Wonk this way

Many of the geniuses behind the rational market dogmatism that led to the financial crash of 2008 have Nobel prizes. Neconservatism is steeped the in the intellectual rigor of Leo Strauss and other University of Chicago leading lights. Just because ostensibly intellectual people have given their stamp of approval to some crackpot scheme doesn’t mean that it’s not really a crackpot scheme. Paul Krugman on the Heritage Foundation:

When the (Ryan) proposal was released, it was praised as a “wonk-approved” plan that had been run by the experts. But the “experts” in question, it turned out, were at the Heritage Foundation, and few people outside the hard right found their conclusions credible. In the words of the consulting firm Macroeconomic Advisers — which makes its living telling businesses what they need to know, not telling politicians what they want to hear — the Heritage analysis was “both flawed and contrived.” Basically, Heritage went all in on the much-refuted claim that cutting taxes on the wealthy produces miraculous economic results, including a surge in revenue that actually reduces the deficit.

By the way, Heritage is always like this. Whenever there’s something the G.O.P. doesn’t like — say, environmental protection — Heritage can be counted on to produce a report, based on no economic model anyone else recognizes, claiming that this policy would cause huge job losses. Correspondingly, whenever there’s something Republicans want, like tax cuts for the wealthy or for corporations, Heritage can be counted on to claim that this policy would yield immense economic benefits.

A lot of academics like to bemoan the “fact” that no one cares what high-brow types like themselves think about anything. They’re wrong: an intellectual imprimatur is valuable in public debate, it’s just that some right-wing professor or think tank is always willing to give one out when needed.

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53 replies
  1. 1
    Fred says:

    Speaking of crack pots. Why are you quoting K-Thug? He’s the guy that was saying the stimulus needed to be doubled and the financial system needed to be nationalized or we are all gonna die! Funny how everyone has forgotten about that stance now…most of all him!

    Then again it’s part of his schtick. Set the bar impossibly high for Obama then complain for months about how he isn’t doing enough.

  2. 2
    Cronin says:

    @Fred: I’m not convinced Krugman was wrong. Unemployment is still absurdly high, and the investment banks are still looting everything in sight.

  3. 3
    jo6pac says:

    this is easy, it’s all about the $$$$$$$$$$

  4. 4
    WyldPirate says:

    They’re wrong: an intellectual imprimatur is valuable in public debate, it’s just that some right-wing professor or think tank is always willing to give one out when needed.

    Funny how for the most part it’s mostly in the chickenshit “sciences” like economics where you get people to sell their reputations for ideology.
    @Fred:

    He’s the guy that was saying the stimulus needed to be doubled and the financial system needed to be nationalized or we are all gonna die!

    He was right about the stimulus needing to be doubled…the economy isn’t even close to being “recovered”. The goddamned drop in unemployment rate is smoke and mirrors. It’s easy to get a drop when you have millions more fall out of the work force than there are jobs created.

  5. 5
    cathyx says:

    What happened to the print size a couple of threads back. Everything is real small.

  6. 6
    Silver says:

    @cathyx:

    The print size is fine. You had a stroke.

    I went to the Bill First distance diagnosis school of medicine, if you’re wondering about my credentials.

  7. 7
    JGabriel says:

    @cathyx: Adding to CathyX’s complaint/observation: Front page layout is fucked up. Blockquotes are especially screwed up. It might be caused by Tom Levenson’s thank you message in the upper right corner? Just a guess.

    .

  8. 8
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @WyldPirate: Yes. Like my spouse. It’s interesting how well you can see the economy working when it smacks you upside the head with a 2×4.

    I missed Nixonland last night because I was working for free. Again. I need to go reread Dennis G’s post on Theft of Labor.

  9. 9
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @cathyx: Does Ctrl-+ help? This is a New Browser Thing that I just discovered.

