02 December 2011

Monetization and Contradiction?

This Blog is Monetized Again (contains ads).
It will remain that way until I make enough to buy 1 case of decent wine (years I would imagine).  This is part experiment, and part consumer desire.   
So... I am Can-Am Marxist who likes French Wine.
An overdetermined preference from someone who chooses to define himself based upon his overdetermined career selection. 
At least today is Friday.

01 December 2011

You Wake Up One Morning and Realize the World had Gone to Hell

While drinking my morning tea I usually check the websites of 5 or 6 newspapers.  This is not a hard and fast 5 or 6, it depends on the nature of events taking place, my own mood, amount of time I have before leaving for work, etc.

This morning I happened to check the London Free Press website.  I don't check the Free Press more than once a week or so.  It is generally filled with articles pulled from the AP wire and poorly written crap about local politics.  The Free Press is a small paper from a city of 400 000 people or so in South Western Ontario.  I would imagine it is owned by one of the giant companies of media empire but I honestly don't care enough to look right now.  I am generally more interested in the local news from this paper as I grew up in London ON.  This morning, I happened across an article discussing how St. Thomas (a smaller city near London) should not buy Fords for their police department cruisers again if Ford does not increase their efforts to keep workers employed at the local assembly plant.

It is not the content of the article that caught my attention, rather, the implications of the truth claims made therein.  Apparently it is acceptable journalism to reprint what some random (at least to me) person writes on twitter as evidence for an argument.  How can I expect a higher standard from my students when it is acceptable for a professional writer with an editor?  This is just another example, the more a truth claim fits the dominant ideology, the less the masses will question it irrespective of how weak the source is (unless I am missing something about Twitter?).

28 November 2011

I Already Posted the Conclusion. By Posting the Intro I am hoping for force myself to take the body of this essay out of point form. Three more posts on this should follow soon.

An Essay on the Political Nature and Consequences of the Process of Teaching Economics:
Neoclassical Economics in the Classroom.

                  Many of us economists, whom are not bourgeois economists, will be called upon over the course of our careers to teach neoclassical economic theories.  In fact we are often called upon to teach entire courses based upon said theories.   There is no argument that these theories, their ideological underpinnings, and the politics and culture they support are the dominant theories and processes of modern American society.   The following arguments are especially pertinent to those of us in what are traditionally considered introductory economics, where neoclassical theories remain hegemonic in most presentations more so than “upper level” undergraduate courses where a brief survey suggests that slightly more pluralism exists.   This does not mean that the following is not relevant in all economics classrooms, just that it is the author’s opinion that there exists slightly more pluralism in the more advanced material.  In this essay I will argue that those of us who do not subscribe to the dominant views of society, and may wish to change said views, have not only an interest in, but an obligation to inform our students of the political processes that are taking place in the classroom. 
                   In my experience the teaching of radical economics is often constrained by the need find balance between favored (by the instructor) heterodox ideas and the need to do justice to students who will continue in mainstream economics educations.  Often even the most radical of economics educators will accept some mainstream institutions (such as textbooks that frame economics as apolitical) as given.  It is important that radical economics educators are self-aware of the political nature of our choice of the level of engagement with mainstream economics in the class room.   
The dialectical relationship between what is practiced in the classroom and what students accept as the field of economics during and after their education is something that many economics educators choose to ignore.  As radical economists we need to be aware that our choice of level of (dis)engagement with the mainstream in economics education has consequences both within, and outside of the future of our profession.  This essay is an attempt to bring to light some of these consequences by examining the institutions that we question, and the institutions that we take as given, both implicitly and explicitly when teaching economics. 
                  The essay has three main points.  The first section provides a critique of both accepted practice in mainstream teaching, and some of the perceived consequences when we fail as radical educators to engage against bourgeois society in the classroom, that is, pretend that teaching can be apolitical.   The second section discusses the teaching of bourgeois economics by asking the question; when called upon to do so, can we teach these theories, and acknowledge how important they have been in our society (both historically and presently) in a way that is clear, does the theory justice, and leaves the student open to critique?  The third section of this essay discusses choice around both content and pedagogy in the classroom for economics educators who are aware that there is a political aspect to the process of classroom teaching. 


Escapes us all at times.