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S.H.A.M.E. / June 8, 2012

Steven Levitt, University of Chicago economist, gained nationwide fame and prestige after co-authoring Freakonomics, a pop economics book based partly on Levitt’s original economic research. Published in 2005, Freakonomics became an instant #1 bestseller and spawned an entire Freakonomics media franchise that included a branded Freakonomics blog (hosted on the New York Times website until 2011), a regular segment on the National Public Radio program Marketplace, a Freakonomics movie and, alas, a Freakonomics business consulting company (now called the Greatest Good).

In 2006, Time magazine solidified Levitt’s “thought leader” status by naming him one of “100 People Who Shape Our World.”* But despite Levitt’s high profile, very little has been written about his academic and ideological background. Generally Levitt is assumed to be a harmless, quirky pop economist for trivia nerds. But is that really the case?

As Steven Levitt’s S.H.A.M.E. Profile demonstrates, Levitt is a dyed-in-the-wool Chicago School neoliberal who believes in the sanctity of “the market” and a small government whose function is restricted mostly to protecting property rights. He has used “objective” economic research and mainstream credibility as cover, while attacking teachers’ unions, advocating for the privatization of prison labor, spreading crude climate denialism and promoting rank “free market” ideology that sees human labor as a resource to be extracted for maximum profit. Levitt has also developed a nasty habit of misrepresenting the research of other scientists in order to reach predefined ideological conclusions, and has failed to disclose financial conflicts of interest.

But perhaps the most disturbing thing about Levitt is his enduring interest in researching and “proving” the effectiveness of authoritarian and, some would say, borderline eugenicist policies. Aside from doing studies on the positive effects that incarceration has on society (we benefit to the tune of $15,000 per inmate per year if inmates are packed into overcrowded conditions), he published a paper that argued that an increase in abortion rates among black women in the 1970s was the main reason for a drop in crime in the 1990s. The methodology and data of his research were discredited by other economists, but Levitt stuck to his original conclusion linking race and crime: fewer African-American children correlates to less crime. Levitt’s explanation wasn’t just wrong, it was extremely sinister, reinforcing a racist stereotype of the worst kind with a seemingly modern “scientific” explanation.

Eugenics theory: alive and well in Freakonomics, the movie.

There’s one aspect of Steven Levitt’s career the profile did not have the space to delve into too deeply: Levitt’s ties to Arne Duncan, President Obama’s Education Secretary and the former head of Chicago’s public schools system.

In Freakonomics, Levitt presents Duncan as a do-gooder and a reformer whose “allegiance was with the children, not with the teachers and their unions.” One thing was true: Duncan did not like unions.

A notorious anti-union activist and crusader for school privatization, Duncan has been credited with doing more than anyone else to help bring the privatized neoliberal nightmare to Chicago’s impoverished and mostly nonwhite public schools. ”Under Duncan, Chicago took the lead in creating public schools run as military academies, vastly expanded draconian student expulsions, instituted sweeping surveillance practices, advocated a growing police presence in the schools, arbitrarily shut down entire schools and fired entire school staffs,” according to a great 2008 TruthOut report.

And Steven Levitt was right there along with Duncan. Working hand in hand with Duncan, Levitt devised a statistical method that allowed Duncan to catch and fire unionized public school teachers who supposedly cheated on standardized tests. Firing and terrorizing public school teachers—this was clearly a point of pride for Levitt. He took personal credit for sacking at least a dozen teachers, gloating in his book Freakonomics that, as a result of his method, “Chicago Public School system began to fire its cheating teachers. The evidence was only strong enough to get rid of a dozen of them, but the many other cheaters had been duly warned.”

You hear that cheatin’ teachers? There’s a new neoliberal sheriff in town and his name is Steven Levitt!

Retired public school teachers protest against Duncan in Cupertino, California

Levitt was extremely impressed with Arne Duncan’s assault on Chicago’s public education—so much so that he published a post on his New York Times Freakonomics blog titled  ”Nobody Better Than Arne Duncan“ when he heard Obama was tapping Duncan for secretary of education in 2008: “I’ve interacted with Arne a few times, and in a variety of settings. I always walk away dazzled. He is smart as hell and his commitment to the kids is remarkable. If you wanted to start from scratch and build a public servant, Arne would be the end product.”

