(With apologies to Terry Pratchett’s “Echo gnomics”, although in this case, his “In sewer ants” is probably more appropriate.)
I’ve already mentioned that Andy’s off and running with this semester’s course, Economics. Given how he’s already mangled World History and American History, we can’t say that we’re getting our hopes up this time round. If you want to punish yourself, have a look at the lectures here.(Warning – cover your keyboard with a pillow before you do). Extra lulz for Andy listing the number of words per lecture, as if that’s more important than the content.
What we are expecting are a series of “homework” exercise, that ask vague, silly and downright insane questions. These will be answered in one or two “concise” sentences – regardless of how many points the question is worth. For extra fun, have a look at the mangled grammar the kids use, which goes uncorrected by Andy. Now, I know it’s not really fair to pick on the kids he teaches – after all, they have no say in the matter. Their religious wing-nut parents farm them off to this incompetent buffoon, thinking they are going to receive worthwhile instruction. Instead, they receive an insight into Andy’s twisted world view and singular lack of knowledge about the subject he’s teaching.
So what is most telling about the homework, is not the answers themselves, but how Andy responds to them. Let’s have a look at a couple of questions from Lecture 1’s Homework:
Define the concept of “scarcity” in your own words, and give an example of how an increase in scarcity for a good or service increases its price. Your example might be a World Series ticket (a good) or a special medical operation (a service), or anything else you can think of that is “scarce” in an economic sense. Extra credit: when do people exaggerate scarcity in their minds?
What is the “invisible hand”? Discuss what it is, using an example (which could be from the story in the lecture about the making of a pencil).
There are many parables by Jesus in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke (and one in Mark) which use familiar concepts of money and economics in order to teach a deeper, more profound spiritual point. Examples are at Matthew 13:18-23 and 44-46; Matthew 18:21-35; Matthew 20:1-16 and 21:33-46; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 7:36-50; Luke 12:13-21; Luke 14:15-24; Luke 15:8-10; Luke 16:1-13 and 19-31; Luke 18:9-14; and Luke 19:11-27. Pick one of these parables and explain both the economic point and the deeper spiritual point. Extra credit: why might the Gospel of Matthew have more economic parables than the Gospel of Mark does? blogsurfer.us
“Caveat emptor” or “carpe diem”: pick one of these concepts and explain what it means to you.
It should be pretty clear from the Bible verse question what we’re dealing with here, but what’s more telling is Andy’s understanding of the material being taught. For example, let’s look at the “Invisible hand” question. Investorwords tells me that it’s:
…the natural force that guides free market capitalism through competition for scarce resources. According to Adam Smith, in a free market each participant will try to maximize self-interest, and the interaction of market participants, leading to exchange of goods and services, enables each participant to be better of than when simply producing for himself/herself. He further said that in a free market, no regulation of any type would be needed to ensure that the mutually beneficial exchange of goods and services took place.
All very well and fine. Now let’s look at how Andy’s student answers the question.
The “invisible hand” is the influence that motives people to work harder and create their own opinions and ideas. An example where the “invisible hand” made its mark was when the USA began their mission to space so that they may prove to the Soviet Union, who at that time was the most advanced in space technology, that we can do an even better job. The “invisible hand” helped the USA to progress the knowledge of space and open more doors for the next generation.
Oh dear. When we look back at how Andy deleted that other poor student’s work, rather than mark it, this probably can’t bode to well. Except for the fact that she’s basically regurgitated everything Andy said in his lecture. Which means she gets a:
Fascinating explanation of the “invisible hand”! May use as a model.
Yes, folks. A “model answer”. Oh dear indeed. In fact, she received 102% for her paper. Which doesn’t say much really, considering the lowest mark Andy has ever given, no matter how pitiful the answers is 97%.
Actually, reading through this bit of the lecture, I love how Smith’s “in a free market, no regulation of any type would be needed to ensure that the mutually beneficial exchange of goods and services took place” becomes Andy’s, “The opposite of the “invisible hand” is government control. In dictatorships like the former communist Soviet Union under Josef Stalin, the government dictates what people will and will not do. There is no “invisible hand.” The result is often disastrous.”
It must be terrible to have such a negative and bleak world-view.
But not as terrible as being being taught by Andrew Schlafly.