the latest Apple gadget), and not about Schumpeter’s work. Afterwards, several students said that they had never before seen Schumpeter so angry. At the end of the session, he said to them: “Whether you agree or disagree is up to you, but I wish you would have at least read it.‟

It would seem that the level of student debate at Harvard hasn’t risen much in 72 years.

Darren November 16, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I’d think an introductory course in Economics would essentially cover things which pretty much no economist really disagrees with. I suspect it’s more a matter of students entering with a preconception of how things *should* work and that worldview being confronted with the general concensus (even by the Krugman of the 1990′s) on how things *do* work. I’d also think the more controversial elements would not be covered in any kind of detail until higher level courses. I wasn’t all that interested in Econ 101 (an elective) at the time though.

Ryan Vann November 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm

It’s EC 101; how controversial can it be? Opportunity cost is inherently classist, I do declare! Marginal costs. Marginal, now that isn’t very conscientious of costs’ feelings is it?

PrometheeFeu November 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm

The comments under the NPR story are scary in their ignorance. Basically, they are slamming Mankiw as a “right-wing extremist”. For heaven’s sake, the man just believes that monetary stimulus can work against the zero-bound. How is that right-wing extremism?

Methinks1776 November 16, 2011 at 2:47 pm

He worked for Boooooosh! What more do you need to know?

(he also worked for Obama. Whatevs).

Jon Murphy November 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm

And Deval Patrick

Josh S November 16, 2011 at 10:33 pm

He’s not a Marxist. These kids learn undistilled Marx in their other classes, so when they hear something that isn’t that, they identify it as an ideological mask of the petit bourgeoisie.

Either that, or she’s a freshman who doesn’t know anything about anything.

Greg Webb November 16, 2011 at 10:38 pm

she’s a freshman who doesn’t know anything about anything

Bingo!

Westie December 5, 2011 at 11:32 am

She’s actually just another Poverty Pimp, her entire education has been furnished ‘free’ by the wealthy or on the back of taxpayers. She’s the perfect Harvard student as in the Barack & Michele mode. If Mankiw had any guts he would flunk her and the other boycotter’s just for their astounding ignorance.

g-dub November 17, 2011 at 11:48 am

These kids learn undistilled Marx in their other classes,…

I suspect it is undistilled and yet not identified as such. I say that because most people who parrot the markers of the ideology have no idea of the origins; that is, why the markers would be construed by me as such.

Ryan Vann November 16, 2011 at 3:22 pm

“btw, I am not trying to be mean. I read DK’s posts, because they are often worth reading. Some are just “wth?””

The guy strikes me as an idiot savant at times.

Nuke Nemesis November 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Many of our children have been subjected to up to 12 years of “The People’s History” version of history. Having been taught that virtually no one achieves wealth except through greed and exploitation of minorities, the poor, and/or the ignorant, how else do we expect Shlaes to react?

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