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The Strategic Incompetence of Democrats

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  • devCharlesdevCharles Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Econ profs are Democrats.

    Any idea on the percentage?

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  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Correlation!=direct linear relationship.

    Captain Carrot on
  • devCharlesdevCharles Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Correlation!=direct linear relationship.

    What's your point exactly? That if you take economic classes to infinity, you won't become the furthest right winger imaginable?

    I don't think anyone is saying that.

    This report says that taking economics classes is strongly associated with party leanings. In this instance, it says that it is associated with a lean to the right.

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  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I have read previously that as the number of econ classes taken increases, Republicanism similarly increases, and then decreases sharply. Obviously this report does not agree, but that's what I'm trying to say in a somewhat fumble-fingered way.

    Captain Carrot on
  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    devCharles wrote: »
    Econ profs are Democrats.

    Any idea on the percentage?

    If I remember right it's something like 54-20 D-R with the rest unaffiliated.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
  • devCharlesdevCharles Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    This report would say that a large amount of unaffiliated people who study economics makes sense. The modern paradigm has roots in Keynesian macroeconomics, so I don't doubt that there is a lean Democratic, and professors in general tend to lean Democratic. I'm just curious as to the numbers.

    I just spent like 5 minutes trying to find numbers, which is like 2 hours in non internet time, so I give up.

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  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Here's one poll. A little less Democratic than I remembered.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    devCharles wrote: »
    Correlation!=direct linear relationship.

    What's your point exactly? That if you take economic classes to infinity, you won't become the furthest right winger imaginable?

    I don't think anyone is saying that.

    This report says that taking economics classes is strongly associated with party leanings. In this instance, it says that it is associated with a lean to the right.

    It's the Econ 101 problem.

    A little knowledge of economics is very dangerous. That's how you end up with Republicans.

    shryke on
  • devCharlesdevCharles Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    The study covered economic classes through the undergraduate system, so it wasn't just people taking Micro and Macro and that's it. I would guess that taking both of those classes is still probably more than most Americans though.

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  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited September 2010
    Goumindong wrote: »
    No, I'm saying that the population have attitudes which move independent of what political parties would like them to do. Those principles and policy which you talk of fundamentally reflect the attitudes of the general population as much (mostly more) than they 'lead' them. The two are responsive to the other. It is not simply a case of a party setting out their principles, then taking anyone who is willing to sign up to them.

    It cannot both be true that people give different responses to the same question AND also be true that political attitudes are independent of the way the question of an election is asked.

    Your defense against the polls requires that your entire argument fail at the first step.

    Sorry, but why can't it be true? There is no obvious rational conflict there that I can see. What people believe isn't necessarily framed by the principles and policies of political parties. And people have many reasons, both conscious and unconscious, for giving different answers to questions which have no direct consequences. Those things can and do overlap, most obviously in people who don't vote at all.

    The only way I can possibly see that you are having trouble with this is if you translate what I said as: people give different answers at the ballot box. Except that isn't remotely what I said - I was pretty clear that a) people respond in different ways to questions which don't have a decision linked to them; but that b) when they have to make a single choice which has consequences, they do so. My point was that a) and b) often aren't the same answer.

    Really, you are going to have to explain yourself a bit better instead of just insisting you are right, else it starts to look like smoke and mirrors.
    In essence, my point can be summed up as: If the Democratic party is losing voters, it should ask those who haven't voted for them what is wrong, rather than those who have

    Except that, again, you fail to understand the assumptions in what you have said. You did not say "The democrats should ask those who didn't vote for them" you said "the democrats should ask those who voted for the other guy"

    No, again I think you are writing in assumptions I never intended. I said it quite clearly: ask those who haven't voted for them. You said "ask those who voted for the other guy". Please stop putting words in my mouth quite so blatently.
    I never even came close to saying that, it was your imposition, so...no.

    Actually you have said it many many times. Its just so ingrained in your thinking that you cannot even realize that you have said it.

    No, I really haven't. Every post you have made has either been trying to impose your belief that this is all due to some media narrative, rather than addressing what I was saying. You also have a nasty tendency to rewrite what I actually said to suit your belief (as above). Either stop it and respond to what I'm saying instead of what you would like me to be saying, or go away.

    I'm fairly sure that the one trying to link this all to an ingrained thought pattern - that it's all a media narrative - is you.
    Fartacus wrote:
    The Democratic Party pretty much is full of people like Alt right now, who are chasing that mythical middle. Meanwhile, the Republican party doesn't seem much interested in what policies or values people actually espouse; they're interested in changing those values. They're interested in telling people what they want.

    It's a two stage strategy: campaign in the centre, govern on the right / left.

    If you campaign from the left, then govern on the left, you will be blocked by the Republicans - as is happening at the moment - and you will be ineffective. If you campaign from the left, then govern in the centre, you will disappoint your base and find it more difficult to get them out for the next campaign. Campaigning from the centre and governing from the centre is the most honest and probably most effective way of governing (again, Blair, Clinton...). However, if you must give wind to the ideological side of your party, campaigning in the centre, but governing from the left is pretty much the only way to do it. You get the mandate, then when possible in government, you take policies from the left / right when possible. The last bit is key: fight the battles you can win.

    The point being that you really change the debate by action, not words. Obama is having problems precisely because his actions aren't yet living up to the heady rhetoric of the campaign - this is inevitable 2 years in, because government moves slower than that, but such is life. But sooner or later lack of action will bite you in the arse, and is the de facto limitation on how much you can change political attitudes simply through words. E.G. Few people outside his followers would have listened to MLK if those followers hadn't numbered hundreds of thousands turning up to hear him speak. When you can feed those actions & their results back into the next campaign (and importantly, people like them, i.e. you look competent) that's when you really start to drive the debate and win securely.

