Economics Education at University

#1

Greetings

Hi! I am Nikita here, a first year economics undergraduate.

Very often, I feel the ‘people-centric’ aspect is something left out of the discussion on economics at high school as well as at University. We learn the math, the models, the history. Although well-being is discussed, its almost like an afterthought; growth continues to dominate.
As an undergraduate economics student, it leaves me with almost no idea on how I can contribute to the creation of an all-inclusive economy. Given this scenario, what would you advise university students to do about it? How should they approach a curriculum that doesn’t equip them with tools for creating meaningful, lasting structural change?

Thank you very much

Regards,

Nikita

#2

Good Question @NikitaAsnani

I’m afraid I’m not trained /teaching in Economics so cant help much, but I understand your dilemma.
I’m reading a lot and teaching myself and think you’ll be interested in this initiative, which seems to want to enable related action from the ground up.
ie don’t wait to get the answers in University!
https://wellbeingeconomy.org/
https://wellbeingeconomy.org/ambassadors (see Kate there)
https://wellbeingeconomy.org/citizens

WEAll is a new global collaboration of organisations, alliances, movements and individuals working together to change the economic system to create a wellbeing economy: one that delivers human and ecological wellbeing

Hope that helps
Tony

#3

Hi @NikitaAsnani ,

There is an international movement which is set up by economics students which is called Rethinking Economics. They are having an influence on the curriculum and are introducing more heterodox economic theories into it. Maybe a group is active at your university too. Otherwise you could start one and contact the ones that already exist elsewhere.

A good book to read, in order to have a broader view on what is taught in classic economics classes is Steve Keen’s book Debunking Economics.

And at Happonomy, a non profit I work for, we work towards an economic model that supports well being at its core. The main goal of the organisation is to increase quality of life for everyone by leveraging money, work and technology in positive ways. We have also designed an alternative monetary model called Sustainable Money System or SuMSy for short, which is inclusive, nudges towards sustainable investments and can support to a no-growth economy without all the problems our current system would have with that.

Hope this helps,
Kind regards,
Stef

#4

Dear Nikita, the subject that you raise has been one of concern to me too, because once I began to study economics I was soon to recognize the difficulty that students have in getting to grips with the curriculum in economics, particularly that of our social system of macroeconomics.

With my own difficulty in text-book studies being unsatisfactory there was nothing else for it but to go back to the beginning and write a better explanation for myself (and for others too). I spent some time in trying to research my way into this better understanding, and after much time and effort my work finally resulted in a book about how we can better understand how it works.

The 310 page book is titled “Consequential Macroeconomics” and in e-copy form I am offering it for free to anybody who is serious about the dilemma described above. Write to me at chesterdh@hotmail.com and I will gladly send you an e-copy.

This book is not at all like the doughnut way of presentation, because it requires some engineering type of assumptions, logical modelling, deductions and analysis. It successfully converts the past somewhat vague subject of macroeconomics into a much more exact method for the gaining of knowledge about it and understanding how it works in numerical and algebraic terms it without all of the confusion of past versions of what was once regarded as a “dismal science”.

I do hope you are not frightened by the degree of mathematics involved. This is because in the basic ideas in this book, you do not need to follow these short-hand methods of mathematics, which are aimed at a deeper kind of thinking that not everyone can manage.

I am not sure what your message means by “contribution to the creation of an all-inclusive economy”, although this book is certainly a step in this direction and using these methods there is plenty of room for researching the effect of specific policy changes of any kind you choose as being significant–the book is one of method with only a few examples of how it can be used.

Best wishes for your studies, David Harold Chester

#5

Hi Nikita.
Story of my life.
Thats why we developed “Systemic Economy” in Brussels. Testing at the moment in corporate and business schools. First full grade course this summer.
The economic paradigm has to shift. It will, following the next big shocks (big systemic stock crisis probably in 2020, followed by political crisis, then a generation pension fund crisis before 2025, energy and technological crisis before 2028. I can promise you that the so-called experts and economists will by then be out of business, and grassroot collaborative intelligence will have emerged. You can remotely join Club of Brussels by sending and email to aantoine@uhdr.net to participate and develop these new approaches and models.
www.clubofbrussels.org
www.extrapreneurs.org
www.wiseholding.net

Best regards,
Michel

#6

Thank you very much for your response. I appreciate it.

Nikita

#7

I was a Columbia University mathematics major, but since retiring from being a JP Morgan and hedge fund banker, I’ve lived directly across the street from Columbia, and I audit Economics courses taught by my friends on the Economics faculty.

I believe that economics education is similar to falling in a worm hole and studying medicine at Salamanca University 700 years ago, or studying Chemistry before “chemists” knew what an element or a molecule was.

Here are some examples . . .