READ STEVEN LEVITT’S S.H.A.M.E. PROFILE >>

NOTES:

*The Time magazine entry that announced Steven Levitt’s induction into the “Thought Leader Hall of Fame” was written by none other than Malcolm Gladwell.

Read Gladwell’s S.H.A.M.E. Report

 

Yasha Levine, President of S.H.A.M.E., is an investigative journalist and a founding editor of The eXiled. His work has been published by Wired, The Nation, Slate, The New York Observer and many others. He has made several guest appearances on MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show.

60 Comments

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  • 1. Matt  |  June 8th, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    But I liked this guy’s book….

    Why can’t he be an unlikable, ugly nobody like that scrotumheaded Gladwell? :(

    One question- aside from firing a bunch of teachers, what else has happened to Chicago’s school system? Has it gotten better, worse, stayed the same?

  • 2. Trevor  |  June 9th, 2012 at 6:27 am

    Black abortions reduce crime!?

    …So can we just call this guy a Nazi? ‘Cause that is some serious Nazi-talk right there.

  • 3. DeeboCools  |  June 9th, 2012 at 6:46 am

    & the hits keep coming! I watched the Freakonomics movie at some point, and although I basically bought his theory about the drop in the crime rate(in the movie he referred to the increase in abortion among “low income people,” which included but was not limited to black people) the rest of it was just whack run-of-the-mill climate change denial/re-writing. Also, shilling for the prison privatizers is fucking inexcusable.

  • 4. Sexy Claus  |  June 9th, 2012 at 7:07 am

    @Matt IT”S GOTTEN WORSE. AND ARNE DUNCAN IS OUR TOP BOSS BOSS.

  • 5. yaph  |  June 9th, 2012 at 7:08 am

    Considering his stance on prison labor maybe you should start referring to him as “noted slavery advocate Steven Levitt”. Kind of like fashion maven Gavin McInnes or Glenn Greenwald of the libertarian Cato Institute.

  • 6. Nyerd  |  June 9th, 2012 at 9:13 am

    @1

    Chicago school system got worse, or is in the process of becoming much worse. I believe Rahm Emanuel is trying to privatize the poor and poorly performing schools.

  • 7. Anarchy Pony  |  June 9th, 2012 at 9:45 am

    I see #1 up there is struggling with the whole banality of evil concept.

  • 8. James R MacLean  |  June 9th, 2012 at 10:43 am

    @Matt

    You may like his book but it’s actually very bad economics and worse policy recommendations.

    I love this profile–I appreciate that someone has pointed out what a loathsome wanker Levitt is–but it’s NOT remotely surprising.

  • 9. James R MacLean  |  June 9th, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Sorry, neglected to mention that Levitt is NOT–repeat, NOT–even remotely a “rogue” economist. He’s to orthodox economics what Cardinal Willam Levada is to Roman Catholicism.

    And I have an MA in the field, to my everlasting regret (read Steve Keen’s *Debunking Economcs* to see what I mean–Keen’s the voice of Truth).

  • 10. DrunktankDan  |  June 9th, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Wow, I had no idea. I liked his segment on NPR. . .Now I have to scream at the radio in front of my family again. I truly had no idea. Malcolm Gladwell made sense. The Atlantic Monthly and whatnot. . .
    But my aging, socialist mother likes this guy. What a punch to the nuts.

    Thanks for doing the heavy lifting again, boys. Now all I need is a fucking job so I can give you some money

  • 11. LuisManaceFrance  |  June 9th, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Yanis Varoufakis is another very good radical economist

    btw economics,despise is mathematical formalism, is a particularly underdeveloped science

  • 12. DrunktankDan  |  June 9th, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    And where the fuck can we post the AEC’s greatest hits? I’ll set up a forum somewhere else with your guy’s permission if you don’t wanna deal with it.

  • 13. dominic  |  June 9th, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Notice this and the other article are by Yasha? Its because he’s the only real journalist at eXiled! Right on Yasha, these guys are assholes.

  • 14. Matt  |  June 9th, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Dude, Ames is a God! So’s that Mexican guy and that old guy that lived on a boat! And what about Uncle Vlad? I miss his angry sense of humor! Just posting ANY article at Exile/d makes someone a god-like journalist!

