[This is an online post that I made on December 7, 2011 to the environmental economics class that I teach online at Front Range Community College, in our General Discussion forum, where I post things to keep up my students’ interest, outside of the required material. It is a sort of end-of-year sendoff note, meant to encourage my students that what they learned in this introductory course still contains powerful ideas that are currently completely absent from mainstream economics courses, such as those thought by Dr Mankiw….]

Hello class,

Here is another article that I thought would be of interest, if you have the time….

It is from last Sunday’s New York Times editorial pages (Dec 4, 2011), where Prof Gregory Mankiw (pronounced man-queue), who’s a frequent contributor, wrote an artilce titles “Know What You’re Protesting.” In it, he talks about how some of his students (5-10%) recently staged a walkout on his class, Economics 10, in sympathy with the Occupy movement, because of “the biased nature of Economics 10 contributes to and symbolizes the increasing economic inequality in America.”

Now I’m sure Prof Mankiw is an intelligent, educated, thoughtful person; and the fact that he’s taught at Harvard for the last twenty-five years makes him an “authority.” But In the rest of the article, Professor Mankiw also makes clear that he is unaware of why economics is so unbalanced; and I suspect he has never heard about “material throughput” and why the concept demonstrates how out of balance mainstream economics is. To me, it shows how out of touch he is with environmental reality (and, from the tone of his article, how out of touch he is with sympathizers of the Occupy movement.)

So I just wanted to let you know that you know something that Prof Mankiw does not: what material throughput* in the economy is, how it is completely lacking from mainstream economic thought, and why it is so very necessary for economics to begin to consider.



* to learn about what I’m referring to, material throughput, you can view my slides class slides about the Neoclassical Economic Model and the Environment.