Lecture #1 in an intro, Ivy League econ course, you learn that Economics is “the dismal science,” the “science of scarcity.” Later on the children are taught it’s “the science of choice.” Shouldn’t Economics be the science of making people NOT poor?

By the end of Lecture 3 of an intro university economics course, the students are taught that the labor supply curve is monotonically upward sloping, and a price floor set above the equilibrium wage level will cause needless unemployment.

This is similar to learning in a Calculus course that the graph of y=x^2 is the graph of y=x^3 over all Real numbers.

Suppose in some locale 20,000 workers were working 40 hours/week for $9/hr. and BARELY scraping by – barely paying for gas, rent, groceries, etc. and saving nothing. Suppose one day the wages of all these workers were cut to $5/hr. (price fell). What would happen to quantity? According to the garbage taught by the end of Lecture #3, the quantity would fall because the supply curve is monotonically upward sloping. But what would really happen? Wouldn’t all these guys have to start working A LOT more hours (supply increase)? What happens when supply increase? Doesn’t price fall? Wouldn’t a minimum wage (in actuality) be more like a peg that prevents a downward wage spiral? These professors are teaching children GARBAGE.

How about a microeconomics course? The children are taught that there are markets, and there are firms, and firms exist to maximize profits. Has any child ever asked why can’t there exist firms that are not-for-profits?

In more advanced courses the garbage continues accumulating like the ocean garbage patch. A lot of lectures are devoted to describing garbage ideas, then demonstrating with data that the ideas are garbage (like the “twin deficits hypothesis”).

It’s NO WONDER that the global economy continues existing as such an abysmal arrangement, with children eating out of garbage dumps, low workforce participation, dire poverty.

But what is REALLY frightening is the production function. What do I mean by the production function – I mean the production of ECONOMISTS. Any giant population is bound to have aberrant mentalities/personalities, so imagine the guys who sit in that lecture learning about a price floor and FALL IN LOVE with that garbage! They make the decision at that moment to become a PhD economist! You have an entire intellectual discipline with a large proportion of raving sociopaths.

Economics is in a pre-Keplerian state. You might as well major in theology.

#8

I completely agree with you. Applicability to real world happenings is almost excluded.
I feel that our education feels to meet the needs of our present.
When I ask professors if I can discuss topics such as wellbeing in conjunction with economics, they don’t direclty say NO, but rather “encourage” me by including it in my writings as an afterthought, after having discussed the more “important” aspects.
You mentioned that you are involved in auditing Economics courses; do you mind sharing about it? I’m keen on understanding and where possible, being involved, in the reform of our education system.

Thank you

Nikita

#9

My email is scottpsolomon@gmail.com if you would wish to communicate about this.

#10

For the last 9 or 10 weeks, I’ve been developing a set of ideas for achieving a global wealth tax.

Probably in your economics class, you learned about GDP.

But what I guarantee you were NOT told was that GDP doesn’t sublimate into the air every year – a large part of GDP accumulates year to year.

There is more wealth on Earth at this precise moment than has ever existed. There are building structures in Paris that are completely functional that were built in the 6th Century – that’s GDP from the 6th Century that remains as wealth TODAY.

HOWEVER, here’s something “funny,” somehow we are unable to afford ANYTHING!

Isn’t that strange? There exists more wealth than has ever existed, but we can’t afford anything?

This is because all this wealth accumulates TO a very, very tiny circle of agents – the 0.1%, large corporations, large foundations.

This circle is not content with JUST having ALL the wealth – according to them (and they call the shots), their governments and the rest of us poor schlubs, in addition, OWE them $244TR.

To counterbalance this sad state of affairs, I figured out how we could achieve a $15TR+/yr. global wealth tax.

If you make the global wealth tax 12%/yr. on their entire wealth, BUT only 4%/yr. IF they pay the tax with a bank loan, then those with all the wealth would “save” 8%/yr. of their entire wealth paying the tax with a bank loan.

So all of them would pay with bank loans, and the banks would make $800BN/yr. from the $15TR+/yr. in tax revenues.

It would be the most profitable event in the history of banking.

Since it would be the most profitable event in the history of banking, the BANK LOBBY, the most powerful lobby in the world, would make sure the global wealth tax came into being.

You might notice I created a topic thread about this idea on this very discussion board.

I’ve also emailed the write-up to a lot of important economists in the world.

Economics is so diseased, typically no one responds to my very polite emails. You’ll notice on this discussion board no one responded to my posting.

Btw, the banks would package the loans into Global Wealth Tax Collateralied Loan Obligation bonds.

$5TR worth of the bonds could be deposited into a Global Retirement Account for the 3 billion most indigent people in the world every year.

Within 8 years, poverty would no longer exist on the Earth.

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#11

This sounds a lot more interesting and important than the concepts discussed in class. Thank you for sharing this!