  • 15. Vendetta  |  June 9th, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    And I miss War Nerd dearly…

  • 16. Tyler Bass  |  June 9th, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Yasha,

    I am a Levitt apologist, and I should have known that the AEC would wisely delete my attempts at constructing a grand rationalization for Levitt’s far-right neoliberal scumbaggery. Thank you AEC for improving me, hard as that may be.

  • 17. Tyler Bass  |  June 9th, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    CORRECTION TO: “Perhaps, one might argue, it’s as cynical as that of biological racists, who by definition have it in for one specific subset of the economic underclass.”

    Oh, gosh, there I go. I’m trying to be equal opportunity here. Actually, loads of racists hate ethnic groups who are generally wealthier, East Asian supremacists like Murray excluded. My B.

    Told ya so.

  • 18. dominic  |  June 10th, 2012 at 12:03 am

    yeah War Nerd is the man, so is his alter ego Dolan. But apparently they’re gone now. And anyway, Dolan isn’t a journalist nor does he try to be one. My point is Levine does actual journalitic research.

    Truth be told, this article isn’t really “heavy lifting,” this shit is all out in the open, this guy OPENLY attended the Chicago school, and OPENLY calls for eugenics, OPENLY preaches the unfailablity of “free markets.” But I dont want to hate, Levines track record is pretty impeccable.

    I posted elsewhere that by going after these guys and McArdle they’re after some low hanging fruit, the real work is gonna come when he tries to prove to liberals that whats his name on MSNBC is a shill, and proving to Lefties that Glenn Greenwald is a wolf in sheeps clothing.

    I declare he’s just getting warmed up.

  • 19. CensusLouie  |  June 10th, 2012 at 12:09 am

    “The Greatest Good”

    “Thought Leader”

    A one-two punch of complete lack of self-awareness, all leading back to the triple decker granddaddy, conservatives constantly troting out the phrase “big brother” as an empty slur against policies they don’t like.

    Using Orwellian phrases to support authoritarian policies is downright…Orwellian.

  • 20. dustbunny  |  June 10th, 2012 at 12:50 am

    Hey Matt, if you want to know what is happening to public education these days then check out the excellent documentary, “The War On Kids”. Some of the footage was absolutely shocking, like SWAT teams holding kids at gunpoint on the floor during random “anti-drug” raids.

  • 21. Matt  |  June 10th, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Does anyone have a link to view The War On Kids?

  • 22. Sir Hendersson  |  June 10th, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    @Matt
    You can purchase it on plastic from http://www.thewaronkids.com/MAIN.html or if you belong to the lumpenproletariat you probably download it from pirate sites by searching for the titel and adding the word “torrent”. Or so I have heard, not that I or ths fine establishment would ever endorse such a thing. Learning how not to pay may after all bring down capitalism as we know it, and that I have on solid information from my good friends who just happens to be record company executives.

  • 23. rehmat1  |  June 10th, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    me-> :-( ===3 <—cock eater

    ^–eating his cock

  • 24. Punjabi From Karachi  |  June 10th, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    I actually liked his book—AEC INTERRUPTS THIS LEVITT APOLOGIST MESSAGE TO WARN YOU: LEVITT APOLOGISTS (ESPECIALLY APOLOGISTS FOR LEVITT’S BORDERLINE EUGENICIST “RESEARCH”) TEND TO WRITE LONGWINDED, HALF-GUARDED APOLOGIES WITH CAVEATS AND COROLLARIES. COMES WITH THE TERRITORY, WE GUESS—although the vast details given on testing made me uncomfortable, made me more uncomfortable when I could see the incentives to cheat and added more discomfort when I saw how in an environment where cheating was being created as an incentive teachers were being busted for a crime that was built into the system to look more palatable to them professionally.

    I did like the book, and before you guys attack Krugman, I have to give the bearded one props for already shouting at the Chicago School of Economics by saying, where the hell were they in predicting this 2008 economic crisis; all they did was lay the groundwork for it or produce freakonomics.

    His snook at these people made me a little happy, cause it’s true & Chicago economics is depressing & empirically they failed, but sad as well because I did like Freakonomics the book.

    I really would like a serious answer for the drop in crime rates in the early nineties, and a demographic analysis would certainly not be a bad place to start.

