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January 14, 2010 1:20 PM   Subscribe

Enlisting Armchair Economists: Help me find articles on a variety of economic topics.

I'm enrolled in a 100-level macroecon class and the professor, while fairly engaging, is a very outspoken University of Chicago (MBA) free marketeer. He has prepared a list of "real world" articles railing against most things liberal or left-oriented to supplement our textbook. (I haven't read the textbook yet but I'm assuming it gives at least a fair nod toward Kenysianism)

I want to put together an alternative list of readings for the other students and myself. If you have come across articles on the following topics from Keynesian, leftist, or other perspectives (including laissez-faire if it makes a good or interesting argument that you don't think would be included in my class), I would be much obliged if you could point me to them. Ones that ones that address laissez-faire arguments specifically would be extra-good.

(note, some of these are topics, others are the names of specific articles he has given us to read)

1. Capitalism/Market System vs Socialism/Central Planning
2. Aid to Africa
3. Capitalism and the Financial Crisis (an article by Walter Williams)
4. The Hell With Our Constitution (an article by Walter Williams)
5. Hayek
6. Taxing Times (an article by Thomas Sowell)
7. Climategate-We've Been Had (an article by Walter Williams)
8. Social Security
9. Lawsuit abuse and U.S. Job Loss

I realize that I could I could find all this with an extended session on Google, but I'm hoping you can help with some memorable articles from your mental or link archives. Also, most of my reading centers around Krugman and Dean Baker and some assorted leftists, so I'm hoping you can help with perspectives I might be missing.

Bonus: How have you dealt with ideologue professors in the past?
posted by ropeladder to Law & Government (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Tyler Cowen's blog Marginal Revolution is good.

So are Felix Salmon and Yves Smith.

As for books: anything by Jeffrey Sachs would fit the bill.

More blogs: Bryan Caplan, Barry Ritholz, etc.

I would scour the above-mentioned blogs for links to academic papers and books.
posted by dfriedman at 1:35 PM on January 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: NPR:Planet money is very good about daily topics you need explained. They have a producer (paddy hirsch) do a whiteboard presentation every so often on difficult to understand aspects of the current economic/financial mess. They have website with both the white board videos and a new podcast 3 times a week. This american Life also has done several very good episodes on the current crisis they did with the planet money team.

Idealogue professors can be a problem. IF they are open to rational discourse the best way to approach them is with a very well thought out and backed up thesis-if they aren't open to rational discourse just keep you head down and pass the class.
posted by bartonlong at 1:41 PM on January 14, 2010

Sorry I should have read the question better-you need to also be open to rational discourse-maybe some of the ideas from the left are as wrong as the ideas from the right. No one party/system/idealogy has all the answers for all the circumstances. Over regulation and central planning can be just as bad as too little. The argument worth having is about the correct amount, and back up the argument with the data. The data matters, it is the only objective truth you can get.
posted by bartonlong at 1:44 PM on January 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding Marginal Revolution, It's actually two guys, Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok who both teach at George Mason.

You probably already know about Krugman's blog and the NYT also has a general Economix blog.

I don't think Uwe Reinhardt has his own blog but he is on Economix and NPR a lot and is interesting on healthcare economics.

Sorry those aren't specific articles but all of them have lots of links and I think Reinhardt's wikipedia entry has article links.
posted by ghharr at 1:51 PM on January 14, 2010

You might enjoy an article in the Jan. 11th New Yorker: John Cassidy's Letter From Chicago -- AFTER THE BLOWUP -- Laissez-faire economists do some soul-searching and finger-pointing.
posted by jon1270 at 1:54 PM on January 14, 2010

Best answer: Here's another guy from GMU I saw linked on Marginal Revolution: Charles Rowley. He seems to be doing a series of posts about macroeconomics.
posted by ghharr at 1:54 PM on January 14, 2010

Best answer: Mark Thoma and Brad DeLong both blog and link to academic papers.
posted by idb at 1:59 PM on January 14, 2010

Best answer: John Cassidy has been doing some interviews with Chicago School economists about their beliefs post-crash, and he has an article out about the same thing that is subscription only, but you can probably get it at your school library. His perspective is pretty liberal compared to the Chicago School, and his book "How Markets Fail" is a critique of neo-classical economics and its role in the recent market failure. The book is worth a read, too.
posted by hought20 at 2:04 PM on January 14, 2010

Should've previewed. I meant the same article as jon1270 mentioned. Though Cassidy's posting some of the interviews on his New Yorker blog, too.
posted by hought20 at 2:05 PM on January 14, 2010

Best answer: Steve Keen's Debtwatch is a great blog and Debunking Economics is an even better book. In it he tears down a lot of the fundamental concepts of neo-classical, "Keynsian", Marxist and Austrian economics.
posted by thekiltedwonder at 2:14 PM on January 14, 2010

Best answer: It is funny that you say that. I have been exploring the subject of alternative money and credit theories. Due to the fact that thanks to Obama the US now has a command economy--with complete control of all inflows and outflows of money [credit] associated with dollar denominated assets via a Fourth Branch of Government [Fed, Treasury, Fannie/Freddie, FDIC plus ancillaries like Goldman and AIG and ability to do currency swaps, make backchannel purchases of stocks, buy all our own debt, mortgages, etc.]--we control not only the money supply but also interest rates, mortgage rates, stock prices, inflation. etc.

Here are some starters.






Watch for Obama to announce a Job Guarantee Program during the SoU speech: "The United States will guarantee a job with a living wage and affordable healthcare to any American who wants to work."
posted by supremefiction at 2:30 PM on January 14, 2010

Best answer: Adam Smith.

posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:30 PM on January 14, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions, folks. Please keep me in mind if you come across specific articles relating to the topics above... it's fairly easy to find stuff pertaining to the topics, but finding broad synopses of the issues from different perspectives can be more difficult.
posted by ropeladder at 7:43 PM on January 14, 2010

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