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An Alternative Ec10 Is Not Necessary

Letter to the Editors

By Willa H. Friedman, Crimson Staff Writer

To the editors:

Students for a Humane And Responsible Economics’ proposal to offer a new class taught by Barker Professor of Economics Stephen A. Marglin ’59 as an alternative to Ec 10 is not the best solution to the problems with the current course (News, “Petition Argues For Alternative To Ec 10 Course”, March 3). Fixing Ec 10 by balancing the readings in the sourcebook, stating the assumptions that lead to politically controversial conclusions, and providing students with more of an opportunity to interact with and question the material would be more effective. Marglin is quoted as saying that his class would be “for those who want to work harder and who want a more balanced perspective of views.” All students, not just those who are willing or have the time to work harder should be able to get a balanced perspective. Adding a new class and removing those who are most uncomfortable with Ec 10’s current bias would just allow Ec 10 to develop that bias unchecked. Then the choice between these two classes will require students who are supposedly objective to know their stance on economic policy before being formally exposed to economic theories. Ec 10 is required of more than 300 economics and social studies concentrators each year and about 400 more per class elect to take it. As such a fundamental part of the education of so many Harvard students, Ec 10 needs to be balanced. Providing another alternative will not create this balance within the individual student. Even if it could provide some balance to the overall community, however, the value of our education should be measured within a person and not within a class. Displeasure with Ec 10 should not lead students to blindly follow the first proposed solution.

Willa H. Friedman ’05

March 3, 2003

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