Just finished reviewing the latest copy of the BYU Political Review. We’ll give them this: they’re miles ahead of the opinion writing in the Daily Universe. But all articles are not created equal. And for some reason, some political science majors misuse big words, presumably to make themselves sound smart.
Anywho, we general-ly (salute) find ourselves agreeing more with the articles written by econ majors than we do poly sci majors.
(Full disclosure: we were once a poly sci major. Whew. Feels good to get that one off the chest.)
Click the links to see what we mean.
Good (in our opinion):
- Critiquing Society by Ryan Fairchild
- Stupor Tuesday by Tim Taylor
- Mitt Can’t Blame The Ref by Ryan Decker
- Why Romney Lost by Zach Davis
Bad (as above):
- Why You Will End Up Voting For Obama by Craig Janis
- Why I’m Voting For McCain by Austin Baird
- So What If Democrats Like McCain? by Robert Liddle
- An Open Letter To The President Of Banana Republic by Tristan Call
Among the ones we liked, there are many points and even entire articles with which we did not agree. But we liked them. Because they were logical and made sense. And didn’t try to use or misuse too many big words to make themselves sound smart (cue someone’s critique of us for using schadenfreude). Additionally, one of the ones we didn’t like was written by one of our friends. Just because he’s our buddy doesn’t mean he gets a pass.
Our liberal friends will be happy to note that many of these articles embrace, at the very least, a liberal foreign policy agenda. And though we’ve mentioned it before, it merits bringing up again in this post: BYU professors politics by-and-large match the politics of their peers at other universities. That is to say, they tend to be Democrats.
Of the 39 or so professors in our major (history), two were registered as Republicans. An informal poll of the poly sci department showed some 80-90% were dems. Economics is probably more conservative/libertarian. Business school is no doubt conservativeish. But if they’re in an arts, humanities, social science department(engineering probably leans conservative as well), they’re more likely to be left-leaning. We’re sure they do their best to be fair. But it’s hard not to let your bias infiltrate your teaching. As anyone knows, it’s the biases we’re not aware of that are often most damaging.
All of this is by the by. Back to BYU PR. The article that annoyed us the most was the protectionist, “open letter to the president of Banana Republic.” The condescension of this little article probably matches the condescending tone we use when critiquing other writers’ word usage and grammar. Seriously. Take for example, this line:
I am unconvinced by your rationale for not publishing a list of the factories that Gap contracts with. The reasoning, from your online FAQ, was that: â€œWe invest a lot of time, effort and money in identifying factories that meet our product-quality and vendor-compliance standardsâ€¦We believe it would be unwise to provide a complete list of approved factories for our competitors to use.â€ Without question, I believe that protection and accountability for labor standards is worth the cost and the competition. I do not accept that obscuring specific and detailed information on particular contracts and factories is necessary for Gapâ€™s financial survival.
How, exactly, does Tristan expect Gap to gain a competitive advantage over their rivals if they disclose all of this information? Tristan’s lecturing tone belies a total ignorance of economics and business. When confronted by a so-called sweat shop, the only question he should ask is, “can they quit if they want?” That’s it. Because if they can, and they don’t, it’s because their sweat shop job is better than the alternative. And who is he to tell them otherwise? It’s that kind of sanctimonious, condescending, know-it-all-ism, that really chaps our asterisk.
His last graph centers on the “excesses” of executive pay. Again, Tristan, it’s basic economics. Low level workers get paid like low level workers because they are easily replaced. Top level execs get paid gazillions of dollars because they are not easily replaced. And they do the things that keep Gap in business and employ all the people at those 2000 factories you mentioned. If they weren’t doing their jobs or weren’t worth the money, they would get fired.
Congratulations, Tristan. You bought the talking points of the protectionists–especially labor unions. They don’t care about the environment in Brazil or Chinese working conditions. They just care about their jobs. The truth is, who are we to tell Brazil what to do with their rain forest? Or to tell the Chinese workers that they shouldn’t work 15 hour days for 25 cents? Obviously they chose that job because it was better than the alternative.
We’d like to go on and pound on all the fair traders, but it’s late, and mom says it’s time for us to get off the soap box.
Justin, Spikers, can we agree on free trade?
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