  10. 10
    hildebrand says:

    Working at the Heritage Foundation must be a pretty easy gig, though. Make stuff up, write it out in the most opaque manner possible, use plenty of trite aphorisms in the conclusions (mostly deriding Democratic (oops, sorry, Democrat) policies), and sit back and watch the entire GOP and Fox News folks send you checks, flowers, quality Scotch, a few cases of fine wine, and perhaps even a year or two of a decent lawn-mowing service.

    Yep, a great gig, as long as you could live with the realization that you sold your soul in the process. But, hey, these are piddling little details.

  11. 11
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @Fred:

    Oh for fuck’s sake, just start calling everyone who critiques Obama and his administration a Pharisee and get on with it already…

  12. 12
    techno says:

    There has hardly been an economist right about ANYTHING since at least the early 1970s. And the ones who have been massively wrong most often have been awarded the Riksbank Prize (Nobel) in economics.

    It is damn difficult to imagine any profession that has been more thoroughly discredited.

  13. 13
    kdaug says:

    an intellectual imprimatur is valuable in public debate

    Careful which shallow pools you’re wading in. It can twist to a scarlet letter in short order.

  14. 14
    SFAW says:

    it’s just that some right-wing professor or think is in the tank

    Fixed, I think. Without being tanked.

  15. 15
    russell says:

    He’s the guy that was saying the stimulus needed to be doubled and the financial system needed to be nationalized or we are all gonna die!

    What part of that was wrong?

    Regarding Heritage, the thing to remember about anything they say is that they are pimps.

  16. 16
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @hildebrand:

    Yep, a great gig, as long as you could live with the realization that you sold your soul in the process.

    No biggie, as good capitalists they can always get it back on the repo market.

  17. 17
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @techno:

    It is damn difficult to imagine any profession that has been more thoroughly discredited.

    It is somewhat related, but “business and economics editor for The Atlantic” is not all that reputable.

  18. 18
    Amir_Khalid says:

    @Fred: Krugman’s column isn’t really about Obama. It’s about the Republican party’s dishonesty in offering a profoundly bogus budget plan, and the Heritage Foundation’s complicity in providing equally bogus “intellectual” support for that plan.

    As to what Krugman said before about the stimulus being too small, he has not gone on to say something different. And as Cronin (#2) points out, events since then have largely proven him right.

  19. 19
    Ija says:

    How come there aren’t any hack liberal economists who are willing to say anything the Democrats want them to say? You would think that the law of averages would make sure there are at least a few of them. Or is economics by its very nature a right-wing discipline?

  20. 20

    Damn I just wrote tomorrow’s post on basically the same thing.

    Along similar lines, it appears Obama is the biggest tax cutter in 60 years, which makes me wonder where all the damn jobs are.

  21. 21
    Cronin says:

    @Ija: Supporting poor people doesn’t pay nearly as well. Shocker.

  22. 22
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @Ija:

    I think it’s because people who approach economics from a liberal perspective are going to find all sorts of ambiguities and contradictions of the type that just won’t boil down into anything a political party could find useful. Conservative economics, on the other hand, can be boiled down to about 4 words.

  23. 23
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ija: The Democrats tend to listen to reputable economists.

  24. 24
    SFAW says:

    Conservative economics, on the other hand, can be boiled down to about 4 words.

    “Tax cuts for rich people”?

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @SFAW: More tax cuts now.

  26. 26
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    @SFAW:

    I was thinking “No regulations, no taxes.”

  27. 27
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: Yep, that’s it.

  28. 28
    J. Michael Neal says:

    Of the disciples of the Chicago school, and the development of the efficient markets hypothesis in particular, it’s interesting to look at Michael Jensen. He hasn’t come out and said it, but he has implied that he now thinks that he was wrong and that the evidence doesn’t really support the idea that the financial markets operate efficiently.