    The relevance to the current situation is: go more left, and you play to the Republicans - you will get blocked. You will still annoy the Democratic base who are despondant now, because there will be no action, even if it isn't really your fault. At the same time you don't increase your electorate to anybody new, so you are simply losing voters. If you stay in the centre you appease the large numbers across the spectrum who voted for Obama in the first place. You then have the opportunity on some issues, where you can win the battle, to bring in some policies from the left, because you are no longer a government under siege.

    Altalicious on
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Sorry, but why can't it be true?

    Because people cannot be both independent and dependent at the same time. This is not exactly complicated. Either peoples brains work in one way or they work in another way. Its impossible for you to be able to manipulate how people in general answer a question while at the same time not be able to manipulate how people in general answer a question!

    That this does not register with you boggles my mind.
    I was pretty clear that a) people respond in different ways to questions which don't have a decision linked to them; but that b) when they have to make a single choice which has consequences, they do so. My point was that a) and b) often aren't the same answer.
    And my point was that when A and B aren't the same answer then you can manipulate both A and B. For to be able to manipulate A you must be able to manipulate B. If you cannot manipulate B then you cannot manipulate A.

    You are claiming, literally, that people are systematically irrational in how they answer poll questions, easily led astray by the way in which questions are asked. But then, suddenly, when they get into the ballot box they become perfectly rational preference machines devoid of outside influence?

    Its preposterous.
    No, again I think you are writing in assumptions I never intended. I said it quite clearly: ask those who haven't voted for them. You said "ask those who voted for the other guy". Please stop putting words in my mouth quite so blatently.

    Alt, you do not understand the consequences of your supposed actions. You claim both "Democrats should pander to the 'middle' and Democrats should ask those who didn't vote for them". You then define the middle as "further to the right of Democrats".

    Newsflash, but the people who are further to the right of Democrats voted Republican and are likely going to continue to do so.

    No, I really haven't.
    Really? You haven't said that the political winds that we see by way of the media are true and indicative of the real values and ideas on policy of the American people? You haven't...
    No, I'm saying that the population have attitudes which move independent of what political parties would like them to do. Those principles and policy which you talk of fundamentally reflect the attitudes of the general population as much (mostly more) than they 'lead' them. The two are responsive to the other. It is not simply a case of a party setting out their principles, then taking anyone who is willing to sign up to them.
    The same applies to the Republicans (see: Tea Party). They don't have a stranglehold on national discourse, they are over-represented in the Democratic discourse, which negatively affects the Democrats national prospects.

    My point is exactly what you say: politicians are afraid of being tarred with a "left-wing" label, and when they are, they lose. I just disagree that this is because it is an unpopular label, but that it is because left-wing ideas are less popular than Democrats - particularly the Democratic left-wing - would like to believe.
    Coincidentally, "what the population actually says" as defined by me, is also the only way in which either party gets into government, so a smart man might pay some attention to it. This might also be why the Democratic strategists this thread has been slagging off are Democratic strategists, and you are people on an internet forum.

    Do you even read what you write? Or is this just so ingrained in you that you don't realize you're saying it?
    If you campaign from the left, then govern on the left, you will be blocked by the Republicans - as is happening at the moment - and you will be ineffective

    1) Really? Really? The Republicans are blocking because the democrats are governing from the left? Are you nuts?

    2) Can you tell me, without google or wiki, what the overton window is and why the concept is applicable to this conversation?

    Goumindong on
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  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Double post to separate out Econ talk.
    devCharles wrote: »
    The study covered economic classes through the undergraduate system, so it wasn't just people taking Micro and Macro and that's it. I would guess that taking both of those classes is still probably more than most Americans though.

    Undergraduate econ kinda does one of two things

    1 ) Simple orthodox method with little to no theory. Purpose: To build business decision makers and create a framework for more complex mathematical analysis.

    2 ) Simple theoretical foundation with little to no method. Purpose: To build critical thinkers in the economic tradition.

    Its not until you really start discussing the theoretical foundations in combination with empyrical analysis and historical case studies that the complexities start to weed out the more explicitly Republican ideas as espoused by the current party.

    It has also been my experience that, for some reason, the theoretical foundation type teaching tends to favor the Austrians. This is probably because its more difficult to examine the new synthesis without getting into statistical and other mathematical tools.

    For instance, the other day, i had someone tell me that there was no evidence for Keynesianism working that it couldn't work because says law held (Keynes does not require Says law to be false in its broader implications, only in that production can be limited by aggregate demand*) which just plain baffled me because you can literally go and pull up the data at the St Louis Fed and see the relationships between govt spending and short run GDP pretty much any time you want so long as you're equipped with some basic statistical tools and knowledge. At least the RBC folks attempt to explain that (by way of saying that govt spending can create shocks in employment due to expected future taxes).

    Goumindong on
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  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Double post to separate out Econ talk.
    devCharles wrote: »
    The study covered economic classes through the undergraduate system, so it wasn't just people taking Micro and Macro and that's it. I would guess that taking both of those classes is still probably more than most Americans though.

    Undergraduate econ kinda does one of two things

    1 ) Simple orthodox method with little to no theory. Purpose: To build business decision makers and create a framework for more complex mathematical analysis.

    2 ) Simple theoretical foundation with little to no method. Purpose: To build critical thinkers in the economic tradition.

    Its not until you really start discussing the theoretical foundations in combination with empyrical analysis and historical case studies that the complexities start to weed out the more explicitly Republican ideas as espoused by the current party.

    It has also been my experience that, for some reason, the theoretical foundation type teaching tends to favor the Austrians. This is probably because its more difficult to examine the new synthesis without getting into statistical and other mathematical tools.

