Opinion
Economics professor Whaples responds to colleague
Old Gold & Black
By
Letter to the editor
Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Old Gold & Black recently quoted a faculty member as saying “if the people in the economics department want to teach their majors that libertarian economics is the only way to go, then that’s their business.”

Having taught in the Economics Department for over 20 years, my sense is that there’s not a single member of the department who teaches that a particular strand of economics or economic policy is “the only way to go.”

Rather faculty members in the department generally make it their mission to explore a wide range of opinions on economic issues — regardless of their personal outlook. Libertarian economists have important things to say, but (as far as I know) there’s not a single libertarian in the department. All in all, economics faculty members are fairly balanced across the spectrum of political economy. The department is a model in this respect and ideally other departments would follow its lead — diversity of ideas and outlooks should be a high priority for ALL departments in the university. If voices from only one side are heard, meaningful debates cannot occur and intellectual life atrophies. Students and faculty deserve better than shutting down or shouting down meaningful debate.

Robert Whaples

Department of Economics

  • tdaly29

    Dear Dr Whaples
    I have great confidence that you and many of the professors at WFU teach a varied class with great professionalism.
    Discussing the Faculty in the Business school,
    I was wondering what you classify as libertarian economics? Would
    John Allison, past head of the Koch sponsored Cato institute be defined
    as a libertarian or something else? (And a major sponsor of the
    BB&T Center when he was head of the bank.) How about James Otteson,
    Head of the Koch sponsored BB&T Center and Eudaimonia Institute. Is
    he a libertarian? Would I get a balanced view from either? From their
    writings I believe they would say that their (or the Koch’s) way is
    the only way. How many faculty in the Business School receive funds
    from Koch sponsored organizations? Is that information public?

    . Is this appropriate when the Executive Director James Otteson of the Koch sponsored BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism/ Eudaimonia Institute , invited John Tamny a senior fellow at the Koch sponsored Reason Foundation to give a presentation at WFU? How does it reflect on the Business School? What do your think?

    Respectfully yours
    Tom Daly ’69

    • mightymary

      The Economics Department is not a part of the Business School….

      • tdaly

        It is sometimes hard to differentiate between the formal department
        structure and the informal. For instance economics Professor Hammond seems to be the lead defender of the BB&T Center and Eudaimonia Institute. His publications primarily deal with Friedman and price theory. In laypersons terms ” libertarians are economic liberals of either the Austrian School or Chicago school and support laissez-faire capitalism.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarianism.

        Reading the student reviews of Dr. Hammond it seems that there is a professor on the economics faculty “who teaches that a particular strand of economics or economic policy is “the only way to go.”

  • Bob

    Well said!

  • tdaly29

    Dr. Whaples
    Do you really think WFU has 200 radicals in its faculty?

    “An Inside Perspective on Radicals’ Treatment of Wake Forest’s Eudaimonia Institute”
    https://www.jamesgmartin.center/2017/07/wake-forests-eudaimonia-institute/

    I do have to hand it to Mr. Pope, he has a way of propagating your article to many other websites, within hours.