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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/18230/austrian-economics-program-denied-at-loyola-new-orleans/

Austrian economics program denied at Loyola New Orleans

August 26, 2011 by

William Barnett, II

William Barnett, II

As reported today in the Loyola-N.O. paper The Maroon, an attempt by Austrian professors there to establish an Austrian economics master’s program has been rejected by the “Standing Council for Academic Planning.” The program was proposed by the heroic Bill Barnett and Dan D’Amico; Walter Block is also a professor there, making this one of the strongest Austrian econ departments in the world.

With interest in Austrian economics growing, with its singularly coherent explanation of the current economic morass, with Loyola-NO being one of the most significant Austrian strongholds in academia, such a program of course makes sense. So, of course, it also makes sense that this would be feared and rejected by mainstream defenders of the old guard. What a shame.

Daniel D'Amico

Daniel D'Amico

As the Maroon article notes,

Maria Cuadra, business senior and president of the Economics Club, said she believes this new program would have benefited both the undergraduate and graduate programs.

“Master’s students would be able to become members of the Economics Club and consistently expose their working papers and research topics on panels. Undergraduate students interested in this discipline will have the opportunity to be actively involved in these research processes,” Cuadra said.

According to D’Amico, Austrian economics incorporates human factors such as uncertainty, ignorance, morality, culture and faith. D’Amico also stressed that Austrian economics emphasizes the history of economic thought. The unique strategies of Austrian economics, which are values of the Loyola mission, would have been a major aspect of the MA program, he said.

Professors are not the only supporters of an Austrian economics program. Over 330 students worldwide expressed interest in the master’s program through a survey the College of Business shared through Facebook and several Austrian economics networks.

Cuadra said she believes an Austrian economics master’s program would be good for Loyola.

“The level of research at the university will increase, and students are going to be more exposed to the fresh, new ideas of graduate students,” Cuadra said.

Although it was not approved, D’Amico said the College of Business has not given up on this master’s program.

Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito!

Update: Update: Austrian economics program denied at Loyola New Orleans


Ezekiel August 26, 2011 at 1:52 pm

One more reason why universities are going the way of travel agents and stockbrokers. If you’re just a gatekeeper, what value do you add?

Tyrone Dell August 26, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Theoretically you reduce transaction costs.

John James August 26, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Riiiight, that’s why it’s so much more expensive for me to trade stock online as opposed to calling Bud Fox.

Tyrone Dell August 26, 2011 at 8:10 pm

No. It’s less expensive for you to trade stock online as it was to trade stocks my mailing a letter to your stock broker a hundred years ago. Or even giving your stock broker a ring on the telephone a couple decades ago.

Similarly, it’s less expensive to get an online education than to actually visit a brick and mortar university.

Middlemen reduce transaction costs. Middlemen are always innovating themselves to reduce transaction costs even further. This is a good thing for consumers.

John James August 27, 2011 at 2:35 am

You give two examples proving Ezekiel’s point (using his examples in fact) and then conclude the exact opposite. K.

Greg August 29, 2011 at 11:02 am

I think you missed Tyrone’s point. The middlemen in the stockbroker business used to take phone calls and letters. Now they make websites. The middlemen are still there. Even though the old business model is dying, a new one is taking its place, and it is winning because it is reducing transaction costs to new lows.

John James September 8, 2011 at 1:17 am

No, I did not miss any point. Ezekiel asked what value do gatekeepers add. Tyrone claims they reduce transaction costs. But he readily admits things are cheaper without them being in the way.

No one said anything about web designers at “stockbroker businesses”. The comment was made about actual stock brokers. With advances in technology, agents are less and less necessary, as it becomes more feasible for individuals to do things themselves. You admit a new business model is taking its place, but you completely neglect the fact that it is one with less gatekeepers. That was Ezekiel’s whole point.

Daniel Kuehn August 26, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Before we go off the deep end about “feared and rejected” by the “mainstream”…

…are there any school of thought specific master’s programs for any other school of thought at any other university in the country?

I’m not aware of any. Usually if masters’ in economics (which are very rare anyway) are in anything other than “economics”, it’s either a field (financial economics and development economics are common ones) or it’s “applied economics” – i.e., more of a practitioner degree than a scholar’s degree.

I’m guessing this was rejected because it was deemed to have no academic value and there was very little demand for it.

Why can’t Austrian econoimcs just be a field specialty? (even that’s rare to see – field specialties in particular schools of thought).

JFF August 26, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Field specialities are not rare, but they’re usually done in disciplines. For example, depending on the institution, you can take a master’s degree in civil engineering and specialize in structures, geotech, water resources, environmental, or construction.

Still there is no reason why one couldn’t pursue a master’s degree in economics specializing in the Austrian method.