    For instance, the other day, i had someone tell me that there was no evidence for Keynesianism working that it couldn't work because says law held (Keynes does not require Says law to be false in its broader implications, only in that production can be limited by aggregate demand*) which just plain baffled me because you can literally go and pull up the data at the St Louis Fed and see the relationships between govt spending and short run GDP pretty much any time you want so long as you're equipped with some basic statistical tools and knowledge. At least the RBC folks attempt to explain that (by way of saying that govt spending can create shocks in employment due to expected future taxes).

    :lol: You explained it way better then what I was in the middle of typing.

    I've also found undergraduate econ to be ripe with undisclosed normative assumptions. Most of them, for some reason, being Austrian or at the least "Free Market" style.

    Basically, shit like "Now let's use an example to show why the Minimum Wage is terrible" without any other comments on the larger implications of it.

    shryke on
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    devCharles wrote: »
    Econ profs are Democrats.

    Any idea on the percentage?

    About two-thirds.

    As shryke noted, it's the EC101 problem - it takes a while for the interesting market failures and successes to show up, and even longer for plausible policy suggestions to appear. In the meanwhile, students walk away with a half-baked idea of how the economy works.

    The extent of the undisclosed assumptions built into undergraduate courses varies by instructor ideology - since economic pedagogy tends to proceed by "here's a market success, here's how it can fail, here's how the market can circumvent that failure, here's how that circumvention can fail" in order of increasing complexity, courses can predispose any political orientation by simply choosing where to stop. If you halt at, say, externalities as market failure, the natural conclusion is state intervention. If you never mention externalities at all, or mention externalities and then Coasean bargaining, the conclusion is no state intervention. And externalities and Coasean bargaining and transaction costs and distributional issues, the conclusion is state intervention again...

    Textbooks hence have an enormous amount of influence; Mankiw's textbook is the bestseller and so lots of courses predispose one toward a right-wing New Keynesian outlook. Because that's what Mankiw's outlook is, too.

    ronya on
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  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Fartacus wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    I'm not sure presidential success as perceived is determined by adoption of moderate or left-wing positions as much as creating low unemployment and economic growth. Altalicious noted the downturns and upturns but seems to have dismissed it in favor of invoking a myriad of epicyclic factors.

    Certainly that goes a long way in explaining things, but on the other hand you do have 36 years of progressive rule from 1932-1968 (Eisenhower essentially functioning as the Clinton of the Republican party -- while in name of the opposition party, progressive policy and ideology continued to prevail under his tenure), and then 40 years of conservative rule from 1968-2008 (Carter being a miserable failure who barely squeaked out a win within the margin of error thanks to Watergate, and Clinton being someone who did nothing to actually reverse the political culture of the time, and essentially functioned as a technocrat who executed the political mandates of his predecessors).

    Economic cycles exist within each of these periods, but they exhibit stark and distinct political cultures. There seems to be a political cycle as well as an economic one, and the political one is a fair bit longer, so I do think it takes more than unemployment to explain the political direction of the nation.

    Nixon froze wages and prices; I think you'll have to concede the non-conservative element of it, at least in terms of economic policy. On the other hand, if you classify conservative here as appealing to the conservative South, then Nixon's campaign certainly qualifies, but then Clinton doesn't. Carter began deregulation so that marks the ideological shift, I suppose (we can ignore Ford, I think).

    There is a shift across the entire Western world toward vaguely the left after the Depression and then vaguely the right after the oil crisis; the shift to and fro doesn't seem unique to the US. That these were stark and distinct policy environments is true, but they still seem creatures of their economic conditions.

    ronya on
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  • AltaliciousAltalicious Registered User
    edited September 2010
    Goumindong wrote: »
    Sorry, but why can't it be true?

    Because people cannot be both independent and dependent at the same time. This is not exactly complicated. Either peoples brains work in one way or they work in another way. Its impossible for you to be able to manipulate how people in general answer a question while at the same time not be able to manipulate how people in general answer a question!

    That this does not register with you boggles my mind.

    Once again I have nfc what you are talking about. I didn't say that anyone manipulates people to answer questions a specific way. I said that the situation in which a question is asked (whether there is an immediate consequence; who asks it; when they ask it; etc) often modifies what the answer is. Ergo, people give different answers to the same question. My point about polls was that the only answer that really matters is the one they put in a box on voting day.

    What that has to do with you talking about manipulating peoples' answers...I have no idea. Clear your mind. Read what I actually said. Try to think about it without simply trying to give the answer you have already prepared. Then reply.

    (PS add "misunderstanding the question" to that list of what affects answers above)
    You are claiming, literally, that people are systematically irrational in how they answer poll questions, easily led astray by the way in which questions are asked. But then, suddenly, when they get into the ballot box they become perfectly rational preference machines devoid of outside influence?

    Now you are getting it. But not "are", instead "can be". I'm also claiming that people can be systematically irrational in how they vote at the ballot box too. Given that many people vote on single issues which their representative has no influence over, or issues which don't even affect the job the politician does, this shouldn't be too much of a stretch?

    It's hardly rational behaviour, but there is a system to why they do it. Systematically irrational.
    Alt, you do not understand the consequences of your supposed actions. You claim both "Democrats should pander to the 'middle' and Democrats should ask those who didn't vote for them". You then define the middle as "further to the right of Democrats".

    Newsflash, but the people who are further to the right of Democrats voted Republican and are likely going to continue to do so.

    Newsflash: plenty of people either don't vote, vote for 3rd parties, or are 'independent' voters. They would fall inbetween your neat lines of voting for only Democrats or Republicans. Elections where a 'centrist' vote is successfully deployed are notable for having a higher turnout than others.

    No offense, but for someone crowing about intelligence, reading and not understanding the logic of arguments, saying that the only possible voters are those who previously voted either Democrat or Republican is laughably stupid. And please don't say they are a meaningless minority. Your electoral turnout averages between 60-70%. High turnout and swings of independent or 3rd party voters have previously, and will again, decide elections.
    No, I really haven't.
    Really? You haven't said that the political winds that we see by way of the media are true and indicative of the real values and ideas on policy of the American people? You haven't...

