Headline, June08, 2014



STUDENTS  of economics are in a revolt   -yet again!

A few years ago, even before the crisis, they established  an  ''autistic economics'' network.  After the crisis, in  2011-

A  Harvard class staged a walkout from Professor Gregory Mankiw's introductory course. And that course,  -mind you,   forms the basis of textbooks prescribed in universities around the world.

This year,  65 groups of students from  30 countries  established an International Student Initiative  for  Pluralism in Economics.  In no other subject do students express such  'organized dissatisfaction'   with their  teaching.

It seems, however, to little lasting effect. Impermanence is inherent in student life; they don suits,  collect their first salary and leave their complaints behind until the same gripes are rediscovered

By a new group of  19 year-olds with similar naive hopes of changing the world. Still, recurrent dissatisfaction among both students and employers suggests they have a point.

One cause of the problem is not specific to economics. Modern universities prize research above teaching,  to a degree that would  astonish people outside the system, who imagine its primary purpose is to educate the young.

In reality, teaching ability plays a negligible role in university hiring, tenure and promotion decisions.

Many academic staff regard teaching as a nuisance that gets in the way of their 'own'  work. If most students were not having such a good time outside the classroom, they would be angrier than they are.

They should be.

A problem specific to economics is that students suspect the material they are taught is designed to offer intellectual cover for rightwing ideology.

This belief was plainly the motivation for the  Harvard walkout   -and there is some truth in the critique.

Professor Mankiw was for a time chairman of George W Bush's Council of Economic Advisers.

Economics teaching encourages students to think of a world of self-interested individuals and profit-oriented company but Prof Mankiw's conservatism puts him in a minority;-

In common with academics generally, most economics professors are probably mildly to the left of the political spectrum.

As are their students. the real burden of their complaint is not a political protest. They chose to study economics in the hope of solving, or at least understanding, real world problems:

1. Poverty  -  2. Inequality  -  3. Inflation -  4. Financial crisis.

So, now watch the !WOW! equation come on:

The Philippines may have better medium-term growth prospects than China. From Beijing to Kuala Lumpur, cheese is in greater demand than iron-ore.

The Nehru-Gandhi family has lost control of India. About the only thing familiar in the topsy-turvy Asian world is that the Generals are back in charge of Thailand.

Asia, in so far as one can talk of such a huge, disparate region, is in flux. After years in which it settled into a fairly predictable pattern, the gears of change are grinding.

Since the  2008  financial crises, there have been several constants.

China was growing rapidly, becoming the region's engine of growth. Cheap money and low interest rates, courtesy of western printing presses, enabled many countries to ramp up borrowing-

Stimulating the domestic demand needed to replace flat exports. Domestic politics, with a few exceptions such as Myanmar, was pretty stable. Now none of the above holds. The region is entering a new phase.

Professor Carmen Reinhart of Harvard  -has made a career of studying financial crisis, says,  ''longest capital flow bonanza on record''  -one that kept much of emerging humming from  2008  to  2013  is over.

The push factors that that forced capital out of the west in search of higher yield are going into reverse.

And the withdrawal of capital from emerging Asia will not be accompanied by a compensating rise in demand for its exports.

Recovery in the west, hampered by a big debt overhang, will at its very, very best be, anaemic.

Last year, New Zealand grew faster than Australia. Such is the demand for dairy products to feed Asia's growing middle class that    ''cheese wars''  have broken out, with companies paying:

Unlikely multiples for the chance to get their hands on a bit of  cheddar. Economic students will stir all around open their text books, and look asking to their professors.

Little does the world know that  economics and fashion are cyclical. Lets have some economics professor refute that.

See Ya all on the  catwalks but in revolt gear.

The honour and serving of the post continues. Don't ever think of missing the next one. And do share forward, this latest research.

With respectful dedication to all the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on  !WOW!   -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

''' Great Thinking - Decent Work '''

Good Night & God Bless!

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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