Daniel Kuehn August 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm

The Austrian school is a school of thought – it’s very unusual. As a field it’s more normal – there are a few. But usually schools of thoughts don’t have fields the way the Austrian school has a few field options in a few programs. I’ve never heard of any degrees in a school of thought. I don’t think people should be surprised by this. It’s a very strange proposal and they should have anticipated it would have gotten rejected.

Daniel J. D'Amico August 26, 2011 at 3:01 pm

Thank you for the kind write up Stephan!

I will say that I remain very optimistic about the expansion of our programs here at Loyola – both undergraduate and graduate. As far as this initial denial is concerned, it is not entirely surprising nor completely discouraging.

Trust me when I say that this process is extremely complicated and resource intensive. As such, it has been a learning experience for all of those involved. What we have learned thus far is that for the proposal that we had put together to have been approved last Spring, it would have required many dispersed stars to align so to speak – and very quickly at that. These stars included but were not necessarily limited to, significant fund raising, endowment accrual, faculty searches and hires, curriculum designs and implementations, as well as processes involving University and college accreditation.

As the proposal was submitted we admittedly did not have complete or certain answers to all of these questions. In fact, by undergoing the procedures we have experienced, we have only now learned the many tasks and necessary components to moving towards our goal. In turn, I think that this initial denial may become a blessing in disguise.

The development of a masters program in Austrian economics remains a formal component of our college of business’s strategic plan. What we hope to do in the upcoming years is close a significant portion of the uncertainty window that was tied to this earlier proposal. In other words, we are currently investigating grant and fund raising opportunities in order to expand our faculty base and undergraduate student programs.

With additional funded faculty added to our staff we hope to offer our undergraduate students more diverse electives, interactive student research opportunities and extra-curricular learning processes such as seminars, conferences and reading groups. If we succeed in these short term goals of departmental expansion, then we will have a more informed vision as to how viable designing, staffing, funding and implementing a masters program will be in the future. Ideally so to would a committee responsible for approving such a proposal also have that clearer vision.

I periodically receive follow up emails from our online survey designed to garner the demand side interest for such a masters program. I ask that those interested in staying up to date on our program and program expansions in the future fill out the survey here:


I plan to draft a sort of informational memo to all survey respondents sometime within the next week or so to keep them abreast of the above information as well as to gain a vision of potential fund raising sources to support our department in these crucial processes moving forward.

To make a long story short we are moving forward and in many ways we are moving forward more tangibly and quickly than we would have been able to had our initial proposal been approved as it had been drafted.

Again, I thank you for the kind write up and your general support of our efforts to spread the ideas of Austrian economics, free markets, peace and liberty.


Dan D’Amico

Caroline August 26, 2011 at 7:07 pm

geez, I was angling my genius homeschooled kids to the econ department at Loyola…. ;) oh well, it will eventually happen at here or there whether or not Loyola chooses to be on the cutting edge or not.

JTG August 26, 2011 at 8:33 pm

What a bunch of maroons!

Virginia Llorca August 26, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Me=Loyola Cgo. Daughter=same. Brother=Marquette Milwaukee. I just coincidentally said in another blog this morning: “Those darn Jevvies.”

Then there was the Spanish Inquisition. So feel blessed.

Ned Netterville August 27, 2011 at 11:10 am

Jebbies, not Jevvies, at least at Gesu parish school, Iggy’s (Ignatius) H.S. and J.C.U. (John Carroll) in Cleveland. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Jebbie

Virginia Llorca August 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I need your email if you want the PDF. Either at my blog in comments or virginiallorca@gmail.com.

(Or you could buy it at Amazon.com!!!!) Thanks for the comments. Send me a rough idea and I’ll run with it.

A. August 27, 2011 at 4:06 am

“morality, culture and faith”? I assume this was meant to appeal to a certain group?

Justin Ptak August 27, 2011 at 6:31 am

Do not take Koch money.

Salamanca34 August 27, 2011 at 11:53 am

Well said!

Tyrone Dell August 27, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Why not?

Ned Netterville August 27, 2011 at 11:15 am

I believe Jesús Huerta de Soto started Master and Ph.D. programs In Austrian economics at Rey Juan Carlos University of Madrid, Spain.

Salamanca34 August 27, 2011 at 11:51 am

Just take classes at Mises Academy and get the knowledge. You can also master Austrian Econ at no charge by using the vast resources of the Mises Institute!

Gangrenebacks August 27, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I think that having an Austrian School of Economics program under a larger Economics School umbrella implies that other schools are at least equal to or better. I fail to see any real problem, except there’s a lot of economic mumbo jumbo being taught everywhere that needs eradication. You don’t do that by becoming part of the rotten apple.

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