    If I have, please quote where I did so? If you can't, please retract your inventions.
    No, I'm saying that the population have attitudes which move independent of what political parties would like them to do. Those principles and policy which you talk of fundamentally reflect the attitudes of the general population as much (mostly more) than they 'lead' them. The two are responsive to the other. It is not simply a case of a party setting out their principles, then taking anyone who is willing to sign up to them.
    The same applies to the Republicans (see: Tea Party). They don't have a stranglehold on national discourse, they are over-represented in the Democratic discourse, which negatively affects the Democrats national prospects.

    My point is exactly what you say: politicians are afraid of being tarred with a "left-wing" label, and when they are, they lose. I just disagree that this is because it is an unpopular label, but that it is because left-wing ideas are less popular than Democrats - particularly the Democratic left-wing - would like to believe.
    Coincidentally, "what the population actually says" as defined by me, is also the only way in which either party gets into government, so a smart man might pay some attention to it. This might also be why the Democratic strategists this thread has been slagging off are Democratic strategists, and you are people on an internet forum.

    Do you even read what you write? Or is this just so ingrained in you that you don't realize you're saying it?

    Again, there are clearly some gears grinding in your fevered imagination that make those statements completely incompatible, but since so far everything you have said seems to be based on misreading what I've said, and you resolutely fail to actually make an argument in your own words, then I'm not really bothered what that is.

    If at some juncture you decide to actually write down your thoughts instead of simply quoting back mine, I'd be happy to respond. (EDIT: Actually fuck it, I'm bored)

    PS
    Goumindong wrote: »
    2) Can you tell me, without google or wiki, what the overton window is and why the concept is applicable to this conversation?

    No. Can you tell me, without google or wiki, what the Library of Babel is and why it is applicable to this conversation? Well I guess we're both bad people then. People having a discussion in good faith make their argument, explain the parts of it of which the other side may be unaware, then listen to the response. They do not claim immediate superiority, quote back the other person only adding "Are you kidding?!", and introduce oblique references saying "do you know what that is?". Guess which one you are.

    I've lost interest - bye!

    Altalicious on
  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I said that the situation in which a question is asked (whether there is an immediate consequence; who asks it; when they ask it; etc) often modifies what the answer is. Ergo, people give different answers to the same question. My point about polls was that the only answer that really matters is the one they put in a box on voting day.
    And you don't see how those positions are mutually exclusive? Really? If the situation in which a question is asked will modify the answer then the situation in which a vote is cast can modify the answer. You have given the unspoken assumption that people know exactly "what really matters" and that when they can't express what they want in other ways they can somehow do it perfectly for voting.
    Now you are getting it. But not "are", instead "can be". I'm also claiming that people can be systematically irrational in how they vote at the ballot box too. Given that many people vote on single issues which their representative has no influence over, or issues which don't even affect the job the politician does, this shouldn't be too much of a stretch?

    It's hardly rational behaviour, but there is a system to why they do it. Systematically irrational.
    And if people are systematic, you can manipulate that system... which is the opposite of what you are claiming...
    Newsflash: plenty of people either don't vote, vote for 3rd parties, or are 'independent' voters. They would fall inbetween your neat lines of voting for only Democrats or Republicans. Elections where a 'centrist' vote is successfully deployed are notable for having a higher turnout than others.
    And those people who don't vote? Yea, those people do not fall between the lines of Democrat and Republican, they fall OUTSIDE the lines. They don't vote because "the parties are the same" or because "Voting doesn't change anything" or because "there are no viable third parties".

    You consistently suggest to run towards the other party. This does not help with those people who are not voting but might vote for you. It HURTS. Running towards the other party only helps with those people who are going to vote for the other guy anyway.
    If I have, please quote where I did so? If you can't, please retract your inventions.
    If at some juncture you decide to actually write down your thoughts instead of simply quoting back mine, I'd be happy to respond
    What do you think I was doing?
    No. Can you tell me, without google or wiki, what the Library of Babel is and why it is applicable to this conversation? Well I guess we're both bad people then. People having a discussion in good faith make their argument, explain the parts of it of which the other side may be unaware, then listen to the response. They do not claim immediate superiority, quote back the other person only adding "Are you kidding?!", and introduce oblique references saying "do you know what that is?". Guess which one you are.

    The overton window is a fairly basic concept in political science. It is essentially the range at which policy can be implemented. Anything to the left or right of the overton window is generally considered "too radical" to be passed. It has been mentioned a few times already with the suggestion that playing to the inside of the window does not work when the other party is moving it.

    Asking about the overton window is not an oblique reference. Its more of a pre-requisite that one needs to understand before they can contribute to the conversation in much the same way that we ensure people can add, subtract, multiply, and divide (and understand the concept of those principles) before we introduce them to calculus. And we make sure people can do calculus before we introduce them to multi-variate. And we make sure people can do that before we start deconstructing the entire process.

    And the story of the library has nothing to do with the conversation.

    Goumindong on
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  • Psycho Internet HawkPsycho Internet Hawk Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    devCharles wrote: »
    Econ profs are Democrats.

    Any idea on the percentage?

    About two-thirds.

    As shryke noted, it's the EC101 problem - it takes a while for the interesting market failures and successes to show up, and even longer for plausible policy suggestions to appear. In the meanwhile, students walk away with a half-baked idea of how the economy works.

    The extent of the undisclosed assumptions built into undergraduate courses varies by instructor ideology - since economic pedagogy tends to proceed by "here's a market success, here's how it can fail, here's how the market can circumvent that failure, here's how that circumvention can fail" in order of increasing complexity, courses can predispose any political orientation by simply choosing where to stop. If you halt at, say, externalities as market failure, the natural conclusion is state intervention. If you never mention externalities at all, or mention externalities and then Coasean bargaining, the conclusion is no state intervention. And externalities and Coasean bargaining and transaction costs and distributional issues, the conclusion is state intervention again...