    He’s now at Harvard, and isn’t working on mathematical finance at all any more. He’s put together a series of seminars on leadership that he’s developed with a German named Werner Erhart, and an Air Force officer named Kari Grainger. If anyone remembers my talking about starting a small business with one of my former professors (which it seems has collapsed, as he never returned any feedback on the writing I was doing, which I started asking for last July; eventually, I can only take that as an indication that he’s not really serious about it), it was going to be adapting those courses to teach ourselves, which Jensen had given permission to do.

    What’s so interesting is that, while he has recognized the flaws in the doctrine he was one of the founders of, he still uses the same intellectual approach that led him astray. He’s fallen completely for post-modernism and Martin Heidegger’s approach to ontology and language. He tells his students that they need to create a new space for thinking about leadership by using language to create new possibilities for thinking about it. There is a lot of very important stuff that he’s trying to teach, but it’s weighted down with a complete load of crap. He even engages in the number one sin of the intellectual poser: making an analogy between quantum mechanics and whatever it is that someone is teaching.

    It’s the same approach he used in the past: find something appealing and at least somewhat plausible, and then build a baroque structure on top of the idea without paying any attention to whether you are making your hypothesis fit the data, or forcing the data to support your hypothesis whether it wants to or not. Even in the service of an end I approve of (and, as I said, there is a lot to like in what he’s trying to teach about leadership, though I have a number of problems with his specifics and am inclined to call it ethics when I’m not trying to sell it), it’s an annoying and sloppy approach.

  29. 29
    TheF79 says:

    @Spaghetti Lee:

    As a liberal economist – This.

    Also, no matter how rigorous and policy-relevant the work I/we do, I/we don’t have a giant megaphone blasting our studies out there.

    There was some hack from Ohio University that put together an econometric “study” (one of the FP’s linked it a few weeks back) about the impact of right-to-work union killing laws that was so laughable, I considered using it as an example of shoddy econometrics and policy analysis in class. I mean, we’re talking baby-town frolics here. It was “peer-reviewed” by Cato who published it in their in-house journal and of course Fox blasted out the story as “peer-reviewed studies finds that right-to-work laws create eleventy-billion jobs.”

  30. 30
    RossInDetroit says:

    The Heritage Foundation employs the one-handed economist the Truman memorably called for. All of the other economists know that an issue has at least 2 sides.

  31. 31
    Elia Isquire says:

    Reading the OP, I immediately thought of this, from a good Times piece I read today about the Leo Strauss of anti-immigration “reform”:

    Soon followed the news that FAIR had received grants from the Pioneer Fund, whose most famous grantee was William B. Shockley, the Nobel-winning physicist who argued that for genetic reasons, blacks are intellectually inferior to whites.

  32. 32
    Cerberus says:

    @Fred:

    As one of the forgotten, let me chime in with the many who have already responded in saying, here on the ground, out of white middle class suburban fantasy, we are still in a depression. We still need huge increases in spending just in terms of stimulus. Even more spending in terms of revitalizing our way overtaxed infrastructure and undercut systems such as regulation, education, and the reinvention of the social safety net.

    Also, letting the bad guys go free from the global financial collapse has directly hurt us back with the guys who were let off the hook from that coming back around and funding most of the tea party fueled shenanigans we’ve been stuck chasing like chickens with our heads cut out.

    Sure, what Obama did was a bare minimum improvement on the status quo and these days we seem to be reduced to being nostalgic for the time when we used to at least see a bare minimum improvement on the status quo. And that may sound harsh, but I’m grateful for what he did.

    But it seems too many people seem to believe that it’s more important to invent a perfection that never was for Obama rather than respect him on his merits and call for more. It seems easier for people to deny all reality and just say “oh, the stimulus fixed the depression and let’s all pretend the homeless and unemployed are disappeared” than actually address the problem, call for additional work to be done, and use it as a reminder why the more liberal approaches work and should be used more instead of constant tax cuts and fire sales of government property and services to private firms.

    And I will remind everyone tempted by illusion, “in service” of a man you admire, does said man great disservice.

