Martin Center column targets academic radicals

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.”

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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