    Textbooks hence have an enormous amount of influence; Mankiw's textbook is the bestseller and so lots of courses predispose one toward a right-wing New Keynesian outlook. Because that's what Mankiw's outlook is, too.

    It bothers me how much Econ101 and knowledge of little more than "supply vs demand" is considered a perfectly acceptable amount of learning when it comes to econ. With virtually any other discipline, taking a single class means you still don't know shit, but for whatever reason people seem to universally feel entitled to be smug twats because they skimmed an econ textbook 15 years ago.

    Psycho Internet Hawk on
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  • LoklarLoklar Registered User
    edited September 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    devCharles wrote: »
    Econ profs are Democrats.

    Any idea on the percentage?

    About two-thirds.

    As shryke noted, it's the EC101 problem - it takes a while for the interesting market failures and successes to show up, and even longer for plausible policy suggestions to appear. In the meanwhile, students walk away with a half-baked idea of how the economy works.

    The extent of the undisclosed assumptions built into undergraduate courses varies by instructor ideology - since economic pedagogy tends to proceed by "here's a market success, here's how it can fail, here's how the market can circumvent that failure, here's how that circumvention can fail" in order of increasing complexity, courses can predispose any political orientation by simply choosing where to stop. If you halt at, say, externalities as market failure, the natural conclusion is state intervention. If you never mention externalities at all, or mention externalities and then Coasean bargaining, the conclusion is no state intervention. And externalities and Coasean bargaining and transaction costs and distributional issues, the conclusion is state intervention again...

    Textbooks hence have an enormous amount of influence; Mankiw's textbook is the bestseller and so lots of courses predispose one toward a right-wing New Keynesian outlook. Because that's what Mankiw's outlook is, too.

    It bothers me how much Econ101 and knowledge of little more than "supply vs demand" is considered a perfectly acceptable amount of learning when it comes to econ. With virtually any other discipline, taking a single class means you still don't know shit, but for whatever reason people seem to universally feel entitled to be smug twats because they skimmed an econ textbook 15 years ago.

    What's your background in Econ?

    Because unless it's tremendously better than an undergrad, then you're just doing the same thing.

    Loklar on
  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    Nixon froze wages and prices; I think you'll have to concede the non-conservative element of it, at least in terms of economic policy. On the other hand, if you classify conservative here as appealing to the conservative South, then Nixon's campaign certainly qualifies, but then Clinton doesn't. Carter began deregulation so that marks the ideological shift, I suppose (we can ignore Ford, I think).

    Well, Nixon was sort of similar to Obama in that regard. A moderate technocrat who continued many of the policy mandates of his predecessors.

    The thing that's important about both of them is that they campaigned explicitly on certain values which had not been politically viable to openly run on in decades. Nixon campaigned as a conservative -- not a Barry Goldwater conservative, but a conservative. That, in office, he was mostly still bound by older policy paradigms is not surprising, but he did begin to undermine the progressive policy structure, and he did get elected campaigning on conservatism.

    Personally, I see massive parallels between Nixon and Obama. Besides pursuing policy agendas which are very close in substance, both were the first national candidates in their party in decades to clearly articulate their base's ideological stance and win. Both were treated as fascists and illegitimate by the activists in the opposition who no longer controlled the national discourse.
    There is a shift across the entire Western world toward vaguely the left after the Depression and then vaguely the right after the oil crisis; the shift to and fro doesn't seem unique to the US. That these were stark and distinct policy environments is true, but they still seem creatures of their economic conditions.

    I agree that political shifts tend to need some kind of catalytic event, but why those two? The Depression is understandable from its sheer magnitude, but my point is that we have experienced and will continue to experience jarring events that disrupt people's quality of life in substantial ways. Some recessions provoke political flips, others do not. The oil shock hardly compares to the Depression -- why was it a catalyst for a reversion to right-wing ideology across the West?

    Why didn't the 1937 recession shake people's faith in FDR and state intervention? Why didn't Regan's double-dip turn people off of the Republican party? Why do some presidents get credit for making progress, and others don't? Why do some presidents successfully blame their economic failings on their predecessors, and others don't?

    I think the point is that you need to have the requisite components for ignition. For instance, people's political leanings seem to be rather well predicted by who was president at the time they turned 18. People who were 18 under Clinton are somewhat more Democratic than average, those 18 under Bush II are much more Democratic than average, those who were 18 under Reagan and Bush I are more Republican than average, and so on.

    Demographic trends were such that the country was substantially less white and had more people predisposed to vote for Democrats when Obama was running than when Dukakis or Mondale or Clinton ran (who, it should be noted, would likely not have won his first time without Perot).

    I'm saying that we can agree that economic events are very important to political alignments, but what effect they have seems to rely on other factors.

    Fartacus on
  • Psycho Internet HawkPsycho Internet Hawk Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Loklar wrote: »
    What's your background in Econ?

    Because unless it's tremendously better than an undergrad, then you're just doing the same thing.

    It's not much, but then I admit it and don't go around yelling "IT'S CALLED BASIC ECON DUMBASS GO READ A BOOK" like a lot of people I've met.

    Instead I just basically creep on ronya's posts and try to educate myself.

    Psycho Internet Hawk on
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  • SammyFSammyF Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Fartacus wrote: »
    I'm saying that we can agree that economic events are very important to political alignments, but what effect they have seems to rely on other factors.

    The economics treatise that best explains voter behavior isn't anything you read in Econ 101; it's The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies by Brian Caplan. I always get a little uncomfortable when I read it over again because there's a proposition that the alternative to democracy isn't autocracy but rather economic markets because of the automatic assumption in neoclassical economics of rationality, and I think we've seen over the past couple of years that there are a lot of people in the marketplace who are as incapable of understanding the complexity of our economy as they are ignorant regarding politics and policies.

