The view from over there

by Henry on October 3, 2007

Via “Tyler Cowen”:, this “IHE article”: covers the right orthodoxy vs. left heterodoxy debate in economics again, and seems to end up implying that it’s mostly happening in the heads of heterodox economists. For my money, that’s far too strong a conclusion – there is “genuine evidence”: that economics training pushes grad students further to the right, weeds out radical ideas etc. It may indeed be true that heterodox types exaggerate the degree of uniformity among the orthodox, but that is a somewhat different argument. Be that as it may, I found the article’s extensive discussion of Daniel Klein’s “counter-insurgency” against leftwing economists to be pretty interesting. According to the article, Klein starts from the position that economics should be a classical liberal creed, and that “the burden of proof should be on those who wish to intervene in markets.” Fair enough if that’s yer ideological druthers. But then he argues that:

there is also a bias, perhaps unconscious, in the media: “Basically they’re social-democratic periodicals, and probably journalists, writing those articles talking almost exclusively … to people on the left.”

This is a … striking claim – there’s plenty of survey evidence (Jonathan Chait discusses this in his recent book) that journalists tend to have somewhat right-of-center views on economic issues. I doubt that Klein (whose bread-and-butter appears to be survey evidence on professionals’ attitudes) is unaware of this; the only conclusion that I can come to is that Klein believes that the vast majority of people in the US, including many people who would be considered to be on the right and indeed consider themselves to be so, are in fact social democrats. If only, says me.

Clarification: Daniel Klein says in comments below that he was specifically referring to the journalists who wrote the pieces for The Nation, In These Times, the NYT and the Atlantic. This is, to me, a considerably more defensible claim with respect to The Nation and ITT (I’m skeptical about the NYT being social democratic on economic issues and the Atlantic is a resolutely centrist publication) , and suggests that I simply didn’t understand what seemed to me to be a pretty odd statement.

She’s back – but perhaps not for long

by Ingrid Robeyns on October 3, 2007

Last weekend, I had a friend visiting who is a Washington-based journalist. She told me that Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the interesting new woman in town, who receives lots of attention for her outspoken views. I responded that I didn’t have the impression that the Dutch were sad that she left. Perhaps in the Netherlands people were a bit tired of hearing her views which never covered any shade of gray but were always rather black-white, provocative, and, at least in the opinion of some, unnecessarily insulting and divisive.

So what a surprise when the news came that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has returned to the Netherlands. Apparently the Dutch state is no longer willing to pay for her security in the US, which it has been doing since she moved to Washington. According to the “Dutch newspapers”:, she is willing and planning to raise funds for her security in the US, but was not allowed to do this before she had a Green Card. That Green card she received a week ago, but this implied she only had one week’s time to raise the funds, before the Dutch funding of her security in the US ended. Now that she’s back on Dutch territory, the Dutch State is again protecting her, and as soon as she has raised enough funds, she wants to go back to the US.

According to the Dutch radio, she is not entitled to private protection by the US government when she is on US territory – with or without Green Card. So I was wondering…. since Hirsi Ali is a “Resident Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute”:,filter.all/scholar.asp, can’t they pay for her security as part of her secondary employment conditions?