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Greg Mankiw Should Try To Make A Honest Living

Summary:
[embedded content]A Discussion On The Best (or Worst) Of Mankiw Peter Bofinger has expanded a series of tweets to point out some stuff that is just wrong in Mankiw's introductory textbook. The video above is a virtual panel discussion in which Mankiw graciously pretends to respond to Bofinger. Rüdiger Bachmann and Anna Reisch also participate. I do not know the host, Thomas Fricke. Questions from the audience are fielded towards the end. I concentrate on Sascha Buetzer (1:07:45) below. Other questions are from Janina Urban (1:18:41) and Thomas Kopp (1:21:29). I am probably missing something. I wonder whether Anna Reisch knows about Adolph Lowe's political economics. I know of this through his 1965 book On Economic Knowledge. I gather Lowe thought it was the task of economists to say

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A Discussion On The Best (or Worst) Of Mankiw

Peter Bofinger has expanded a series of tweets to point out some stuff that is just wrong in Mankiw's introductory textbook. The video above is a virtual panel discussion in which Mankiw graciously pretends to respond to Bofinger. Rüdiger Bachmann and Anna Reisch also participate. I do not know the host, Thomas Fricke. Questions from the audience are fielded towards the end. I concentrate on Sascha Buetzer (1:07:45) below. Other questions are from Janina Urban (1:18:41) and Thomas Kopp (1:21:29). I am probably missing something.

I wonder whether Anna Reisch knows about Adolph Lowe's political economics. I know of this through his 1965 book On Economic Knowledge. I gather Lowe thought it was the task of economists to say whether a given end state is internally consistent and to explain how it could be reached.

I want to point out some hypocrisy from Mankiw. He does not even bother arguing that Bofinger has pointed out confusion and nonsense in his textbook. He says that he sees his job as presenting the consensus of mainstream economics, not his own theories. He tries to minimize the imposition of his own idiosyncrasies. Now Buetzer is, if I hear correctly, the senior advisor to the German director to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Buetzer offers the difficult proposition that "textbooks should strive to be factually correct." And one of his points is that, "all modern empirical evidence ... point to ... there is no equity-efficiency tradeoff from moderate levels of redistribution, but rather the opposite." This is the "mainstream in mainstream institutions". Does Mankiw say he will then update his textbook in the next edition to reflect the mainstream view? Of course not. He starts presenting his own idiosyncratic reasons for rejecting empirical evidence.

Economists should strive not to teach falsehoods and nonsense and not to promote the teaching of falsehoods and nonsense. Maybe Mankiw is correct that if he discarded from his textbooks stuff that is, at best, just wrong, his textbooks would not sell as well. That is no justification for retaining balderdash. Although Mankiw may disagree, he is not entitled to an income from textbooks.

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