    Poor areas and poor people see more violent crime, and if legalised abortion is available, sadly, it would make sense that poor women would take advantage of it and prevent themselves from having another mouth to feed.

    How the heck did Levine get from legalised abortions, of which poor people are likely to take more advantage of, to eugenics?

    Yasha Levine lives in a large urban area, and I’m sure he’s glad not to face a large crime wave in Los Angeles. And after 1973, the use of abortion in giving women an option to have a child or not, has to count for something in those who are unable to give a child a proper environment, not dealing with a ward they are unable to raise well, yet simultaneously passing that offspring onto the public as a cost, in terms of crime, truancy, imprisonment and a bit of a danger to society.

    I would also make the argument that available abortion after 1973 may have made Gen-X, Gen-Y & the Millenials more smarter and technically capable than the Baby Boomers. Conversely, the lack of more “rougher” members of these age cohorts may have made Gen-X, Gen-Y & the Millenials more molly coddled & less likely to revolt against injustices, both collective & social.

    I would give Mumblecore, the tolerance for & non-toppling of the Bush regime, and the late starts of the #Occupy movement, for my latter argument on the negative side effects of legalised abortion.

  • 25. Punjabi From Karachi  |  June 10th, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Second paragraph, correction; last line: injustices both collective & individual.

    TOLD YA SO

  • 26. Punjabi From Karachi  |  June 10th, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Dammit, now you got me rummagin around here & here

    DOUBLE TOLD YA.

  • 27. Punjabi From Karachi  |  June 10th, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Hey Exile,

    How about YOU Tell us why city crime suddenly died down in the early nineties in the US?

    I’m looking for answers, and for some reason I think you should give me those answers without me having to pay a red cent because I’m a cheap worthless fuckwad.

  • 28. Punjabi From Karachi  |  June 10th, 2012 at 8:07 pm

    Cheap?
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  • 29. Punjabi From Karachi  |  June 10th, 2012 at 8:37 pm

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  • 30. Punjabi From Karachi  |  June 10th, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    ;-) :D

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  • 31. helplesscase  |  June 11th, 2012 at 4:33 am

    Do we even know definitively that crime rates went down? Always assumed that cops were massaging the data…

  • 32. Joel Handley  |  June 11th, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Fucking fantastic work Exiled! Just donated $50 to SHAME. Ames, you’re a hero. And, anyone that wants to know the state of Chicago Public Schools post-Duncan and still under his neoliberal influence, check it out here: http://occupiedchicagotribune.org/2012/03/chicago-public-schools-vs-the-public/

    And here: http://occupiedchicagotribune.org/2012/02/ausl-teachers-speak-out-its-gotten-so-bad/

    THE AEC BLESSES AND WATCHES OVER YOU AND ALL YOUR OFFSPRING, AND YOUR OFFSPRINGS’ OFFSPRINGS, MR JOEL HANDLEY.

  • 33. LIExpressway  |  June 11th, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I’m a native New Yorker. I don’t know about your city but abortions have jack shit to do with the drop in urban crime here in the past 20 years. I don’t know about your city but I’m sure each one is different. If your a New Yorker and actually think abortions is what’s making our streets safer than please continue to smoke pAint.

  • 34. Jim Vail  |  June 11th, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    The book Freakanomics was overblown by the corporate media.
    Here’s the thing on Duncan from an insider in the windy city. Mayor Daley named him “CEO” of Chicago Public Schools, a total no name after he fired Paul Vallas, and who used his position to launch his governor run. Vallas was the one who started the massive privatization drive in Chicago.

    Duncan was a no-name, that’s how Daley worked, to stick it to anyone trying to campaign and promote themselves outside the machine, on the machine dime.

    So one teacher working in the bi-lingual dept. when Duncan took over asked him to help with a policy question. Duncan threw his hands up and said, I don’t know anything about the public schools. His claim to fame was playing b-ball in Australia and tutoring with his mama for a short time. His true creds were Harvard class of politicos (Obama, etc.) who hooked up with da machine.
    The rest is history.

  • 35. nestore  |  June 11th, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    @sirhendersoncocksucker
    dont throw around big words like “lumpenproletariat” unless you know what they mean.

