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View Diary: Heritage's in-house white supremacist got raw deal because HARVARD (118 comments)

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  •  Instinct-driven people, whose primary modes (4+ / 0-)

    of expression are imitation and repetition (repetition is nothing more than imitation of oneself) do well at educational institutions such as Harvard or the University of Chicago, if they have good memories. The case study method, which Harvard employs in educating lawyers, relies largely on memorization and the ability to call up and cite precedential decisions. There is little processing of information involved. Ditto for the social sciences that accumulate data, subject them to statistical analysis and then publish their projections as results. Economic analysis also assumes that, what was and is, will be. It's the kind of analysis which led the elecrtic energy industry to project that energy consumption would increase 7% per year indefinitely back in the '70s, when they were still touting nuclear plants. That the actual record has been in the range of 2% and in 2011 there was an actual decrease of electricity utilization has been most upsetting and not often mentioned in the popular press. The prospect of no or little profit is what accounts for why current users are now being dunned for future plant construction in states like Georgia. Wall Street won't invest in non-profit energy generation.
    The Koch Brothers bought Georgia Pacific, but only so they could shut down their renewable resource (wood pellet) energy plants -- i.e. buy out and shut down the competition with coal generation.
    When the regulatory regime doesn't support monopoly operations, the dollar comes in handy. The Kochs, and others of their ilk, are monopolists. They also bought up Dupont to acquire and monopolize their artificial fiber patents. Then, when the Dupont chemists developed new patents, the Kochs sued to enforce a non-compete agreement and lost.
    I'm not sure why it does not register with some people that monopoly is a losing proposition and that "too big to fail" is a delusion.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue May 14, 2013 at 01:51:33 AM PDT

    •  Not entirely fair or true (10+ / 0-)

      Harvard's arts and science departments produce, in general, rigorous and original graduate research for phd dissertations.  It isn't fair to say they are all replicants.

      The Kennedy School is not an A&S department but a separate school. Quite evidently it has lower standards for earning degrees than actual departments.  Richwine's dissertation would never ever have been successful defended (or even had its topic approved) in political science or psychology.  He got away with it because the K School PhD is not about training researchers but credentialing political hacks.  As many of us who are academics have commented in the last few days, this is a K School problem; that it tars the reputation of the real research programs at Harvard is unfortunate, but then so did the recent actions of Rogoff and Reinhart, who are in the actual economics department.

      Richwine's dissertation would not have been approved for an MA thesis in my R1 research PhD program.  But it doesn't reflect the bankruptcy of either PhD education or Harvard as a whole.

      Yet.  As in everything else the pressure on phd programs everywhere is to accelerate and publicize, leading to corners being cut

      •  Or as someone called Reinhart & Rogoff (6+ / 0-)

        "Rogaine and Stroganoff."

        I forget who came up with it, but I saw it on Kos in the last few days and can't stop chuckling.

      •  Instinct-driven people are, in some ways, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        whaddaya

        ideal teachers or transmitters of information because they have no difficulty regurgitating what they took in. And, being creatures of habit helps when there's a professional routine to be acquired and followed with little or no variation.
        The only Harvard graduate I know personally was a legacy, who got a degree in math, as did her dad, and then decided to study midwifery and is now delivering babies in upstate New York.
        People who like to accumulate stuff make good researchers. Why the social sciences are hung up on predictions is sort of a puzzlement. One suspects there's an impulse to make reality fit a pattern. It's an impulse that conflicts with human variability, much as memory conflicts with mobility.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Tue May 14, 2013 at 04:23:55 AM PDT

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      •  Harvard GSAS (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        whaddaya, RocketJSquirrel

        Thanks RocketJScquirrel,

        I got my PhD at Harvard's Graduate School of Ars & Sciences and I truly believe Richwine's dissertation would have been thrown out there.

        As I've said, for every Richwine and Ferguson there are dozens of brilliant students and faculty at Harvard doing important work.  

        No institution is infallible.

        The opposite of "good" is "good intention" - Kurt Tucholsky

        by DowneastDem on Tue May 14, 2013 at 05:21:56 AM PDT

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      •  Didn't realize he was at the Kennedy School (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        whaddaya

        That makes more sense. Although I do know someone who graduated from the Kennedy School, she didn't use her degree for much of anything, but she's damn smart and would have never done "research" like Richwine's.

      •  it's a nursery for think tank propagandists... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        whaddaya

        that's impression that this affair leaves. The school is churning out people destined for wingnut welfare positions, who write what the 1% want to hear.

        The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

        by richardak on Tue May 14, 2013 at 10:34:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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