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View Diary: Veblen--a political economist for today (69 comments)

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  •  I may have overstated my case but... (0+ / 0-)

    Take my alma mater (please)

    When I was taking economics at the Universty of Minnesota, the big cheese was Walter Heller--Kennedy's chairman of CEO and proud Keynesian.

    Now, the same school is filled with right-wing dorks who believe in something called "rational expectations."  (I am NOT making this up.)

    Not sad enough?  The University of Texas once had this brilliant guy named Clarence Ayres in the economics department--an Institutionalist and Veblen scholar.  Now the same school has James Galbraith (son of JK and almost as interesting) but he is over in the LBJ school of public administration.

    Nothing is fool-proof to a sufficiently talented fool

    by techno on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 09:35:37 AM PST

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    •  Where to get a PhD (0+ / 0-)

      Veblen could get a Phd at University of Utah, Colorado Boulding, UMassAmherst, Riverside California and  probably a few other places I can't think of offhand.

      BTW: the problem with economics is not econometrics (not that I am a great fan of econometrics) but of mathematics.

      Also, somebody said somewhere that Stiglitz characterized the entire profession as third rate minds. That's not quite what Stiglitz said. He made that comment in referenc to the type of graduate student who went to work for the IMF.

      Personally, I disagree. The IMF has some very bright people working with it. The problem is not a lack of intelligence but a narrowness in education and outlook.

    •  Veblen (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      techno

      I took one of Ayres's last classes before he retired. He was not easy to understand, blind in one eye and reading his lecture from very old notes. I didn't fully appreciate him and his work until after his death. The UT department gradually sloughed off all the Institutionalists, which in Ayres's day included Wendell Gordon (whose critique of free trade was devastating), Vernon Briggs (still at Cornell, I think, and an authority on border/immigration issues), and Ray Marshall (who -- like Briggs -- was not fully an Institutionalist in the Ayres mold, but a helluva liberal labor economist and Carter's Secretary of Labor) It is now a thoroughly "modern department" with no remaining Institutionalists. Marshall is also at the LBJ school.

      •  I have only read Ayres (0+ / 0-)

        And I though his books were magnificent!  And he had some interesting students like C. Wright Mills and Rick Tilman, mentioned above.

        Most interestingly for those of us who were VERY worried about the sorry condition of the Veblen farmhouse in Minnesota, Ayres' last teaching assistant was a guy by the name of Bill Melton who spent the LARGE sum of money necessary to fix the house.  

        If a teacher can be judged by his students, Ayres was a GIANT.  Of course, the rest of those you mentioned were no slouches either.  I have a personal link to Wendell Gordon and I liked him because he approved of my writing!

        Nothing is fool-proof to a sufficiently talented fool

        by techno on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 02:27:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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