  • 36. Sir Hendersson  |  June 12th, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Dear Nestore,
    I do thank you for your kind offer to clean my rooster orally. But I assure you, there is really no need.

    However, I get the impression that I have offended you somehow. Do you perhaps frequent these pirate sites without seeing yourself as a member of the refuse of society? Do not worry, you will be there soon enough.

  • 37. matt  |  June 12th, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Whenever you’re looking for info on the ways in which the top 1% are fucking us over, just look to counterpunch:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/12/29/arne-duncan-s-dark-years-in-chicago/

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/12/18/arne-duncan-s-privatization-agenda/

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/08/24/obama-and-duncan-s-education-policy-like-bush-s-only-worse/

    Subscribe to CP and donate to the eXiled/SHAME project. I always manage to donate to all of the above and save enough money for liquor/cheap food, just like any good ‘merican.

  • 38. COCK EATERR  |  June 12th, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    i pledge from now on to read all exiled articles *before* commenting on them because i am COCK EATERR

    also make ames write about the time he got arrested in high desert.

  • 39. Peter  |  June 13th, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Anyone want to have a betting pool on who will be next? Levine seems to have a hard-on for supposedly a-political gee-whiz wonk types, so that could mean Steve Pinker or one of those guys, but something tells me they won’t be able to keep from going after Megan McArdle or Glenn Greenwald of the libertarian Cato Institute for this long… My money’s on McArdle.

  • 40. yeah  |  June 13th, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Freakonomics-schmuconomics!

    Actually, no matter how racist or nazi this sounds (hate nazis bastards!) – the fact is, if black people would cease reproducing, the crime rate WOULD go down. You don’t have to be a fuckin’ Einstein to realize that. But what the fuck does a bottom nazi like me know anyway? Financial crime, environmental crime, real estate crime, medical crime—these have been going way way up, despite my eugenicist fantasies about black people and all the crimes they commit. Scary right? Hey, I just love being rammed with a big spiked buttplug dialed to the DOW JONES INDUSTRIAL AVERAGE. Go go go go!

    Not that I like this Levitt guy. Effin jew. I am just saying. Some things are just that obvious. Slurrrrrrp. Slurrrrp.
    So what?

  • 41. Galtic Warrior  |  June 13th, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    In a global economy, we need kids who can COMPETE with other markets, and what drives these markets are BUSINESSES. Not worthless stupid garbage like “literature”, or “sociology”. Teachers should stick to the FACTS, we don’t need them telling their kids to support their unions anymore!

    Everything can be measured in numbers; FACTS. the easiest way to define something is through numbers. Which is why, trhough the power of the free market, we can hold children as well as teachers -accountable- through results.

    Kids need to learn early that not everyone gets a damn trophy, that if everyone gets a trophy, then the trophies are meaningless. In life, YOU LOSE, and it will be YOUR FAULT. The best way to get this into kids is to force them to create value and COMPETE in school.

    In the real world. if you don’t produce, you’re FIRED. I can’t think of a more qualified old teachers accountable through TESTS administered by people who know how to PRODUCE>

    The Illuminati has almost completely indoctrinated children (PROOF: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFohsiwXhyE, but our brilliant minds of the world of finance can save them yet!

    THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE AEC ADOPT-A-TROLL FOUNDATION. BECAUSE EVEN TROLLS DESERVE A SECOND CHANCE.®

  • 42. yeah  |  June 14th, 2012 at 10:16 am

    So you guys improve retarded comments on your own stories? All I can say is “thank you, thank you lord thank you!”

  • 43. credit  |  June 14th, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Another reason violent crimes fell in the 90s was a wider use of credit cards. It became much easier to cheat with credit cards to get money than to rob a person or do a burglary. Once credit will become unavailable to masses again, violent crimes will go up regardless of abortion laws.

  • 44. maus  |  June 15th, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    I like these articles, and I like the takedown, but I think the Pro-life types of arguments against the guy detract from the rest.

