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Friday, November 17, 2006

The religion of economics

Posted By on 11.17.06 at 03:15 PM

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Is Hyde Park the most influential neighborhood in America? Christopher Hayes writes in the Chicago-based leftist monthly In These Times that he audited Allen Sanderson's Econ 101 at the University of Chicago to learn how neoclassical economics is packaged and sold to smart undergraduates as something you can't disagree with, only fail to understand.  The process ran pretty smoothly until the last few class sessions:

"Sanderson argues that liberalized trade creates more jobs than it destroys.  'Free trade creates winners and it also creates losers.  It turns out that winners are quantitatively larger than the losers.'  A student asks, flat out, 'Why are we to believe that?'  Sanderson restates his point, but the student holds his ground, saying he's read that there simply doesn't exist an accurate measure to figure out how many jobs are being created and destroyed.  Sanderson concedes that this is true, but insists that it 'must' be a net positive."

Read the whole thing (PDF) and consider subscribing.  Lots of discussion at Economist's View.

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