Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Academia v. The Real World: Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School (1986)

And don't forget this scene from Contemporary American History class.

The Hobbesian
"Rodney Dangerfield points out that when using widgets one is not taking into account things like whether they are fungible and that every industry has certain characteristics which need to be taken into account. By the way, here is a link to a youtube clip of the scene which I think is a superb criticism of how academic economics can be completely out of touch with real world business practices.
I like that scene from “Back to School” a lot because it excellently captures the problem of widget economics, the professor, speaking in an arrogant and pedantic British/Aristocratic accent confidently outlines his model of a fictional firm.  Meanwhile, the unsophisticated, yet business savvy character played by Dangerfield tears into the professor’s lecture, pointing out all of the unique costs and considerations that go into any kind of business model which the professor seems to completely leave out.  This of course points to the very real fact of how many of the so called experts in business who sit in their academic halls and think tanks, have no actual experience in running a business themselves, and can be profoundly ignorant of many of the real life pressures which go into running a business.  I believe that there is something to be said for the fact that there are times when businessmen, living and working in the real economy on a daily basis, can have real insights into how economies work, insights which are often lost on the highly educated, yet experientially deficient academics."

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