Teaching: Political Economy 101
links for 2007-08-24

Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller!! BUELLER!!!

Ben Stein: how sad it is to lose your mind, or not to have a mind at all--how true that is!

EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed » Blog Archive: I’m Ben Stein – many of you know me from the classic film, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” or from my Comedy Central show “Win Ben Stein’s Money”. Still others of you may know me as a speechwriter, for presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.... I’m glad you found this site, because I want to share with you my thoughts from time to time here about a subject that is very near and dear to me: freedom. "EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed" is a controversial, soon-to-be-released documentary that chronicles my confrontation with the widespread suppression and entrenched discrimination that is spreading in our institutions, laboratories and most importantly, in our classrooms, and that is doing irreparable harm to some of the world’s top scientists, educators, and thinkers.

America is not America without freedom.... A huge part of this freedom is freedom of inquiry. Freedom of inquiry is basic to human advancement. There would be no modern medicine, no antibiotics, no brain surgery, no Internet, no air conditioning, no modern travel, no highways, no knowledge of the human body without freedom of inquiry. This includes the ability to inquire whether a higher power, a being greater than man, is involved with how the universe operates. This has always been basic to science. ALWAYS.... Now, I am sorry to say, freedom of inquiry in science is being suppressed.... [S]cientists and educators are not allowed to even think thoughts that involve an intelligent creator.... In today’s world, at least in America, an Einstein or a Newton or a Galileo would probably not be allowed to receive grants to study or to publish his research...

This is funnier than when the American Enterprise Institute suppressed Stein's http://www.americanenterprise.org/hotflash020314.htm. In that, Stein announced that Franklin Roosevelt caused the Great Depression:

[M]any blame [the Great Depression] on price fixing and restraint of trade encouraged by the New Deal... [the] idea that there is or ever was any intellectual rigor in blaming the Great Depression on the free market is simply a non-starter, period....

That changes in the money supply had no effect on interest rates and asset prices, but instead affected production and investment without changing anybody's incentives to save or spend:

[T]o further assert that Friedman's monetarism has not stood the test of time is almost unbelievable. What theory... governs current Fed policy if not monetarism? Do you really think that even Tobin believed that changes in asset prices (related to his fascinating doctrine of "Tobin's Q", which you totally ignore) caused business cycles, or were more important than fluctuations in money supply in determining levels of economic activity?....

And that members of the Council of Economic Advisers don't come under enormous political pressure:

Finally... to assert, on zero evidence, that Tobin's time as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers was unique and that since the early sixties, all other Council members have had to hew to a political line and sacrifice honesty and objectivity is insanely insulting to all other members of the Council and their staffs. The history of honesty and objectivity of members of both parties is unquestioned (except maybe by you, again, on a hunch, without any data at all). However, they all loved their jobs and knew who their bosses were. All. The idea that the Kennedy team of economists alone was above politics and holy men of scholarship is comical....

Since the AEI pulled the plug on it, I picked Stein's piece up and put it here: http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2005/06/a_missing_piece.html.