Anybody else feel like A-level Economics is forcing neo-classical capitalism on you

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Varss
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Just learned about the labour market topic and had a discussion about executive pay and how it can be justified using the economic theory we learn. Felt a bit sick really.
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Mona123456
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(Original post by Varss)
Just learned about the labour market topic and had a discussion about executive pay and how it can be justified using the economic theory we learn. Felt a bit sick really.
Economics is a really interesting subject, but I see where you’re coming from—sometimes A Level syllabi are a bit narrow minded. Luckily, in the real world this is not the case and at degree level there’s a lot more depth and alternative ideas that you can get stuck into.

If you’re talking about MRP theory, then yes, to some extent labour market economics can justify CEO pay gaps. But even in A Level evaluation is critical and you shouldn’t have a completely one sided view—an essay question would require counter arguments. The Labour Party have proposed maximum pay ratios, and Theresa May enforced mandatory disclosure of CEO/average pay ratios for larger companies. There are many arguments for and against; and yes, neoclassical theory can be a little bit worrying, but that’s partly to do with selectivity. Smith’s ‘The Wealth of the Nations’ had many ‘neoclassical’ insights that were overlooked, about e.g. non monetary value. Just because it isn’t in an A Level syllabus, doesn’t mean neoclassical theory was all wrong and one sided—it isn’t. It’s just that sometimes you have to dig a bit deeper into what classical economists said, as over history there seems to have been a problem where some ideas were taken and popularised, whilst other amazing ones were forgotten or overlooked. Further reading might be something fun to consider broadening your horizons.

But in summary, the answer to your question is yes and no. The A Level syllabus can be a bit restraining, but that doesn’t mean that all of neoclassical economics is wrong or unjust. There are some curious insights in the works of classical economists, if you’re willing to look and find them.
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Varss
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(Original post by Mona123456)
Economics is a really interesting subject, but I see where you’re coming from—sometimes A Level syllabi are a bit narrow minded. Luckily, in the real world this is not the case and at degree level there’s a lot more depth and alternative ideas that you can get stuck into.

If you’re talking about MRP theory, then yes, to some extent labour market economics can justify CEO pay gaps. But even in A Level evaluation is critical and you shouldn’t have a completely one sided view—an essay question would require counter arguments. The Labour Party have proposed maximum pay ratios, and Theresa May enforced mandatory disclosure of CEO/average pay ratios for larger companies. There are many arguments for and against; and yes, neoclassical theory can be a little bit worrying, but that’s partly to do with selectivity. Smith’s ‘The Wealth of the Nations’ had many ‘neoclassical’ insights that were overlooked, about e.g. non monetary value. Just because it isn’t in an A Level syllabus, doesn’t mean neoclassical theory was all wrong and one sided—it isn’t. It’s just that sometimes you have to dig a bit deeper into what classical economists said, as over history there seems to have been a problem where some ideas were taken and popularised, whilst other amazing ones were forgotten or overlooked. Further reading might be something fun to consider broadening your horizons.

But in summary, the answer to your question is yes and no. The A Level syllabus can be a bit restraining, but that doesn’t mean that all of neoclassical economics is wrong or unjust. There are some curious insights in the works of classical economists, if you’re willing to look and find them.
I mean I am hoping to study Econ at uni next year and so I've done further reading to some extent but I just feel like uni is gonna be so different to alevel Econ 😂. Thanks for the v insightful reply btw
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Mona123456
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(Original post by Varss)
I mean I am hoping to study Econ at uni next year and so I've done further reading to some extent but I just feel like uni is gonna be so different to alevel Econ 😂. Thanks for the v insightful reply btw
You’re welcome. Great to see another future economics degree student—I am applying to study an economics degree as well—I’m really excited for the depth, breadth and challenges of University-level economics. And yes; I’ve heard how University economics is very different to A Level, especially regarding the mathematical content. I’m very much looking forward to the intrigue and complexity of University studies! Good luck with your applications.
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