O.W.S. stages walk-out of Harvard econ class

@CNNMoney November 2, 2011: 2:20 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- An Occupy Wall Street group at Harvard University staged a walk-out Wednesday afternoon of the introductory economics class of Greg Mankiw, a former Bush administration economic advisor now working with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Mankiw is the main professor in the Economics 10 class that has about 750 students. Jose DelReal, a reporter with The Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper, said about 60 students participated in the walk-out.

Mankiw told CNNMoney Wednesday morning that the class is relatively apolitical, and that guest lecturers have included Larry Summers, who was a top economic advisor for both Presidents Obama and Clinton.

"When I enter a classroom, I try to leave my politics at a door," Mankiw said. "The class is very conventional economics. Adam Smith is pretty non-controversial among economists. But it can seem pretty conservative the first time you hear it."

An open letter to Mankiw posted online by protest leaders explained that the walk-out was being done "to express our discontent with the bias inherent in this introductory economics course."

It objected to the attention given to the teachings of Adam Smith, the father of free market capitalism, at the expense of other economic theorists.

Protestors descend on G20

"A legitimate academic study of economics must include a critical discussion of both the benefits and flaws of different economic simplifying models," said the letter. "If Harvard fails to equip its students with a broad and critical understanding of economics, their actions are likely to harm the global financial system. The last five years of economic turmoil have been proof enough of this."

Mankiw said he was initially surprised when he heard of the walk-out plans, but then understood the thinking.

"The economics profession has been implicated, by some people on the left, as a reason for recent developments," he said. "So I shouldn't have been too surprised that we ended up one of the targets."

Mankiw said he was already prepared to have his Wednesday lecture focus on growing inequality in recent decades.

"I'm disappointed the students will miss the lecture," he said. "I think the material is something they'd actually find interesting."

And Mankiw said he is more supportive of the Occupy Wall Street efforts than most of the protestors would realize.

"Over the past 20 years I've noticed a trend towards Harvard students becoming more and more focused on polishing their resumes," he said. "I think focusing more on social and economic policy issues we face is a healthy thing. I may not agree with all Occupy Wall Street movement's positions, but I understand their desire to think about alternative ways to structure society."  To top of page

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.80%3.88%
15 yr fixed3.20%3.23%
5/1 ARM3.84%3.88%
30 yr refi3.82%3.93%
15 yr refi3.20%3.23%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
Find personalized rates:
Economic Calendar
Latest ReportNext Update
Home pricesAug 28
Consumer confidenceAug 28
GDPAug 29
Manufacturing (ISM)Sept 4
JobsSept 7
Inflation (CPI)Sept 14
Retail sales Sept 14
  • -->

    Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.