    NICE TRY, BUDDY. BUT YOU CAN’T SNEAK A CRUDE TROLLING STRATEGY LIKE THAT THROUGH HERE. EXILED READERS ARE TO SMART, THEIR WISDOM FLOWS DIRECTLY FROM THE ALL-TROLL-KNOWING, ALL-TROLL-SEEING AEC. TRY REDDIT, A PERFECT PLACE FOR A YOUNG INEXPERIENCE BOTTOM TROLL LIKE YOU TO DEVELOP & LEARN SO THAT MAYBE ONE DAY YOU CAN TRY AND TEST YOUR TROLL POWERS AGAINST THE AEC, UNDEFEATED WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT BAGRTOLL CHAMPION.

  • 45. Anarchy Pony  |  June 15th, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    Once again Galtic Warrior rears his ugly head, and once again I can’t tell if he’s actually serious. Is that actually one of the Head Exholes screwing with us? No one could actually be that callous and mechanistic, could they?

  • 46. Bedtime 4 Bonzo  |  June 16th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    S.H.A.M.E. is an ok project name, but what if these shills have no shame and, therefore, can’t be shamed?
    May I suggest Project E.T.H.I.C.S., Expose The Hacks In Corporate Shillery?

    or how about (R)equiring (I)n (M)edia (J)ustice (O)ver (B)usiness?

    or my favorite:
    (F)inally (E)xposing (L)azy (L)iars (A)nd (T)heir (E)nablers – Project F.E.L.L.A.T.E.

  • 47. Mike  |  June 16th, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    A few links to studies and other economists would be nice. This article basically reads as “Levitt sucks people said so.”

  • 48. TheBorg  |  June 17th, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Well done, Sir!

    SHAME is very exciting and I believe this might be the right time to post a well-deserved GIF:

    http://www.junglesound.net/stuff/clap.gif

  • 49. tt  |  June 17th, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    Wow, talk about picking lowhanging fruit. Drill any economist long enough on utilitarianism and efficiency and you will get crazylooking answers.Instead of “exposing” his views, prove why they are false. If they are true ,then there is no problem IMO.

    Oblig:
    Im a Kockstooge-crazy-Randian-teabagging-fraud! There, I proved it!

  • 50. nestore  |  June 17th, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    @ 47. Mike

    the article reads
    “leavit sucks and heres leavit proving and expanding on that comment it in his own published,readily available words”

  • 51. DtD  |  June 17th, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    Aw, yall had to drop the hammer on Punjab? He’s not so bad. A lot of his comments are heartfelt and generally accurate.

    Then again, to even be noticed, nay, to be TOUCHED by the divine AEC, is a privilege that some of us can only dream about. Keep your chin up, Punjabi, for you have made a sufficient splash in the pacific ocean of the Exile to attract the godling’s attention. You must be saying something of substance that is interesting and/or retarded.

    DrunktankDan

  • 52. Jacob  |  June 18th, 2012 at 10:43 am

    The vilification of Milton Friedman is justified. Read his signature book “Capitalism and Freedom” that was written in the 60s, and then compare it to ANY freshman economics textbook that’s use at ANY community college or university in the United States. There is no difference. What does that say? Yes, we have been taken over by the Friedman-pods. Milton Friedman might have rubbed the wrong way the quasi-communist and quasi-marxist lefties of the American liberal arts academia and earned their hatred forever—which is totally justified. Even his own mother hated him. Dumped him in a trash bin right after she pulled the little monster out of herself. However, you can call Friedman a mainstream economist by today’s standards. And that’s scary. Not left, not right, simply standard mainstream economist. Double scary.

    As for being anti-labor, you definitely not joking. There is a strong agreement among today’s economists that organized labor, the way it exists today, is a necessary thing. You don’t have to be economist to see that. You have already witnessed the near bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler, which was as a result of CEO/executive plunder of the company, requiring the government to bail them and UAW out. You can also see the derelict school system with the lowest test scores among developed countries, which is a result of the defunding of education, and the local and state governments that are being bankrupted by Wall Street bloodsuckers through debt and bonds. Organized labor is a MONOPOLY FOR THE PEOPLE. I agree that we should hate the monopoly if it’s a private business, but not the monopoly power of unions.

    Amen.

  • 53. LuisManaceFrance  |  June 18th, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    #52: I can tell you from personal experience,in most economics departments Keynesianism is taken seriously only in a very watered down version(basically what pass for “keynesianism” is the neo-classical synthesis,far more Samuelson and Hicks than Keynes) and Milton Friedman is still a sort of demigod,”The Father of Us all” like one of my professor said.

