Liberal Professor Says Understanding Economics Makes People Immoral

by Micah J. Fleck

LOS ANGELES, CA – Occidental College has a problem, and her name is Lisa Wade, a professor of sociology who has recently written an article in which she claims a proper understanding of economic theory makes people bad. Her central thesis for this claim? Some economics majors at one university didn’t donate to two leftist lobbying organizations she thought they should have. No kidding.

Wade’s piece, entitled Are Economics Majors Anti-Social, asks the question in the title, then answers it right away without any evidence cited for how she got there. “Yep” typically isn’t the first word I would expect to encounter in a work by an apparently well-read professor at a prestigious institution of higher education, yet there it is. It only gets sillier from there.

As reported in the Pundit Press, Wade thinks that “if you have taken classes on Economics, you ‘are less likely to share, less generous to the needy, and more likely to cheat, lie, and steal’.” The problem, however, is that Dr. Wade is basing this conclusion on a single study from the University of Washington that she cites completely out of context:

“Students at their institution — University of Washington — were asked at registration each semester if they’d like to donate to WashPIRG (a left-leaning public interest group) and ATN (a non-partisan group that lobbies to reduce tuition rates).  Bauman and Elaina crunched the data along with students’ chosen majors and classes. They found that econ majors were less likely to donate to either cause (the selection hypothesis) and that non-econ majors who had taken econ classes were less likely to donate than non-majors who hadn’t (the indoctrination hypothesis).”

“Recovering Academic” Thomas Lifson of American Thinker writes:

“ATN (Affordable Tuition Now) is an inactive nonprofit group that does not appear in IRS records.  It may be “non-partisan,” but if it simply demands lower tuition without campaigning for corresponding expense cuts (for instance, eliminating excessive administrative offices), economics majors, who learn the necessity of trade-offs, would naturally resist donating to it.  For this, they are branded “anti-social.”  Resistance to WashPIRG, an admitted leftist group, is also branded with the same label.  No conservative group is even considered.  In the Ivory Tower, they are not a factor at all.

Colleges have been able to raise tuition at three times the rate of inflation for about half a century, thanks to massive subsidies and credit financed by the federal government, and their gatekeeper role as certifiers of intelligence for prospective employers.  Intelligence tests have been forbidden as a means of screening applicants, so employers have had to rely on the certification provided by a college degree.  This has enabled prestigious colleges to act as the gatekeepers to high-paying careers, and thereby to extract crippling levels of tuition from parents desperate to launch their children on high-paying and prestigious careers.  Occidental College, for example, currently charges $47,522 a year for tuition.  Add in room and board, textbooks, travel, and incidentals, and a parent must cough up a quarter-million bucks or so to certify a child with an Oxy diploma.”

In other words, it would be rather hypocritical of Dr. Wade to remain in Occidental College’s employ if she actually cares so much about the little guy and blames those damn economics-understanding capitalists for it.  Of course, I’ve written before about the tuition bubble that seems to have already begun to burst that is actually to blame for the rising tuition costs today, but just to humor Dr. Wade, let’s pretend like we aren’t aware of such information and that she is actually correct – would we really want to support the words and work of someone who chooses to stay an employee of a school that operates on what she herself considered greedy principles?

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