The core curriculum in the UVM economics department is particularly disengenuous because some of its own faculty don’t believe any of it. I know at least three UVM economists who think it is pure garbage but don’t tell students they think this way. In fact, one revealed to me that if assigned to teach it, this professor will not teach it.
It is an exercise in sophistry and ideological indoctrination to keep feeding students well-known dead-end ideas, for which they pay mucho dinero for and probably go into debt to do. In this vein, the website Renegade, Inc. lays out the problem in interviews with Professor Steve Keen of Australia, and author and economist Dr Steven Payson. Below is an extract from the the discussion:
Entrenching the status quo
Is this what some would consider as brainwashing, or inculcation? Is it the education system? Is what we’re saying here that the academic professors continuing to peddle this stuff are ultimately responsible for the fact that younger economists are going into the world and not being able to read it in a real world way?
“Well you have people who become experts on very esoteric advanced models,” Dr Payson says.
“Looking at particular deviations in certain financial variables and how super niche they can be. Then they are doing research that a lot of the time is to please 20, maybe, 30 people in the world who truly understand and are developing the same models.”
Things like game theory is another example.
“Game theory becomes evolutionary game theory and that’s not a little branch,” Professor Keen says. “Then you have their pathetic attempt at what they call ‘dynamics’, using what they call ‘overlapping generations models’, where the world starts in period zero, they have two cohorts doing something in period zero. Period one is where a change occurs and period two – and literally this is quoting one of them once at a conference – peaking at period two, the world ends. That’s that’s the clumsy approach they take to dynamics. Any decent mathematician would be using different nonlinear differential equations to deal with what they’re talking about.”
So why are we getting caught in these fanciful niches? That comes back to the reinforcement system Dr Payson’s book focuses upon.
“What’s happening is that economics professors are doing what’s best to promote their careers, and the incentive system that exists in their careers based on this sort of publication element, and impressing their particular peers, in their particular little subfield,” Dr Payson says. “That’s what their incentives are, that’s how they get promoted, that’s how they get more money, that’s how they get more attention and more grants which the universities then like as well. And they’re out of touch in terms of responsibility to society.