    Most modern economics is primarily ideology dressed in the garb of science.

  • 54. Jacob  |  June 18th, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    It seems like someone improved and un-reversed the meaning of every sense in my post #52. Man, I don’t know what to say. [AEC KNOWS WHAT YOU CAN SAY. HOW ABOUT A BIG FUCKING THANK YOU, FOLLOWED BY A FAT JUICY DONATION.] After having been a web bagwhore for 13 years, I have never seen my comment improved–man it changed my life!–and you guys didn’t even get hacked, right?! Awesome, dudes! Thank you thank you thank you. If it is confirmed that the AEC, who lords over this holy web site and dispenses righteousness, is behind editing of the comments, I must say that this web site must have just hit an all time high for me, and I was reading exile.ru since around 2001! So you know that high is REALLY high! It was great, but it seems like all good things must come to an even gooder greatness, and its time for us to move on and make that donation!

  • 55. Jesse  |  June 19th, 2012 at 5:42 am

    He’s just another cheerleader for greed.

    Every society vitally depends on many individual volunteer acts of solidarity. But there are always shirkers. Sometimes acting or refusing to act in private, hidden ways. But they also can become bold and shout their justifications for refusing volunteer service. They like to feel righteous in their shirking and they gain strength and comfort from banding together. But their success is ultimately their undoing. When fewer and fewer people volunteer for the common good, the social atmosphere becomes less and less pleasant. In the end, each man walls himself up behind individual security and life becomes social hell.

  • 56. darthfader  |  June 19th, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    You can tell a class-obsessed “liberal” pseudo-intellectual apart from a respectable human by listening for his distinctive call: “Freak-freak-freakonomics! Planetmoney! Planetmoney!”

  • 57. slaptboggwithrottedcheese  |  June 20th, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    Why are you complaining about this guy? You Obot fucks should love this guy.

  • 58. Kevin  |  June 23rd, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    Levitt has never advocated for eugenics policy. I know you guys want to believe this stuff, but there’s no substance behind it.

    In his paper, Donohue and Levitt write:
    While falling crime rates are no doubt a positive development, our drawing a link between falling crime and legalized abortion should not be misinterpreted as either an endorsement of abortion or a call for intervention by the state in the fertility decisions of women. Furthermore, equivalent reductions in crime could in principle be obtained through alternatives for abortion, such as more effective birth control, or providing better environments for those children at greatest risk for future crime.

    True, in their paper, Donohue and Levitt also write:
    “Fertility declines [due to legalized abortion] for black women are three times greater than for whites (12 percent compared with 4 percent). Given that homicide rates of black youths are roughly nine times higher than those of white youths, racial differences in the fertility effects of abortion are likely to translate into greater homicide reductions. Under the assumption that those black and white births eliminated by legalized abortion would have experienced the average criminal propensities of their respective races, then the predicted reduction in homicide is 8.9 percent.”

    But just because they write that aborting more black babies means less crime, doesn’t mean that they’re saying aborting more black babies means less crime. Ergo, there is no reason for the New York Times and others to write about accusations of eugenics. Yep, that makes sense all right!

  • 59. Epsilon  |  July 8th, 2012 at 11:05 am

    In order:

    The Chicago School of Economics is the official religion on Wall Street (and the US’s congress). The word of Saint Friedman is law. Nobody that criticizes it gets too far in there.

    Which is why the Keynesians vs. Austrians debate is so pathetically irrelevant.

    Anybody that says “private prisions are good” is a fucker. Period.

    Ultra-creepy pro-eugenics arguments like “overpopulation” and “the childrens of poor people” are a good way to detect people that you don’t want in a political movement….or anywere close to you.

    The swift crushing of anything resembling an actual Labor Union is what makes the American mainstream “Left” a funny parody, that wastes it’s time with stuff as relevant as angels dancing in the head of a pin.

    While Galtic Warrior is a very obvious troll, I believe that Liberal Arts are scams ran by monsters that would rather let a pedophile run amok than doing anything to endanger their gross amount of advertising money due to the above.

  • 60. Bob  |  March 13th, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    I’d love to have my faith in Levitt restored somehow. I’m going to pretend that I didn’t read this, it pains me.


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