    Obama needs us the ground forces, the liberals on the street, to push him. He has demanded us to push him. Be the energy, the voice on the street he channels to fight back against the myriad of barriers in his way in the form of a co-opted media environment.

    Also, it doesn’t help your case. I mean, we’re supposed to buy that the people who claim to love Obama and just happen to spend all their time punching hippies and ranting about damn liberals are real liberals who aren’t a bunch of whiny white middle class apolitical types who just want to go back to not paying attention and being able to vote for Republicans without feeling like scum.

    Okay, will do, but can you stop acting like that by arguing that the depression I’m living through isn’t happening, slight improvements to the status quo somehow fixed everything, and that the social rights of minority groups are “distraction tactics” and meaningless things to get upset about if trading them in gives Democrats a “win”?

    Cause at the moment, it sounds like a bunch of whiny assholes more upset that the bubble isn’t back up than the deep rot that has taken over our country and the massive work needed to fix it.

    …No offense.

  33. 33
    ppcli says:

    @Fred:

    He’s the guy that was saying… the financial system needed to be nationalized

    Nobody, least of all Paul Krugman, was saying the financial system needed to be “nationalized”, outside of the paranoid rhetoric of wingnut mouthpieces and Hannity clones for whom the banking systems of Canada and Sweden are indistinguishable from Hoxha’s Albania. Buzz off, pay-troll, around here we prefer people who are at least capable of making the most basic and elementary distinctions. Moran.

  34. 34
    Cerberus says:

    @WyldPirate:

    Especially since we are still using Bush’s wildly inaccurate method of calculating unemployment. Real unemployment is still unbearably high and this is made quite clear when one is unemployed. Not to mention the rate of poverty and the rate of starvation.

    I won’t even get into the fact that “unemployment” went down not because many more people were hired, but because a number of full time jobs went down replaced with slightly more part time jobs without benefits.

    This isn’t to say that the stimulus was a failure. In many cases it kept whole industries alive, made sure there wasn’t a catastrophic loss of government jobs (which will now occur thanks to the Republican demand for public employee sacrifices to the God of the Free Market in the form of the massive cuts to already overstretched budgets (in terms of those departments, not in the sense of actually affecting the deficit)).

    Furthermore, it probably prevented what is now a depression from being a depression so bad that even the white middle class would have had to acknowledge it, which given their power of denial, would have been catastrophic to say the least for those of us on the ground.

    Main point is the numbers that are bad are actually worse, because it would be political suicide to switch back to a more accurate means of counting unemployment thanks to an inept MSM.

  35. 35
    Jamie says:

    The Nobel prize was supposed to incentivize deeper understanding of economics. Given the lack of understanding of Economics across the world by the experts(only Dr. Doom saw the housing bubble), they probably should stop awarding the Nobel Prize in Economics.

  36. 36
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @ppcli:

    Nobody, least of all Paul Krugman, was saying the financial system needed to be “nationalized”

    Not true. He called for nationalizing the “zombie banks” on many occasions.

    He was neither right nor wrong. It’s a counterfactual that can never be tested. Choosing to nationalize or not nationalize was all a matter of which set of values to prioritize, and which set of costs to accept. Institutions like Citi or BoA were in no way solvent when the decision was made, but unlike Japan’s relatively insular financial sector, the truly international nature of the TBTF banks minimized the risk of playing the extend-and-pretend chicanery games.

  37. 37
    Cerberus says:

    @Cronin: @Ija: What Cronin says.

    Being a hack is a mercenary gig. One follows the money.

    And for the “good guys” and the “not quite as evil guys”, well, one A) doesn’t have as much money and B) tends to not need hacks to support conjectures.

    And B is largely because the “more good than evil guy” side (liberals, Democrats, etc…) tend to be working from reality to form ideology rather than forming ideology out of personal prejudices, desires, or paranoias and trying to forcibly shape reality around that.

