Rethinking Economics

By Maibritt Henkel and Mie L. Holm

The Econ Echo Chamber

At a moment where Harvard is grappling with how to promote intellectual vitality on its campus, the Economics Departments should likewise take heed and introspect about the value of diverse speech and thought. For when it comes to the diversity of both people and ideas, they are falling quickly behind.

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Rethinking Consumption: What We Can’t Grow Out Of

Upon entering any Harvard undergraduate house you’ll be greeted by the mail room, where Amazon, Shein, and Sephora parcels tower high. Tens of thousands of packages pass through the University mail service each month.

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Harvard’s Bubble Economy Is Not the American Economy

Harvard might be the best package deal you’ll ever get. Win the golden admission ticket and your tuition buys you 13 undergraduate dining halls, the world’s largest academic library system, an Olympic-sized pool, and a multi-speciality healthcare practice. You are also granted exit from the realities of the American economy that the rest of the country must deal with.

Take housing, for instance. Today, half of American renters pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing, a huge jump from 2019. This is not the case for the 98 percent of Harvard undergraduates living on campus – a vast majority of students that sets the College apart from most schools in the country. At Boston University, for instance, the portion of students living in college housing is only 65 percent. At big state schools like the University of Cincinnati or UT Austin, that figure falls to 25 and 18 percent, respectively.

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The Corporate Balancing Act No One Can Win

For Harvard students, there’s nothing more on brand than disapproving of careers in finance or consulting. Unless you count going into a career in finance or consulting, that is.

According to The Crimson’s 2023 senior survey, over 22 percent of respondents reported that they would be working in the financial services sector, closely followed by 19.6 percent, who said they would pursue consulting. No other industry comes close to matching these post-grad recruitment numbers.

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What the Economics Department Lets You Forget

One of the first things that the over 500 students who take Economics 10: “Principles of Economics” are taught each fall is the distinction between normative and positive statements; the distinction between stating how things are and stating how things ought to be.

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