To: Website fans, browsers, etc.
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Supply-Side University
I extend to all the readers of World Net Daily an opportunity to attend classes free-of-charge at the web-based Supply-Side University. You may either audit the courses or formally sign up as a registered student. All are welcome, and there is no fee whatsoever.
Incredibly, there is no systematic or formal teaching of supply-side economics in the economics department in any university in the world today. There really was no place since WWII where anyone could learn supply-side economics until I established Supply-Side University (SSU) almost four years ago. What makes this deficiency especially amazing is that the profound turn-around in the American economy from an era of accelerating inflation and mounting tax rates to the current era of robust non-inflationary growth initiated by former President Ronald Reagan was based on supply-side economic principles. Moreover, we see today that supply-side concepts are driving economic-policy reform in Russia, Germany, the rest of Western Europe, Canada and elsewhere to bring tax rates down the Laffer Curve and actually boost revenues without igniting inflationary growth. It is as if the Copernican Revolution has been spilling into the world for years, while the centers of higher learning, the media and the economics profession still continue to promote the Ptolemaic view of the way the world works.
I am totally convinced that one day, supply-side economics will be taught properly at schools around the world, but until then I am seeking with SSU to fill the void that our modern academic institutions have not. SSU is my effort to restore what had been called classical economics and taught everywhere prior to the Great Depression -- and to transmit these supply-side ideas to a new generation of students.
Of course, as economics really does not make sense without reference to its political overlay, many dimensions of a topic are explored at SSU. In past semesters we have examined the political marketplace and its integral connection to the economy. There is no political prejudice at SSU, though, no “Republican” or “Democrat” or “liberal” or “conservative” point of view per se that might intrude upon or distort the lesson. We have examined money and banking other semesters, and currently we are covering finance and public policy.
We began with a weekly lesson in supply-side economics, and this initial interaction blossomed into SSU. More than 3500 students from all 50 states and 45 countries have participated in SSU. There continues to be an increasing participation of students from the developing world, especially since SSU’s examination of monetary policy in 1997 warned of the disastrous consequences of the global monetary deflation that was about to hit Southeast Asia and spread from there. Students continue to register because of the unique educational opportunity provided here. Unlike most schools, where the professor decides what to teach from week to week, I tell my students to ask the questions, and I pick the most interesting on a weekly basis to include in a question-answer session or to use as the starting point for an entire lesson. SSU is based on the peripatetic Socratic principle, designed to provoke discussion among those who would like to learn for the sake of learning. Students proceed at their own pace and level of commitment with the lessons driven by the registered students, asking questions as they occur to them. The interests of the students and the importance of current events guide the lesson plan at SSU. Students will not be graded or tested, although they may be asked to comment on some economic debate currently taking place and receiving coverage in the media. These debates and discussions may be of special interest as they occur now in a national election year.
Via SSU’s “Talk Shop” students can interact with each other and with me, discussing concepts covered in class and their application today, as well as review previous historical examples of the principles involved. Often the theme of a class will be drawn from a concept over which SSU students are engaged in debate in “Talk Shop,” which can be considered an integral part of SSU. We have drawn upon distinguished “guest lecturers” from time to time. Among them have been 1999 Nobel Prize Winner and so-called “Godfather” of supply-side economics, Prof. Robert Mundell of Columbia University and Dr. Arthur Laffer, whose “Curve” now is being applied globally in an effort to remove high tax-rate barriers to expand economic recovery and growth. Bruce Bartlett, one of the original supply-siders back in the Reagan Treasury Dept., also has provided lectures and SSU has called upon the late Prof. Frederich von Hayek, of the Austrian school of economics for his singular insights regarding inflation. Dr. Reuven Brenner, who holds the George Petty chair of Economics at McGill University in Canada and is one of the most outstanding economists alive today, as well as Jack Kemp, the former GOP congressman and vice presidential candidate in 1996, who was most responsible for making a reality out of Reagan’s tax-rate cut proposals, also have appeared as guest lecturers.
We have just begun the fall semester at SSU, but the courses are such that you can drop in at any time and quickly get up to speed. SSU is open every Friday through Sunday. You can access it on our website -- http://www.polyconomics.com. Previous classes always are available.