    But I could conceivably see myself agreeing that the marketplace gets it right more often than the democratic process. Not because the market is so good but because so many voters are so predisposed to willful ignorance.

    Bringing the topic back to the strategic incompetence of Democrats, I would suggest that it's largely because we still believe more-strongly than perhaps we should in rational voters. For instance, we thought that we would ultimately win the discussion about healthcare reform once the provisions started taking effect and voters realized that actually they liked it, so once the bill was signed, we largely stopped talking about it. Republicans, meanwhile, realized early on that they could actually lie outright about the contents of the healthcare bill and rest content in their correct belief that the overwhelming majority of the population wouldn't take the time to learn independently about the legislation.

    SammyF on
  • ronyaronya Arrrrrf. the ivory tower's basementRegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Fartacus wrote: »
    ronya wrote: »
    Nixon froze wages and prices; I think you'll have to concede the non-conservative element of it, at least in terms of economic policy. On the other hand, if you classify conservative here as appealing to the conservative South, then Nixon's campaign certainly qualifies, but then Clinton doesn't. Carter began deregulation so that marks the ideological shift, I suppose (we can ignore Ford, I think).

    Well, Nixon was sort of similar to Obama in that regard. A moderate technocrat who continued many of the policy mandates of his predecessors.

    The thing that's important about both of them is that they campaigned explicitly on certain values which had not been politically viable to openly run on in decades. Nixon campaigned as a conservative -- not a Barry Goldwater conservative, but a conservative. That, in office, he was mostly still bound by older policy paradigms is not surprising, but he did begin to undermine the progressive policy structure, and he did get elected campaigning on conservatism.

    Personally, I see massive parallels between Nixon and Obama. Besides pursuing policy agendas which are very close in substance, both were the first national candidates in their party in decades to clearly articulate their base's ideological stance and win. Both were treated as fascists and illegitimate by the activists in the opposition who no longer controlled the national discourse.

    Nixon had run just eight years earlier, before (in 1960, vs. Kennedy); the issues which he then ran on in 1968 were simply absent in 1960. I'm not sure what you might say the bases wanted in the decades before Nixon's 1968 campaign, or that candidates did not articulate those desires.

    I don't think the parallel exists, if only because I doubt your characterizations of both Nixon and Obama; Nixon indeed campaigned as a social conservative, but he was key in introducing the Silent Majority and other ideas to the discourse. It is hardly as if that base was always there and suddenly Nixon realized they could be leveraged.

    Likewise Obama; what issues did Obama run on that had not been politically viable to openly run on in decades? Healthcare? Gay rights? Compare Clinton.
    Fartacus wrote: »
    There is a shift across the entire Western world toward vaguely the left after the Depression and then vaguely the right after the oil crisis; the shift to and fro doesn't seem unique to the US. That these were stark and distinct policy environments is true, but they still seem creatures of their economic conditions.

    I agree that political shifts tend to need some kind of catalytic event, but why those two? The Depression is understandable from its sheer magnitude, but my point is that we have experienced and will continue to experience jarring events that disrupt people's quality of life in substantial ways. Some recessions provoke political flips, others do not. The oil shock hardly compares to the Depression -- why was it a catalyst for a reversion to right-wing ideology across the West?

    Why didn't the 1937 recession shake people's faith in FDR and state intervention? Why didn't Reagan's double-dip turn people off of the Republican party? Why do some presidents get credit for making progress, and others don't? Why do some presidents successfully blame their economic failings on their predecessors, and others don't?

    Because the Phillips curve fell apart, and the prevailing policy regime had no ready answer.

    Things that happened across the early 1970s: Nixon closing the gold window, ending Bretton Woods, and the oil crisis; then we have the mid-1970s global stagflating recession. This marked the end of the postwar economic boom, so it is significant.

    Roosevelt's administration in 1937 had a ready response: $5 billion in spending through Congress. By 1938 unemployment began falling again. Likewise Reagan's recession, which ended rapidly.

    ronya on
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  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Loklar wrote: »
    What's your background in Econ?

    Because unless it's tremendously better than an undergrad, then you're just doing the same thing.

    It's not much, but then I admit it and don't go around yelling "IT'S CALLED BASIC ECON DUMBASS GO READ A BOOK" like a lot of people I've met.

    Instead I just basically creep on ronya's posts and try to educate myself.

    I haven't even finished an economics course but I feel comfortable calling the invisible hand as a strategy to run an economy a goosy move, I know enough about economics to grasp that and I don't feel like I'm overextending myself by calling someone out on it.

    Similarly if someone tells us that homeopathic medicine cured their cancer I don't need to be an oncologist to point out why that's bullshit.

    override367 on
  • Z0reZ0re Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    A lot of it has to do with professors one has. My current intro to econ professor is vehemently anti-government intervention in the economy in any way and has taught us the invisible hand always males everything better for everyone. A lot of peopele are only going to have this guy for economics and never look beyond his simplistic story about how things work.

    Z0re on
  • wwtMaskwwtMask Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    The invisible hand has sure done a bang up job with resolving the problem of health care for everyone.

    The invisible hand sucks. I'm trying to think of an instance where it's achieved a goal that is desired by society without being guided or influenced by government.

    wwtMask on
    When he dies, I hope they write "Worst Affirmative Action Hire, EVER" on his grave. His corpse should be trolled.
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  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I'm so glad my econ professor is awesome and spent 7 years as an arbiter for the SEC, apparently he used to be an invisible hand wanker until he got a job exposing him to the absolute depths of depravity people sink to for greed. Bad care for elderly while taking out life insurance on them (and then packaging the life insurance policies up and selling them)? He's seen it. People selling their clients packages designed to fiscally explode while shorting them? Seen it

    I suppose that would change anyone's opinion of the invisible hand

    override367 on
  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. normal (not weird)Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Z0re wrote: »
    A lot of it has to do with professors one has. My current intro to econ professor is vehemently anti-government intervention in the economy in any way and has taught us the invisible hand always males everything better for everyone. A lot of peopele are only going to have this guy for economics and never look beyond his simplistic story about how things work.

    yup.