    Basically, poor people and liberals don’t need hack science to support their claims because reality tends to back them up naturally. Evolution is real, income inequality tends to fuck a nation up in the long term, fundie actions don’t cause God to come out of hiding and grant huge blessings, today follows from yesterday and goes into tomorrow, minority groups are human, and so on.

    And the demand comes from the other side to fight back against reality to give the aura of debate to a natural tendency of the country as a whole to respond to dualistic systems by assuming a direct equality between them.

    In short, we’re (read mostly MSM, but the American swing voter as well) so desperate to believe that conservative positions have just as much truth and reason backing them up as liberal positions that all the rich need to do is flood the market with hacks saying “um, sure, it’s justified, right, go conservatives” to make it a “fair fight” of facts vs facts.

  38. 38
    MikeJ says:

    @Bob Loblaw: If you don’t see the difference between nationalizing a few zombie banks and “the financial system” you shouldn’t comment.

  39. 39
    Cerberus says:

    @Jamie:

    Well, that’s more because they invented “better” experts and made sure the accolades followed to support them.

    There are any number of incredibly brilliant economists out there who have correctly charted any number of real world phenomenon.

    Problem is they aren’t respectable, because most of them are using various Marxist means of analyzing economic phenomena.

    The problem is that we’ve prioritized capitalism cheerleading over sober economic analysis (and it’s not recent, the west has been clearing house for capitalism in all cases supporters since the beginning of the Cold War and only stepped up their game with the Chicago School and Reagan and whatnot).

    We could at any time go back to rewarding genuine analysis and restore economics to the art of understanding monetary movement, greed, and markets, but it would take political will and a general willingness to scrub out the current crop of graduates and those we have granted the mantle of “expert” to.

  40. 40
    Anne Laurie says:

    @J. Michael Neal: “Werner Erhardt”? Not this dude, I hope…

    (Talk about unpleasant 70s flashbacks!)

  41. 41
    ppcli says:

    @MikeJ: I was going to reply to Mr. Loblaw, but MikeJ stepped up and said what I would have said first. Except I would have been nastier. Time for bed.

  42. 42
    Cerberus says:

    @Cerberus:

    Or rather social will, because it’s a social problem.

    Basically, as long as phrases like “Marxist analysis” hold more terror to the average person than “from the Chicago School of Economics” or “a noted devotee to Ayn Rand’s philosophies”, then we will constantly grant more social weight to hacks like the Cato and Heritage Institutes and good economics teachers and experts will continue to get buried and ignored.

  43. 43
    Bob Loblaw says:

    @MikeJ:

    The “zombie banks” are the financial system.

    75% of the undercapitalization risk sector wide is tied up in the hands of five to seven firms alone.

  44. 44
    Cerberus says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    I think the various Scandanavian countries have found that it is critical to make public every service that could not suffer being used as a short-changed scam to make money in the small time. Basically, if it is needed as a public good, then privatization just means it will be brought to the point of collapse and the government ends up needing to step in to save it anyways.

    One can live, in a pinch, in much the same fashion as one is used to in a world without shoes or hats or cars or personal computers, but not so much in the modern sense of a 1st world nation without power grids, internet lines, banking systems, health care, sewer systems, mail delivery systems, and so on.

    Thus “nationalizing” such industries protect them from abuses, allow a basic standard of living that’s available to all, while allowing capitalism to thrive in sectors where it wouldn’t trample on human rights to grow itself…in theory at least.

    It’s still a good idea and one that is grossly needed in this country, but there is absolutely no political will to have it happen. We are very serf-minded in this country, and too many people would gladly starve to death to save an impersonal corporation that sees them as resources to be exploited from every having to suffer the taint of anything even remotely commie-like.

    But as MikeJ said, that wasn’t even Krugman’s argument, which was a very narrow nationalization of very direct bad faith actors in private industry to prevent problems from arising.

