Phi Beta Cons

Capitalism on Campus

If you read the story and comments, you get a big dose of the overheated rhetoric of the leftist intelligentsia.  Cary Nelson wails about “exploitation” of possible adjunct faculty members. Does it not occur to him that there are people who would be glad to have a part-time position in teaching? Why does he think that he’s able to evaluate the merits of contracts that involve other people? Furthermore, some of the comment writers are all hot and bothered over the prospect of “indoctrination” of students by professors teaching the Austrian approach to economics. In truth, the Austrian approach, with its rigorous application of the logic of individual action to economic questions, is the antithesis of indoctrination. By breaking economics down to its essential building blocks, the Austrians are not telling students what to believe, but are instead providing them with the mental tools to analyze the full impact of individual and governmental actions. I’d wager that those writers have never read so much as a page of Human Action, but they’re sure that they don’t want students reading it.
Sound economic thinking undermines many of the beloved policies of the left because it leads to the conclusion that they are counterproductive. These leftist professors fear that good economic instruction will un-do much of their efforts at indoctrinating students with anti-capitalist shibboleths like the supposed exploitation of workers.

George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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