It’s the economy, stupid.
That phrase was coined in 1992 by James Carville, who was then the campaign strategist for presidential candidate Bill Clinton. But those words could just as easily be the slogan of Bernie’s campaign, too.
From income inequality to the minimum wage to the vanishing middle class — economics is central to Bernie 2016.
I majored in economics as an undergraduate, and so I’ve been wondering: What would my former economics professors say about Bernie’s ideas? How does democratic socialism fit into the (neo)classical economic model that champions the free market?
I graduated from Wesleyan University way back in 1981. So it came as no surprise that when I looked at the website of Wesleyan’s economics department, almost all the familiar names were gone, except one: Richard Adelstein.
When I saw his name, two thoughts popped to mind: Professor Adelstein was a very popular teacher when I was at Wesleyan; and I still regret never taking any of his classes.
But then I realized that maybe, 35 years later, I could atone. If I could get him on the phone, he could explain what economists think of Bernie Sanders and I could finally attend a seminar — actually, more of a one-on-one tutorial — with Professor Adelstein.
And so this episode was born:
- Professor Richard Adelstein
- Classical & neo-classical economics
- Adam Smith
- Homo economicus
- “How Homo Economicus Went Extinct: Consumers and investors don’t act rationally, but for generations economists have pretended they do,” in The Wall Street Journal
- Pareto optimality (or pareto efficiency)
- Kenneth Arrow
- Gerard Debreu
- Amartya Sen