Richard Wolff and Dr. Amy S. Cramer on teaching economics

Richard Wolff and Dr. Amy S. Cramer on teaching economics

November 28, 2019 7 By Stanley Isaacs


CRAMER: We all know we live in a world of
extreme partisan hostility; extreme, hateful negativity. And it’s keeping us
from generating the kind of brilliant ideas that we need in order to create
prosperity for all of us. And that’s [VOTE’s] goal. Its goal is to spark new
ideas. And we do it in the following way. Initially, we teach people from
all walks of life to hear the great economic thinkers of our past and how
they are echoed in today’s debates. And now what we do is we line up the
conservative, liberal, and radical perspectives side by side in a
completely unbiased way. And what happens as a result of that is number one
(Well, using role plays and other activities), what happens is that people
become fluent in each point of view. And that combative debate that we
live in becomes solution-focused conversation and we set the foundation
for, you know, the payoff: for new ideas to emerge. And that’s what the VOTE program
is all about.
WOLFF: So instead of trying to solve the problem from within the cocoon
of only one, you’re trying to say there are tools that all of them offer, if you give
them a benefit of the doubt, if you separate the partisan politics a little
bit from the core ideas that are useful, people will have a broader toolbox.
It’s an old idea of education, really, that you brought into economics.
CARMER: Yeah, it’s it’s to recognize the beauty and the poetry of each of our great thinkers.
If you consider the work of Adam Smith, or the work of Karl Marx, or the work of
John Maynard Keynes (who really are the basis of the fights that we’re having
today) and you consider how poetic, and how insightful their contributions were,
we don’t want to lose that in our in our in our siloed thinking, in our echo
chambers. Because, we will be a great peril to ignore any of them because
then we’re going to end up stuck, as we are as a nation, and we’re going to end
up reinventing the wheel over and over. And what we’re looking to do is actually use their
brilliance to to spark new ideas. That is the whole idea behind what what we’re
doing. And it’s through a culture, building a new culture, of respectful
listening, passionate advocacy, and intelligent debate. That’s that’s how we
do it. And it’s kind of even funny that it’s revolutionary.
It seems like, isn’t that how society should be? But unfortunately that’s just
not where we are and it’s actually getting worse. There’s a recent study
that showed that 36% of voters think that the world would be better off if
large percentages of their opponents were dead. 20% thought that
their opponents are aren’t human, they’re more like animals. We are in
a state of extreme partisanship and we have a pathway forward. We have a pathway
to to envision a new future of prosperity, and that’s what
we’re offering, and we’re offering it for free.