Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Libertarian Republican Import -- Texas Textbooks and Giants in Economics


Thanks to the efforts of the hardright conservative majority on the Texas Board of Education, two Libertarian Giants in Economics will now be studied in State High Schools.

From the NY Times, Justin Wolfers (Freakonomics), "Hayek propped up by Government Intervention", March 15:
How do they plan to rewrite high school economics?

In economics, the revisions add Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek, two champions of free-market economic theory, to the usual list of economists to be studied – economists like Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Maynard Keynes
Wolfers goes on to heartily approve of Friedman's inclusion, but not necessarily of Hayek. He believes him to be too obscure, based on relatively low amount of Google searches he receives in relation to other better known economists:

Sure, Hayek was an insightful economist. But insisting that high schools teach Hayek is a clear statement of ideology, not of economic science.
Free Market Mojo blogger responds to Wolfers:
Um, what’s the problem? Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek are tremendously influential figures, not just in the field of economics. Can a truly honest study of the past century ignore their contributions to the world? I don’t think so. Mention them and criticize them if you must, but don’t ignore them.
There were other changes of note. Interestingly, the term "capitalism" was replaced in the textbooks by "free enterprise." additionally, early reports from Leftist bloggers had Thomas Jefferson removed from any mention in history books. This is incorrect. Jefferson was removed from only discussions of the enlightenment section not of American history. (Source: Village Voice)