American Economic Policy, as told by Martin Feldstein at Harvard University: Lecture 1, Introduction to Economics 1420

Martin Feldstein Harvard University“This is a remarkable year for studying economic policy in the United States.”

That is how Martin Feldstein began his course “American Economic Policy” for undergraduates at Harvard University. I’ve gone in cognito and hope all the 20 year olds will not notice me—well not really.

It is just one of several courses I’ll audit this spring semester, and besides it was not too hard to hide in the overflowing room, standing room only at least for this first day of class.

Feldstein is a player in US economic policy. The biography on his website says:

From 1982 through 1984, Martin Feldstein was Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and President Reagan’s chief economic adviser. He served as President of the American Economic Association in 2004. In 2006, President Bush appointed him to be a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. In 2009, President Obama appointed him to be a member of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.

Since I am slated to teach a similar course at the University of Ottawa next year after my academic leave is over, it makes sense to see how the Harvard professor handles the big macro-economic issues of our time. So every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning it is back to undergraduate economics for me, and I’ll post my edited class notes if you want to follow along, learn some macro-economic theory, and develop an appreciation of the economic challenges facing the United States (and presumably other rich countries).

During the first class Professor Feldstein posed the big questions and issues the course will tackle, as well as laying out some of the administrative  ground work.

#S17 is today, and reminds us of the price of inequality

The twitter hash tag is #S17, and using it will connect you to all those preparing for the first anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, which of course is today, September 17th.

You will find tweets encouraging your participation: “If you feel that the world is on the right track, stay home. If you know things are bad, Join your local #OWS.”

Others will guide you on how to prepare, be it “Escaping from Zip Ties” or “How to pick your way out of handcuffs” (actually just the Smith and Weston model 100s).

But whatever your level of engagement, there is a message that this anniversary has for us all, a reminder of the real price of inequality.

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