    Instead we nationalized their losses, paid due credit to the industry as a whole and put back the status quo. Said beneficiaries (the only beneficiaries of said mess) have paid back mostly by seeking to oust the people who saved them because the people who saved them didn’t provide a handjob and spoke meekly about maybe stopping this from happening again in a handful of years.

    I suspect this will come back to haunt us.

  45. 45
    Cerberus says:

    @Bob Loblaw:

    Which is a distinct problem, utterly unhandled, likely to blow up again.

    Nonetheless, the argument was made to cut out bad actors to save the industry. If the industry itself is a bad actor, well, that’s a much bigger problem. I would argue it’s the one we have and why nationalization will be the eventual final step.

    The countries who survived the global collapse in the best position tended to be those who had turned such industries into at least partially a public industry (private firms have to compete with public provided and run banking firm) with heavy regulations to collar greedy intent and margin chasing.

  46. 46
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @Cerberus:

    I won’t even get into the fact that “unemployment” went down not because many more people were hired, but because a number of full time jobs went down replaced with slightly more part time jobs without benefits.

    This is not true. Over the last year, U-6 has fallen by more in real terms than the official U-3. While it hasn’t fallen by much as a percentage, this indicates that the reverse happened. There were more jobs being converted to full time than the other way around. (Or something equivalent to it involving the creation of more full-time jobs and the loss of part time ones.)

    Note that U-6 includes discouraged workers, so it accounts for a decrease in the labor force due to people who have stopped looking for work.

  47. 47
    J. Michael Neal says:

    @Anne Laurie: Yep, that Werner Erhard. I didn’t realize that that wasn’t his birth name, or that he was born in America. He’s now based in Germany. You can find a bunch of the papers I was working on editing here.

    It’s derived from the stuff about “A New Model of Integrity” and “Integrity: Without It Nothing Works.” There was more to it, though. The draft that I never got feedback on cut the length considerably and got rid of everything that mentioned the word “ontology.” As well as a bunch of other things.

  48. 48
    Fred says:

    @hildebrand:

    And hookers!

  49. 49
    Joey Maloney says:

    @J. Michael Neal: That Werner Erhard? Wow. I never knew about the Scientology tie-in, either.

    Anne Laurie, I think we were sharing the same 70s flashback. Did you see me? I was wearing the wide-wale corduroy leisure suit with the contrasting accent stitching on the pocket flaps, the acetate print shirt with extra-long collar points, and huaraches with white sox.

  50. 50
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Joey Maloney: As I said, there’s a lot to like in the stuff I was working on, even with some disagreement on the details and my complete rejection of the framework they use to teach it. They basically say that leadership consists of three things:

    1) Always honoring your word. By this, they mean that you should always either keep your word or, if you don’t, inform the other parties as soon as you realize you won’t keep your word and make restitution. My biggest complaint on the details is that I added in that keeping your word is *always* preferable to the other option, and that there are times that it isn’t possible to make restitution for not keeping it.

    2) Be who you present yourself as. Roughly, they mean that who you are on the inside should be the same as who you are on the outside. It includes a bunch of stuff about the importance of self-knowledge and understanding one’s own motivations. Unfortunately, it soft sells the issue by claiming that integrity is *always* in your own self-interest. That’s patently bullshit. If it weren’t, it wouldn’t be so hard. The trick is to convince people to be authentic and have integrity even when it isn’t in yheir self-interest.

    It also has viewpoint that makes it a lot like the people who told Bill Cosby that they used cocaine because it intensifies their personality. As Cosby said, “But what if you’re an asshole?” The authors are perfectly content if you are open and honest about being a complete piece of slime. I suppose that’s where my perception that the course is about ethics rather than leadership comes in.

