- First, my math econ professor running the "math camp" in the mornings waxed pragmatic (and tautological): "being able to abstract in useful ways is useful".
- They really emphasized how important the political economy courses were to the program, which I was glad about. They have two sets of advanced micro and macro - they have mainstream advanced courses for each and they have "heterodox" or "political economy" macro and micro. I'm doing the macro track so I have to take the advanced mainstream macro and the "political economy macro". People on the micro track similarly take advanced micro and PE micro. You can also be on the "political economy track" and do both PE micro and macro. I think this emphasis is great - more departments need to bring in political economy. One thing they mentioned that I hadn't thought about before is that this is apparently an advantage on the academic job market. Departments want people that can teach an economic thought or an economic history or a political economy course, and many top departments don't prepare students for that.
- Waiting for my economic thought class, I read some of Keynes's 1937 defense of the General Theory. Apparently he had trouble with people acting like they were in an epic battle with him when they actually weren't too! He wrote: "My differences, such as they are, from Mr. Robertson chiefly arise out of my conviction that both he and I differ more fundamentally from our predecessors than his piety will allow. With many of his points I agree, without, however, being conscious in several instances of having said (or anyhow meant) anything different." Geez - how often do I have that reaction. I think three quarters of the disagreements I have with people in the blogosphere are of this variety: they are taking issue with a view that I never disagreed with them on in the first place. Good to see it happens to the best of us too.
- Lot's of interesting students in my cohort - lot's of master's degrees, which was interesting to see. Very nice people that seem like they'll be easy to work with.
- Finally, I'm TAing a big macro lecture - not that much grading, but two review sessions and one office hour a week. We're using Mankiw's book, which I've never actually used before, so that should be interesting to get familiar with.
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