Against Teaching Basic Economic Principles
By Arnold Kling
Any professor of economics can identify the field’s traditional basic concepts. The trick is to recognize and articulate the shortcomings of simplistic analysis before students rightly dismiss it as irrelevant and then wrongly dismiss all of economics with it…
The dumbing down of economics to the dogmatic preaching of a few simple concepts, principles, and axioms of old misses the excitement of modern day economics and is a deceitful representation of the science of economics and a disservice to students seeking a higher education.
I think that Becker exaggerates the danger of students learning too much basic “dogma” and not enough modern nuances in economics. If Becker is bored with teaching basic economic principles, then he should ask to teach something other than a basic principles course. Let him teach a course called “Exceptions to basic economic principles.”
Becker himself seems to commit the error of treating exceptions as if they were refutations. But perhaps elementary logic is something that he also believes does not belong in the curriculum.
Thanks (?) to Timothy Taylor’s Journal of Economic Perspectives column for the pointer.