What does neoclassical bullying look like? Here are the blow-by-blow ugly details!

In the middle of my reappointment review period in October 2016, I was approached by a higher ranked “colleague” in the Dept of Economics at the University of Vermont while walking with a student to proctor a make-up exam. Instead of a supportive “good luck with your reappointment and promotion,” however, I was greeted with a verbal assault that included insults about my teaching against the standard trade model known as Heckscher–Ohlin. After indicating to this member of the Dept of Economics faculty that I do critique it and its many assumptions, just following my heterodox textbook and over 20 years of experience with trade theory (teaching and research), to my surprise he blurted out “I believe in that model and think it is great,” adding that “this is making my job impossible, trying to teach the model”.

It seems, however, that what particularly incensed him was my presentation in class of an alternative theory of competition, based the work of Anwar Shaikh (a theory of real capitalist competition, rooted in classical political economy). This was ridiculed in complete ignorance of the theory. It was all documented by me (and corroborated in writing by the student witness), and then sent to the Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences as a complaint. As my discovery of emails from the Chair of the Department of Economics has revealed, meanwhile, this was not an isolated sentiment. The emails discovered in my public records requests reveal appalling evidence of similar feelings (including efforts to suppress evidence of my effective teaching), yet no action was taken against the individual cited above or any other individuals. Instead, I was removed from the Dept of Economics by the Dean in what I am calling an academic purge.

See what a neoclassical bully looks like when you cross him with a challenging alternative model of competition and trade. Have a look for yourself: JFS note to DeanFalls(typocorrected)-signed

If you are as disgusted with this kind of behavior as hundreds of others are, please sign this petition demanding my reappointment. -JS