The course I teach is a broad survey of mainstream economics. It includes ideas of many greats in the field, like Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Arthur Pigou, John Maynard Keynes and Milton Friedman.He then follows up with:
That is not to say that economists understand everything. The recent financial crisis, economic downturn and meager recovery are vivid reminders that we still have much to learn.Uh, duh.Wouldn't it help in understanding financial crises if Mankiw included in his course the teachings of Ludwig von Mises and F.A. Hayek, who developed a theory of the business cycle and whose students were at the forefront in warning about the developing financial crisis?
There is one correct point, though, that Mankiw does make in his columnt:
I applaud the protesters for thinking beyond their own parochial concerns and trying to make society a better place for everyone.This is true. The protesters, for the most part, seem poorly informed. They should have walked out of Mankiw's class because he teaches a course that is nothing but a course in mainstream propaganda. His course apologizes for government interventions in the economy that perpetuate crisis and distortions, and at the same time the course shoves down the black hole the one group of economists, the Austrian school, who tell theory like it is and are not afraid to stand up to the elitist powers that be. That is a really damn good reason to walkout of Mankiw's class and never come back.
But my second reaction was sadness at how poorly informed the Harvard protesters seemed to be. As with much of the Occupy movement across the country, their complaints seemed to me to be a grab bag of anti-establishment platitudes without much hard-headed analysis or clear policy prescriptions.