kitchen table math, the sequel: Barry Eichengreen has a really bad idea

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Barry Eichengreen has a really bad idea

From Barry Eichengreen, a historian of the Great Depression:
Indeed, one might question the very premise that, two decades from now, there will be textbooks as we know them. Today, introductory economics is taught using a textbook in which an eminent professor authoritatively bestows the conventional wisdom on his or her (typically, his) students. Knowledge, as encapsulated in the textbook and interpreted by the professor, is delivered from above.

This, of course, is also how newspapers traditionally delivered the news. Editors and publishers assembled and collated stories, and the newspaper that they produced was then delivered to the subscriber’s doorstep. But the last decade has seen a veritable revolution in the news business. News is now assembled and disseminated via Web sites, wikis, and the comment sections of blogs. News, in other words, is increasingly delivered from the bottom up. Rather than relying on editors, everyone is becoming their own news curator.

Something similar is likely to happen to textbooks, especially in economics,where everyone has an opinion and first-hand experience with the subject. Textbooks will be like wikis, with faculty adopters and students modifying text and contributing content. There still may be a role for the author as gatekeeper; but the textbook will know [sic] longer be the font of wisdom, and its writer will no longer control the table of contents.

The outcome will be messy. But the economics profession will also become more diverse and dynamic – and our children’s economics will be healthier as a result.

Our Children's Economics
Number one: if it's textbooks not being a source of wisdom you're after, we've got that now.

And, number two: I prefer fount.

Font of wisdom sounds dumb.

Other people who have really bad ideas

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