“Sometimes it’s nice to be told what to do”

Someone forwarded me an article from The Wall Street Journal he thought I might like, and he was definitely right about that. It is titled, Could You Pass Sixth Grade Economics? but for all that is a quite sinister description of a supposedly innovative way to teach the dismal science. They divide the class up into different groups and have them trade with each other using some kind of barter system. These are the final two paras with no comment by the author who, for all we know, even agrees with Ms Chase about how economies ought to be run:

In Ms. Higgins’ classroom, the lesson shifted to different types of economic models. It turns out the city states of Babylon were once run as a command economy, where production and prices of goods and peoples’ incomes are decided centrally by the government. The students concede that while the market economy has made them wealthier, trading for the good life is exhausting.

“To be honest I like the exercises that center on a command economy,” says 11-year‐old Mairead Chase of city state Eshnunna. “I like authority. I like to have a goal,” she shrugs and smiles. “Sometimes it’s nice to be told what to do.”

So much for the free market. You begin to see the attraction Bernie Sanders has for the young if this is what they end up believing.

[My thanks to Ivan R. for sending the link along.]

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