Home > students, teaching > “Fear the Economics Textbook (Story of the Next Crook)”

“Fear the Economics Textbook (Story of the Next Crook)”

from Steve Ziliak

I believe that you and readers of Real World Economics Blog would like to know about an “economics rap battle” that is challenging more than orthodox economics.

Here is some discussion at Inside Higher Ed, together with the opposing videos:

Lyrics for my and my students at Roosevelt University in Chicago’ “Fear the Economics Textbook (Story of the Next Crook)” video are here:

The reply from the National Review is amusing but predictable:

In solidarity,  Steve

  1. May 13, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    “Systems were made for men, and not men for systems, and the interest of man which is self-development, is above all systems, whether theological, political or economic.” C. H. Douglas

    That expresses the necessary ethical viewpoint of human systems quite well, and exposes the mereness and small mindedness of Austrian/Libertarian economics. There’s is the anti-Wisdom, non-integrative stance par excellance.

  2. Garrett Connelly
    May 14, 2015 at 1:28 am

    Yes ! Ah hum doo dee wah dah ! Only in a fantasy world we can analyze a real society living well in balance with Earth. And the realist’s world of infinite expansion on one planet introduces the fantasy economy Hayek describes so well.

  3. Ken Zimmerman
    May 14, 2015 at 6:16 am

    The videos are great. But I fear most economists I know will consider them irrelevant, if not the work of the devil (socialists). But the real treat is the reply from “National Review.” In talking about social justice, National Review says, “Here’s the problem: economics (no matter
    what school) is not about philosophy, which is the field where justice (even that chimera
    “social” justice) belongs. Economics, as Ludwig von Mises often said, is value free.
    Economists don’t (at least shouldn’t) declare what is good or bad, right or wrong, just or
    unjust. They should explain how various policies will affect human conduct. For
    instance, economics does not say whether minimum wage laws are good or bad, but only
    that if you enact such laws, you must expect certain consequences.’ Two absurd statements in just three sentences. One, humans are not ever “value free,” and economists have consistently failed to accurately predict “how various policies will effect human conduct.” But the other social sciences have failed as well.

    • John McDonald
      May 15, 2015 at 3:21 am

      Well said Ken, especially, “humans are not ever “value free,”

      I have not read von Mises, but very early in my teaching career I once (and only once) used Paul Heyne’s “The Economic Way of Thinking.” I found his conservative Austrian, supposedly ‘value free’ theory (which is actually individualist ethical subjectivism) so maddening and yet so surreptitiously employed throughout the book that I unfortunately made the course very difficult for my students. I was so often criticizing and disagreeing with Heyne that my poor students didn’t know when to believe the text. It would have been a good learning experience for an upper level course, but not Principles.

  4. May 14, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    The position of National Review is economists should be robots, machines, without conception of evolution or building a better world for future generations.

  5. Macrocompassion
    May 14, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    In op[position to these lyrics: The “broken window” philosophy and the associated claims of how it helps the macro-economy are completely wrong as pointed out by Henry Hazlitt in 1946 “Economics in One lesson”–a small book with a big message that we need to look at the whole shebang not Keynes + the later neo deliberate small view.
    My more recent derivation of these ideas is in “Consequential Macroeconomics–Rationalizing About How Our Social System Works”. This will blow the minds of any of these old timers, whose ideas are misplaced–that is if they have doubts and are open to considering the BIG PICTURE.

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