Texas SBOE vs. “Capitalism” (with audio)

I’m too busy this week to follow the circus going on now in Austin; I’ll have to catch up later.

However, I think I should post some audio (below) to provide background on this business, as reported by TFN Insider:

12:04 – The current standards draft currently refer to the economic system that exists in the United States as “free enterprise (capitalist, free market).” Mercer offers an amendment to strike out “(capitalist, free market)” in the standards and leave just “free enterprise.” The board’s far-right members have repeatedly complained (absurd) that “capitalism” is a negative term and, in any case, that state statute requires students to learn about the “free enterprise system.” Scholars on the curriculum teams had argued that “capitalism” and “free market” are commonly used terms in economics courses and everyday discourse. But Mercer and his allies on the board have this bizarre fetish with the words “free enterprise” over all others. Terri Leo: “I do think words mean things. . . . I see no reason, frankly, to compromise with liberal professors from academia.” The woman is shameless. How dare she attack someone whose politics she doesn’t even know.

12:08 – Pat Hardy notes that the scholar who recommended that “capitalism” and “free market”  be used in the standards teaches at Texas A&M and is a Republican. He is “not some kind of crazy liberal,” she says.

12:11 – One is tempted to climb to the top of the Texas Education Agency building and shout: “These people have lost their minds.”

12:12 – Pat Hardy is calling out the board for its silliness and the suggestion that “capitalism” is a “nasty word.”

12:13 – Ken Mercer: I think capitalism is a good word, but academics don’t. Really? And where does he get that? This is a classic example of how some board members attack and smear without any facts.

12:15 – Guess what? It passes. The Texas State Board of Education has stricken from the standards references to “capitalism” and “free market” because the board’s right-wingers think “capitalism” is a negative term. The only permitted term for such an economic system will be “free enterprise.” We wouldn’t believe this if we hadn’t just watched it happen. This is so stupid it makes our head hurt.

Here’s the Texas A&M Republican, at a special meeting in April, 2009, defending the work of his writing team against the charge that they had underhandedly subverted the standards by using the word “capitalism”:

Wolken_Economics

One Comment

  1. trog69
    Posted March 11, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for putting up this audio. I feel for that professor. He must have thought he’d walked into a loony-bin.


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