Letter from Chicago

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The Big Picture » Blog Archive » Letter from Chicago: F.

I like this:

If you are presently an undergraduate, and you are being taught by someone who believes in the Chicago School, run don’t walk to the registrar and switch to a different econ professor. It is the intellectual equivalent of a tenured Astronomy professor still teaching the Earth is flat following Ptolemy.

As the author puts it:

The math/science majors [I took as an undergraduate] meant that I was obligated to take humanities and other (non-science) course work. So I signed up for (amongst other courses) Economics 101.

It took all of ten minutes into the first class for me to recoil in horror. I asked the prof: “What do you meant that humans are rational? That is obviously not true. How important is this idea to economics?”

The response was, in hindsight, not a surprise: “It is the fundamental building block for all of economics. If you fight that underlying concept, if you do not provisionally accept that premise, you will not be able to understand what comes later.”

So I made what turned out to be one of my very best academic decisions: I gathered my books and walked out the door, and dropped the class.

And people are still teaching this economics as if it were true. No wonder we're in a mess.

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