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February 15, 2007

Teaching Economics Conference

Michael Mandel

I'm about to head off to the Teaching Economics Conference at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, where I will give the lunchtime talk tomorrow on "What Journalists Know--and Don't KNow--About Economics"

If any blog or BW readers are there, come up and say hi.

10:53 AM

Teaching

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I enjoyed your talk at Robert Morris University. I am down after Dr. Slavin's talk. Is there any hope for the economic future of the U.S.?

Posted by: Ceci at February 17, 2007 10:48 PM

I would be interested in seeing what you had to say in this speech. Is it written down or just in your head?

Posted by: Joe Cushing at February 19, 2007 02:51 PM

Please do post at least a bullet-point list of what journalists do and don't know about economics.

For example, do journalists "know" that the inverted yield curve is predicting a hard-landing recession, or do they "know" that it is "suggesting" only a "growth recession" (and do they "know" what that really is)?

And then enlighten us as to what the sources of the disconnects are. And what, if anything can be done about them, or whether it matters at all.

With all the warring camps and factions within the economics "discipline", who can blame anybody for wanting to stay at least a little disconnected from... the dismal science.

Then there is the small matter of objectivity. By definition, don't journalists need to at least try to remain objective? Shouldn't that mean that they not take sides in the great economic debates? Sure, they can occasionally, but separately pen editorials that take positions, but any byline articles should be strictly reporting or balanced analysis rather than editorializing on their own beliefs. Even with blog posts, jornalists should try to be clear about whether they are trying to report objectively or editorialize. I personally prefer (and highly value) journalists who in fact do try to give us balanced, "objective" reports that highlight all sides of economic issues, without trying to peddle the agenda of any particular camp or faction.

Finally, tell us, do you blog here primarily as an economist, or primarily as a journalist? Yeah, you can answer "both", but it just means that the muddle about what journalists "know" will continue.

In any case, thanks for blogging and sharing your thoughts. Us "readers" need more insight into what makes both economists and journalists "tick."

-- Jack Krupansky

Posted by: Jack Krupansky at February 22, 2007 10:32 AM

I'd like to share some insights with you. (1) An economist is a man who states the obvious in terms of the incomprehensible. -- Alfred A. Knopf

(2) If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion. -- George Bernard Shaw.

The point is, teaching economics should be more about applied science and policy forumlation and less about theory and math. In Jan, the U.S. Government advertised a rosy picture about the state of the economy. No one saw the stock market meltdown in Feb. International Institute of Management (IIM) released a report in Feb 5th warning about the U.S. economic risks. The report:

1. Uncovers the forces behind Feb 27th stock market meltdown and the Chinese reaction to the outlook of U.S. Economy.

2. Forecasts the future behavior of U.S. and global markets.

Med Yones, the author of the white paper, warns against costly policy mistakes and provides a detailed analysis of the economic, social and geopolitical risks facing the United States

The complete text of the report is available at:

http://www.iim-edu.org/u.s.economyrisks/

Posted by: think tank at February 28, 2007 03:34 PM

economics is a combination of science, philosophy, law, and mathematics.

experimental economics has lead to many positive influences and a greater understanding of the world economy as a whole.

to say that economics should have nothing to do with theory or math...i frown at the future of such a science

Posted by: Eric at March 9, 2007 02:37 PM

Eric, good point. It is difficult to separate economics from philosophy, law, and mathematics. I would also add psychology and sociology. What I meant in the previous post was that we need more applied science than theory. Most economists (not all) are engaged more in theory and less in application. Need evidence? Few economists stood up to the State of Economy Speech in January and said that Dow Jones performance and GDP numbers do not mean healthy economic growth. Because this growth is debt driven, it cannot be sustained. It also adds liabilities more than assets. It is no different than saying that the growth in a person’s economic health is good because s/he is buying more stuff and hiring more maids. What if this growth was charged mostly to his/her credit card? How long can this person sustain such “growth”. Some economists believe that the current economic measures/metrics are flawed. Just like engineers apply science and math to bring us new products, we need “Applied Economics” and “Economy Engineers” who will use all the above mentioned scientific disciplines, to bring us new performance metrics to help us manage our economy better, formulate effective socioeconomic policies, warn us beforehand of the costs of alternative choices and help us formulate the future of our national economic strategy.

I hope this explains it

Posted by: Thinktank at March 11, 2007 06:19 PM


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