Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Robert Reich's F Minus In Economics: False Facts, False Theories

I am appalled by the economic illiteracy encountered in leading newspapers, business magazines, and prominent web sites (the news section of the Wall Street Journal is no exception). Robert Reich’s Higher Wages Can Save America’s Economy – and Its Democracy (Salon.com) is only one of many examples. As a teacher of economics for over forty years and a co-author of a best-selling 1980s economics 101 textbook, I would have given Reich’s paper a resounding F, if he had submitted it for my elementary economics class.

Reich’s elevated credentials point to an automatic A+.  As a frequent TV pundit, author of 13 books, Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley no less, and self-identified as one of the nation’s leading experts on work and the economy,” many readers will automatically believe his economic nonsense. As a former Secretary of Labor, readers would be surprised to learn that Reich does not appear to understand how wages and labor markets work.

Reich’s resume raises one red flag: He is not an economist but a lawyer – a Yale Law School classmate of Hillary Clinton, who studied a smattering of economics for his PPE (politics, philosophy, and economics) degree at Oxford – a Rhodes Scholar no less. I am no formal credentials snob. Non PhD economists, such as Robert Samuelson, write very good economics. Robert Reich is not one of them.

go to forbes.com 

1 comment:

  1. The title of the article improves if 'false assumptions' is also added to it: "Robert Reich's F Minus In Economics: False Assumptions, False Facts, False Theories"

    Reich is inventive and good at fiction (The New York Times): After publishing "Locked in the Cabinet" about his Clinton years, he was criticized for embellishing events with invented dialogue. Then, in the paperback version, he revised some and omitted some others (of the inventions).

    See: The New York Times - February 24, 1998: Carvajal,Doreen. "Now! Read the True (More or Less) Story!; Publishers and Authors Debate the Boundaries Of Nonfiction".