Evan Osborne writes for the Martin Center about his life among radical academic colleagues.
For almost a quarter century I have been a professor of economics at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. After years of working there, I have learned something about how my department’s academic radicals, who by dint of personality but not numbers have near-decisive control over many departmental decisions.
WSU economics is a master’s-level department. How its radicals operate is utterly inconsistent with all that is best about Western universities.
I would like to share whatever wisdom I have gained from working in this department to give readers a sense of how at least some on the academic left think about academic freedom, collegiality, and what makes for good scholarship and a good curriculum.
The department has long had a reputation for advocacy of left-heterodox economics. I use that term, though the term the radicals themselves use is merely “heterodox” economics. That’s because in economics, pro-market schools such as the Austrians, despite being out of the mainstream, are not counted as “heterodox” by the keepers of this term’s flame.
So defined, left-heterodox economics is critical of relying on market competition to achieve better economic outcomes, and the main arguments in favor of such competition are dismissed as mere “neoclassical economics.”