    Styrofoam Sammich on
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  • Psycho Internet HawkPsycho Internet Hawk Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    To be fair, when Adam Smith invented the notion of "the invisible hand" in Wealth of Nations, he also advocated taxing the shit out of the rich to pay for healthcare/education for the masses.

    Which is why it always bothers me when conservatives/libertarians quote it, because Smith includes concepts (like "nobody is innately more skilled than anyone else, the only thing that makes people individuals is upbringing and circumstance") that are still sorta leftist even today.

    Psycho Internet Hawk on
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  • LoklarLoklar Registered User
    edited September 2010
    Z0re wrote: »
    A lot of it has to do with professors one has. My current intro to econ professor is vehemently anti-government intervention in the economy in any way and has taught us the invisible hand always males everything better for everyone. A lot of peopele are only going to have this guy for economics and never look beyond his simplistic story about how things work.

    It's fine to have a different opinion or to think that there is something beyond what your professor is saying, I disagreed with lots of profs when I was in uni, but there should be some-level of a respect for someone who 1) holds a PhD in economics and 2) Was hired by your school (presumably a decent one).

    What's more likely: your professor has a simplistic view of economics or you went into the class with pre-conceived notions?

    Both is an option.

    Loklar on
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Loklar wrote: »
    Z0re wrote: »
    A lot of it has to do with professors one has. My current intro to econ professor is vehemently anti-government intervention in the economy in any way and has taught us the invisible hand always males everything better for everyone. A lot of peopele are only going to have this guy for economics and never look beyond his simplistic story about how things work.

    It's fine to have a different opinion or to think that there is something beyond what your professor is saying, I disagreed with lots of profs when I was in uni, but there should be some-level of a respect for someone who 1) holds a PhD in economics and 2) Was hired by your school (presumably a decent one).

    What's more likely: your professor has a simplistic view of economics or you went into the class with pre-conceived notions?

    Both is an option.

    My speech teacher has a PHD and insists that Reagan never gave amnesty to illegals

    He also spent years working for the biggest cable news agency out there!

    override367 on
  • FartacusFartacus __BANNED USERS
    edited September 2010
    ronya wrote: »
    Nixon had run just eight years earlier, before (in 1960, vs. Kennedy); the issues which he then ran on in 1968 were simply absent in 1960. I'm not sure what you might say the bases wanted in the decades before Nixon's 1968 campaign, or that candidates did not articulate those desires.

    I don't think the parallel exists, if only because I doubt your characterizations of both Nixon and Obama; Nixon indeed campaigned as a social conservative, but he was key in introducing the Silent Majority and other ideas to the discourse. It is hardly as if that base was always there and suddenly Nixon realized they could be leveraged.

    That's not what I'm saying. Demographics certainly are important, but how certain demographic groups get locked into certain voting patterns obviously hinges to a great extent on events and political narratives/messaging.

    Simply put, you need a lot to coincide for a major realignment. You need a demographic make-up of the country that doesn't make winning impossible. Then, you need a catalytic event (usually economic, but honestly I put the conservative change-over earlier than you do -- I think the oil crisis fed conservative ideology but arguable the Civil Rights Act is what really destroyed the Democratic demographic coalition as it had been known until 1965, and made a conservative economic regime even possible). Finally, you need someone who can capitalize on it by actually articulating their side's moral and emotional language competently.

    In this regard, Obama and Nixon are similar. Both got dumped into their laps a demographically viable electorate for their party, a catalytic event (for Nixon, CRA, for Obama, the Great Recession), and both were the first viable candidates in years to stake out markedly values-based messaging.
    Likewise Obama; what issues did Obama run on that had not been politically viable to openly run on in decades? Healthcare? Gay rights? Compare Clinton.

    It's not so much about the issues. I mean, that's something we seem to know pretty well -- most issues aren't that important. An explanation for voter behavior that I subscribe to is that people vote based on a moral/values-based analysis of candidates and parties. It's not that Obama ran on different issues from Clinton, it's about how he ran on them. Obama explicitly and fluently employed progressive moral language, which is something we really hadn't seen since the '80s at the latest (when it wasn't viable due to demographic coalitions which had solidified). Also, he has governed to the left of Clinton, even if he hasn't governed very left from an absolute standpoint.
    Because the Phillips curve fell apart, and the prevailing policy regime had no ready answer.

    Things that happened across the early 1970s: Nixon closing the gold window, ending Bretton Woods, and the oil crisis; then we have the mid-1970s global stagflating recession. This marked the end of the postwar economic boom, so it is significant.

    Roosevelt's administration in 1937 had a ready response: $5 billion in spending through Congress. By 1938 unemployment began falling again. Likewise Reagan's recession, which ended rapidly.

    I don't know, it just seems awfully reductionist to simply say politics is nothing more than an extension of the economic cycle.

    Fartacus on
  • LoklarLoklar Registered User
    edited September 2010
    Loklar wrote: »
    Z0re wrote: »
    A lot of it has to do with professors one has. My current intro to econ professor is vehemently anti-government intervention in the economy in any way and has taught us the invisible hand always males everything better for everyone. A lot of peopele are only going to have this guy for economics and never look beyond his simplistic story about how things work.

    It's fine to have a different opinion or to think that there is something beyond what your professor is saying, I disagreed with lots of profs when I was in uni, but there should be some-level of a respect for someone who 1) holds a PhD in economics and 2) Was hired by your school (presumably a decent one).

