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To the Editor of the CRIMSON:
The necessity of filling at least a half-column daily with an editorial, naturally leads to a certain amount of generalized, unproven criticism. This is to be expected. But the two editorials preaching a new way of life to the Department of Economics go too far, verge on the foolish.
Anyone who has taken Ec A knows there is plenty of room and time to discuss the problems which confront non-academic economists today. If he is so unfortunate as to have had an instructor who confined his teaching to supply curves, that is a shame. Perhaps there is justification for an editorial fulminating against inadequate section men, whose existence is not confined to Ec A.
Ec 1 has already been changed, is now two half courses. The probabilities are that it will no longer be as "sprightly" a study in confusion. As for the main criticism levelled against the theory courses, it is hardly serious enough to demand rebuttal. The abstractions, the artificially simplified models, are merely the skeleton which the flesh of facts and complications is later to cover. In an elementary course in physics, for example, there are unreal hypothesis. Friction may be ignored, or no account may be taken of developments in quanta analysis. A subject has to start somewhere. It is better to start from the assumption that tractors can be converted into printing presses than from an involved discussion of the concepts of periods of production.
A contradiction is manifest in the latter part of the editorial. Ec 41, as its catalog title informs us, is meant to be a survey course. The few weeks it devotes to business cycle theory and to international trade are intended for men who are not going to take Ec 43 and Ec 45. As well say that a course in the history of Europe (32) overlaps a history of France (47a) and a course in German history (50). Some of the material is the same. So what?
Finally, Ec 81 is as capably handled now as it was under Walsh, while no one has ever complained of the excellent manner in which Dr. Swoozy teaches the economics of socialism. All in all, the Ec department is hardly worthy of another Crimson Crusade. Richard B. Wolf '41.
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