    3) They tell students that they need to be a part of something bigger than themselves. You can’t be a leader and also be focused entirely upon yourself as an individual. You have to be able to lead a group towards a goal of accomplishing something. My issue is that they argue that focusing on the goal of making your company a shitload of money counts as being a part of something bigger than yourself. I had to rewrite it so that it wasn’t sociopathic, and that what you were leading everyone towards is also an important consideration.

    Teaching the class the way I wanted to was going to be a bit dishonest, given that we were calling it a course in leadership when what I was really trying to get across was ethics. Unfortunately, classes on leadership are vastly more marketable than classes on ethics. I was prepared to dodge and make claims that weren’t entirely justified in order to link proper behavior. I wouldn’t have quite been lying, since I think all of these are important elements of being a good leader. I just think that it’s impossible to separate good leadership from the value of the underlying goal. It’s part of the reason that I consider William Slim to have been a much greater leader than Erich von Manstein.

    I’m really pissed at my professor for saying he wanted to do this, and then never taking it seriously enough to even read what I was writing. I wanted to do this badly, and not just because I need a job.

  51. 51
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN):

    I’m really pissed at my professor for saying he wanted to do this, and then never taking it seriously enough to even read what I was writing. I wanted to do this badly, and not just because I need a job.

    Dunno — never been anywhere near Mr. Erhard or his first-level minions myself, but from everything I’ve ever read plus the low-level est casualties I’ve run across, you & your prof dodged a bullet.

    There is this thing neurotypicals do, where they ‘fail to follow up’ in situations that don’t seem right to them but they don’t have a good, logical explanation to back them up. Is it possible your professor just… drifted away from the project… because for whatever subliminal reasons he just reached a point where something seemed ‘off’ to him? It’s possible he may not even have a conscious idea why he suddenly found other things to do with his time — when you read about professional predators, there will be 10 or 20 or 100 interactions that ‘go nowhere’, and then one mark who ends up broke, or dead. Don’t know if that’s what happened in your case (sometimes a coincidence is just a coincidence) but maybe this would be one of those situations where it’s best just to let go and move on?

  52. 52
    Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN) says:

    @Anne Laurie: A couple things. The first is that we wouldn’t have needed to have any dealings with Jensen or Erhard. They published the materials they were using, and rather generously (for whatever reason; I still have a hard time putting “Michael Jensen” and “generous” in the same sentence, to say nothing of Erhard) gave permission for *anyone* who wanted to to use them or adapt them to teach about leadership.

    The second is that I have no idea why my professor dropped it, though my suspicion is that he has just been too busy and something had to get dropped. He’s doing stuff constantly, and has a young daughter. (He may also still be hung over from the Packers’ Super Bowl victory.) He isn’t any sort of minion of Erhard. One of the reasons he brought me in in the first place was because he thinks I write well and recognized that the materials needed a thorough overhaul to get rid of precisely the parts of it that Erhard is probably responsible for, such as all of the ontology talk.

    He’s been very generous to me in a number of ways over the last few years. It was also agreed that he would be putting up all of the up front money needed for the venture, although that was going to be a pretty small amount. The start up costs for a business teaching seminars is low in cash and high in time, and I have all sorts of time these days.

    As I said, I have no idea what happened, but I seriously doubt that it was anything as nefarious as what you are thinking of. The worst possible explanation I can come up with for what happened is that he was never serious about it and only proposed the idea to boost my morale in the face of a frustrating job search, not realizing that I’d still be unemployed nine months later. I’d be even more pissed if that turns out to be true, but it seems kind of unlikely.

    As for just moving on, I really can’t afford to. I’ll let go of the business idea, but there are so many gaps in my network of contacts that I can’t afford to relinquish the ones I have.

  53. 53
    Delray says:

    @Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JNM):

    Teaching the class the way I wanted to was going to be a bit dishonest, given that we were calling it a course in leadership when what I was really trying to get across was ethics. Unfortunately, classes on leadership are vastly more marketable than classes on ethics.

    And you want to teach ethics?? Don’t quit your day job.

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