    What's more likely: your professor has a simplistic view of economics or you went into the class with pre-conceived notions?

    Both is an option.

    My speech teacher has a PHD and insists that Reagan never gave amnesty to illegals

    He also spent years working for the biggest cable news agency out there!

    Did he have a PhD in Reagan history? Or political science?

    Loklar on
  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I don't know, it just seems awfully reductionist to simply say politics is nothing more than an extension of the economic cycle.

    The problem is the facts tend to back this up. Or there are a lot of remarkable coincidences going on.

    enlightenedbum on
    Self-righteousness is incompatible with coalition building.
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Loklar wrote: »
    Loklar wrote: »
    Z0re wrote: »
    A lot of it has to do with professors one has. My current intro to econ professor is vehemently anti-government intervention in the economy in any way and has taught us the invisible hand always males everything better for everyone. A lot of peopele are only going to have this guy for economics and never look beyond his simplistic story about how things work.

    It's fine to have a different opinion or to think that there is something beyond what your professor is saying, I disagreed with lots of profs when I was in uni, but there should be some-level of a respect for someone who 1) holds a PhD in economics and 2) Was hired by your school (presumably a decent one).

    What's more likely: your professor has a simplistic view of economics or you went into the class with pre-conceived notions?

    Both is an option.

    My speech teacher has a PHD and insists that Reagan never gave amnesty to illegals

    He also spent years working for the biggest cable news agency out there!

    Did he have a PhD in Reagan history? Or political science?

    No, but there are plenty of PhDs in economics who believe the invisible hand is crap (or, more accurately, that the invisible hand works perfectly all things being equal but doesn't take into account the human cost or externalities. Sure 5 food 10 mans will fix itself if left alone, but 5 of those mans wont be alive anymore and any jobs that they were previously doing are now gone, creating more work that the invisible hand will have to fix)

    In fact his professor seems to have a view that a minority of economics professors have. He may, in fact, not have a simplistic view of economics.

    I would wager he has a very complex understanding and viewpoint on economics, and 99.9% of it is correct, but from all those intricate pieces he has assemble what I would say is a wrong conclusion (or not, as I said everyone acknowledges that the invisible hand does work as advetised, maybe he just doesn't give a shit about the human cost?).

    override367 on
  • Kipling217Kipling217 Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    A Swedish writer hit it on the button with the following quote(made in relation to the Witch Trials of Europe): "It seems to me that every author and expert on witch hunting, just read what the people before him wrote and then just made the rest up." "Today, this methodology is thankfully exinct in academia, except for the field of economics".

    Kipling217 on
    The sky was full of stars, every star an exploding ship. One of ours.
  • Z0reZ0re Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Loklar wrote: »
    Loklar wrote: »
    Z0re wrote: »
    A lot of it has to do with professors one has. My current intro to econ professor is vehemently anti-government intervention in the economy in any way and has taught us the invisible hand always males everything better for everyone. A lot of peopele are only going to have this guy for economics and never look beyond his simplistic story about how things work.

    It's fine to have a different opinion or to think that there is something beyond what your professor is saying, I disagreed with lots of profs when I was in uni, but there should be some-level of a respect for someone who 1) holds a PhD in economics and 2) Was hired by your school (presumably a decent one).

    What's more likely: your professor has a simplistic view of economics or you went into the class with pre-conceived notions?

    Both is an option.

    My speech teacher has a PHD and insists that Reagan never gave amnesty to illegals

    He also spent years working for the biggest cable news agency out there!

    Did he have a PhD in Reagan history? Or political science?

    No, but there are plenty of PhDs in economics who believe the invisible hand is crap (or, more accurately, that the invisible hand works perfectly all things being equal but doesn't take into account the human cost or externalities. Sure 5 food 10 mans will fix itself if left alone, but 5 of those mans wont be alive anymore and any jobs that they were previously doing are now gone, creating more work that the invisible hand will have to fix)

    In fact his professor seems to have a view that a minority of economics professors have. He may, in fact, not have a simplistic view of economics.

    I would wager he has a very complex understanding and viewpoint on economics, and 99.9% of it is correct, but from all those intricate pieces he has assemble what I would say is a wrong conclusion (or not, as I said everyone acknowledges that the invisible hand does work as advetised, maybe he just doesn't give a shit about the human cost?).

    Note, I didn't say my professor has a simplistic view of economics at all. I think he's well versed. I was saying that he is teaching us a simplistic and shorn off view of it because he has alluded in class to things we won't cover in his course.

    Z0re on
  • CommunistCowCommunistCow Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    I don't know, it just seems awfully reductionist to simply say politics is nothing more than an extension of the economic cycle.

    The problem is the facts tend to back this up. Or there are a lot of remarkable coincidences going on.

    I would say it is at least an extension at the extremes of the economic cycle. When things are going alright then other things come into play.

    CommunistCow on
    No, I am not really communist. Yes, it is weird that I use this name.
  • HamurabiHamurabi MiamiRegistered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Ah, professors with agendas.

    Honestly, even if I don't agree with something a professor is teaching, it isn't worth anyone's time to paralyze the class because you disagree. Take it up with him after class / during office hours.

    Is it, however, a little sad that most students will take a professor's personal interjections at face value? I would say so.

    Hamurabi on
  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    edited September 2010
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    Ah, professors with agendas.

    Honestly, even if I don't agree with something a professor is teaching, it isn't worth anyone's time to paralyze the class because you disagree. Take it up with him after class / during office hours.

    Is it, however, a little sad that most students will take a professor's personal interjections at face value? I would say so.

    Well when my psychology professor tells us that video games have a proven causal link to violence and cites a correlative aggression study from the APA, I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut

    Then of course half the class gets the question wrong on the test because that's not what the teacher said (even though she is demonstrably, factually wrong), and I feel bad

    override367 on
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