This is a recent PS I attached to an e mail sent to my famil.
PS - you might find this interesting . . . or not.
Regardless of the ideological view one holds, a coherent understanding of history can certainly inform the application of that ideology to contemporary challenges. The recent controversy over fiscal and monetary policy and commentary by pundits across the ideological spectrum reflect a breathtaking lack of basic historical knowledge. I suppose I am pontificating as I just graded the finals in my US Economic History class and once again must confront my failure to meaningfully increase a basic understanding of economic history.
This past summer of teaching reminds me that deeply held beliefs will almost always trump history, empiricism and fact (whatever that is). The youtube comment by Steve Horowitz shows an academic who consistently and civilly works to confront these deeply held beliefs with fact.
His youtube above reflects a thoughtful (and I think civil) attempt to correct fundamental errors in history and to open a dialogue that is constructive. I happened to catch Maddow the other night as she struggled to set aside her ideological zest to comment on Mark Hatsfield. While she was able to articulate a part of his contributions to US economic and political history (like Ron Paul, Hatsfield opposed war in a clear and civil manner, often placing him at the margin of his political party). Maddow, like pundits on the right, was unable to resist the gibe jab that undercut her effort to find common ground across different perspectives.
I know some of the extended clan spend time online and these blogs are a wonderful effort to extend the work of civil and engaged discourse:
The Communication Problem is a blog that takes its name from the basic economic problem - how to coordinate diverse and changing expectations, wants, and needs and the impact upon society from addressing this problem or challenge.
CATO - just like The United Auto Workers do not deserve to be condemned and are misinterpreted, so is CATO - this discussion at CATO BLOG is always provocative and inclusive.
The current debate - The New Girl Order is reflective of the topics discussed on a monthly basis, although civility sometimes suffers in the heat of the debate.
Finally, EconTalk, for those of you who are into the podcast world is a must listen each week - much more indepth and diverse than NPR.
AUGUST 8, 2011
Satz on Markets
Hosted by Russ Roberts
Debra Satz, Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about her book, Why Some Things Should Not Be For Sale: The Moral Limits of the Market. Satz argues that some markets are noxious and should not be allowed to operate freely. Topics discussed include organ sales, price spikes after natural disasters, the economic concept of efficiency and utilitarianism. The conversation includes a discussion of the possible limits of political intervention and whether it would be good to allow voters to sell their votes.
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