Our State (and University) is for Sale

Art Pope bought it.

A full 75% of external funding to Republican (all) campaigns in 2010 can be traced to this one man. 

I'm still relatively new to this beautiful state of North Carolina, mostly wrapped up in my own research interests and national politics, and still loathsomely ignorant about local politics.  My ignorance is loathsome because unless we all pay a little more attention, politics gets reduced to the least common denominator.

Here's the story in the New Yorker.

And here's the story on NPR.  You can find the above statistic at around 6 min. 30 sec. into the story.

It's not just politics.  It affects our public university.  As the article notes, Pope gave a half million dollars to the economics department here at NCSU and the big speakers are selected first for their ideological leanings.  I've heard a few quiet grumblings about this, but I never fully understood the financial underpinnings.

Our fearless leaders in this university should recognize how short sited it is to pander to such politicized money.  It raises a big red flag to serious scholars of all political stripes: don't come here. This cheapens the university and the degrees we give.

Comments

  1. Yep, you're right. This is an important story...but the mainstream media is largely ignoring it because they are owned by corporations.

    Will conservative corporate Republicans stop at nothing to brainwash future generations into believing that their discredited economic policies are actually valid? Apparently not.

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  2. Glad my econ major son decided not to attend NCSU. Sounds like a lesser version of George Mason's econ dept.

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  3. Gutsy! You are to be applauded for taking a risk at revealing such an unpleasant, unfortunate truth. Hopefully the right people will be wise enough to see the long term damage they are creating by allowing institutions and people to be so willingly if not eagerly controlled. At what cost are they willing to compromise integrity and the values upon which a university, a state, a nation were built? Appreciate your courage and insightful analysis.

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  4. Economics is economics. There is no right wing or left wing economics. Except for some people that their ideology gets in the way of them doing "economics".

    By far this is more common on the left. Just look at Paul Krugman. He is not an expert on Macro far from it. However he will say things along the lines of :"Extending the unemployment benefits will stimulate the economy"

    Every economist knows this is false (if they don't they shouldn't be called economists).

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  5. It is grimly amusing to watch Pope's man at the N&O do his defensive best to defend his friends at the various Pope outposts. For today's example:
    http://www.newsobserver.com/2011/10/09/1551327/nc-isnt-in-popes-pocket.html

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  6. Anonymous: I'm not sure what you mean by "economics is economics." We practitioners often like to think this is a science like any other. But it can be more difficult in economics to not let our political, philosophical and ideological leanings get in the way of our judgement about how the economy actually works. To deny that such things influence economic analysis seems naive.

    I think Krugman actually practices that science pretty well. He uses models and evidence to guide is view of how things work, as well as his policy prescriptions. His academic (and other) detractors fail by this basic standard pretty badly.

    It's a sad era for conservative-leaning macroeconomists these days. They tie themselves up in knots reconciling their worldview the the facts that make up today's economy. I wish Krugman had better adversaries than he does. I wish Milton Friedman were still around--he might have an interesting argument to make.

    And if you don't think Krugman is an expert in macro, well I think you need to learn a little more economics.

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  7. You didn't answer my comment about Krugman and the minimum wage. Perhaps it's because it's all ideology.

    And anyone that has knowledge is economics, knows that Krugman is using models that were killed in the 70's and 80's by people like Sargent and Sims.

    If you don't know that, you should learn a little bit more economics. Before blogging about these issues.

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  8. Anonymous: I'm not sure what question you're talking about. Perhaps it is posted somewhere else--I don't always check the comments.

    In my reading of Krugman, he does not generally favor minimum wage laws. That, I believe, is one good example to show he tries to be scientifically minded and not wedded to an ideological or party line. You can read this position here:

    http://www.pkarchive.org/cranks/LivingWage.html


    But I'd guess he would not recommend lowering the minimum wage right now. I draw this inference from his new macro model with Eggertsson:

    www.princeton.edu/~pkrugman/debt_deleveraging_ge_pk.pdf

    Ah, just found a comment about this. Here Krugman explains his position on the minimum wage right now, which is about what I would have expected:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/16/would-cutting-the-minimum-wage-raise-employment/

    Now, in normal times (not deeply recessionary), I don't think he'd mind a lower minimum wage. And I doubt he'd favor raising the minimum wage because it would be really small-potatoes stimulus anyway. His point is that lowering the minimum wage would not help unemployment right now and could make it worse, and I think that's right.

    I also think, like Krugman, that extending unemployment benefits would be stimulative. That, by the way, is I what recall Peter Diamond--perhaps the greatest expert on job search--said when he accepted the Nobel Prize last year.


    In my experience, few are more clouded by their ideology than frothing-at-the-mouth Krugman haters. I realize he pokes pretty hard at the soft spots in his ideological enemies, and that can provoke less-than-constructive reactions. But he's also backing up his positions with models and *evidence* that goes way beyond anything his detractors have to say. And boy, does he know the literature. It's amazing how much he READS! I'm not seeing much substantive response from you (or others) to Krugman's substance.

    You're making some pretty wild claims and seem completely unfamiliar with the arguments Krugman has been making. Those models supposedly killed in the 70s came back in the 80s and have been with us ever sense.

    And yes, Krugman even uses rational expectations models sometimes. But it's important to recognize that while he uses these models he's also not blinded by them. There's way more nuance and maturity in his views, if you actually take the time to study them.

    Careful, though. Study him too carefully and he might shatter your cherished beliefs!

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