24 thoughts on “Notch Up Another One”

  1. I used to be proud of the UofC. Not anymore. Mearsheimer and his re-make of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion have destroyed any positive feelings I might have still had for alma matter.

    Go Wildcats.

  2. While I think Mearsheimer is a putz (and remember Coatesworth?), I also think you have to look at each academic department separately. Economics has always been top-notch.

  3. Sorry, the university is a single institution. When they come for money, it does no good to say don’t spend it on PoliSci. If they spend it on something else that frees up general funds for PoliSci.

    I am a very unhappy camper.

  4. Robert – my alma mater allows me to donate to the business school directly. I’ve never asked about individual schools within Arts and Sciences – since the Chem department is taking 70% of the royalties on my patents, I figure they don’t need any more of my money. But you might ask about donating to the business school directly (they may even have their own fundraising efforts – ours does). Since a lot of Econ profs also teach MBA students and business Ph.D. classes, you’d probably be supporting the Econ Department indirectly. Also, there’s nothing wrong with Physics and Chemsitry at UC, so you could donate directly to the instrument funds of those departments.

    Heck, if you get enough disgruntled alumni together, you could perhaps endow a grad student stipend in a department you like. Stipends run about $15,000 – $20,000 per year, I think. Set up an award for the best cosmology student (or whatever strikes your fancy) for the year, and select a panel of faculty to judge for you.

  5. Oh yes – upper level grad students are paid out of the grant money received by individual profs. This means that the money you free up will go to another student in that department (actually it will go to another student in the group of the one you select). It can’t be shifted by the University to another prof or department.

    I was the recipient of such an award as a grad student, not from alumni, but from the Air Force. It meant that a newbie grad student in our group did not have to teach that year.

  6. Jay – it sends a message loud and clear to the Administration, too. They very quickly realize that every dollar going to endow that grad student fellowship is not going in the University coffers.

    I picked a grad fellowship because you could probably find 30 guys in your circle of alumni friends and acquaintances to pony up the required money per year. A few more and you could endow a post-doc position, and with 200 or so people, you might even be able to endow a professorship without asking for too much from any one person. The money diverted from general fund to an Endowed Chair would be enough to give the Chancellor nightmares.

  7. Are there enough authentic Chicago Boys in the ChicagoBoyz to try that for real? I’m not an alum, but I’d kick in something, just to put my money where my mouth is.

  8. Through bitter experience, we have found (not we in the personal sense – we don’t have the money, but my husband has been CEO of an organization that raised money for an endowed chair, a university fellowship, and a grant program for visiting scholars – at three different institutions) that these do not always work well. The key is to define the use as much as possible but, more importantly, place it where a faculty member who really cares (and did without the money, just not as effectively) does much of the administration. Clearly, Chicago’s economics department, like that school, was already friendly toward certain values. When that was true, the money went quite far and seems to be doing a great deal of good. At a more prestigious institution that received the largest amount of money, it was seen as a resume-enhancer more than seed money. The result has been that the money has built up rather nicely, but that is because it has sat in the endowment fund and little has been done.

  9. Let us be realistic guys. A University — any university — needs lots of money. Some of it comes from tuition, some of it comes from investments, some of it comes from research grants, and some of it comes from contributions. If I contribute $100 to support department X, that is $100 of funds that the university receives from other sources that can be used to support department Y. The only way to communicate your unhappiness, is to not contribute at all.

  10. Mearsheimer was right about Gulf War I (it would be a walkover), he was right (and I was dead wrong) about Gulf War II (containment is working, it will be a mess if we go in there, don’t do it), and he is by and large right about the influence of the Israel lobby. The main problem is that similar things could be said about several such lobbies. Israel’s domestic lobby is not unique. The Armenians are too powerful — look at this current foolish gesture toward the Turks. The Irish were too powerful 100 years ago, when an Anglo-American alliance might have prevented World War I. Relatively small, focused, cohesive interest groups ALWAYS have too much impact on public policy, foreign policy included — Mancur Olson’s evergreen book The Logic of Collective Action. I read Mearsheimer’s initial article. It was not a reprise of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It offered facts and arguments, which can be responded to, and many people have done so. Mearsheimer, also, was one of the best teachers I had at U of C, and all of his books, which I have read, except for the most recent one, are very good.

  11. Here is Mearsheimer’s pre-Gulf War II article. It was right on. I read it and rejected it in this post, which shows the state of delusion many of us were under at the time, though that is no excuse of course.

  12. I read much of Mearsheimer and Walt’s initial article. I recommend that everyone do so. It was loaded with unsupported, and I think flagrantly inaccurate, assertions about Israel and the Palestinians and about “the Israel lobby.” I found much of the reasoning to be sloppy at best, which surprised me given Mearsheimer’s reputation. I have no idea what’s going on, but something is fishy. Public criticisms of M&W have converged on this point: that M&W impute all kinds of power and influence to the pro-Israel lobby but ignore the influence of the pro-Arab lobby, particularly the Saudis. This seems to me to be a valid criticism, and makes me wonder about M&W’s motives. Yet, not having (AFAIK) responded adequately to this criticism, they push ahead with their book. I’m sure the book will get the scrutiny it deserves.

  13. You were right in 2003. The problem with M&W’s 2003 Foreign Policy article was that it framed everything in terms of Saddam Hussein and nuclear deterrence. That was part of the issue but not the main issue. Fouad Ajami, who you quoted in your 2003 post, got it right:

    Any fallout of war is certain to be dwarfed by the terrible consequences of America’s walking right up to the edge of war and then stepping back, letting the Iraqi dictator work out the terms of another reprieve.

    The USA, having been hit with the worst surprise attack since Pearl Harbor, had no choice but to embark on a major military campaign. Anything less would have been seen universally as a failure of nerve and would have validated the Islamists’ belief that we were too decadent to remain a force in world affairs. Attacking Afghanistan was not sufficient; it would have been seen as a mere tit-for-tat response in a context where we had to up the ante severely in order to reestablish deterrence. The only question was where we should attack, and Iraq was the obvious target due to its central location, relative weakness and the certainty that we would face future problems from Saddam Hussein if we allowed him to remain in power. The most surprising thing about it all was that we stopped after invading Iraq.

  14. OffT:
    JJ, you don’t have your e-mail listed, not at this blog, not @link at your signature, so I’ll write it here.

    I thought you might find this discussin interesting, with your connection to pharma-world.

  15. “The most surprising thing about it all was that we stopped after invading Iraq.” It’s not surprising that you stop attacking people when your whole military is being kept very busy with the war you already have.

  16. It’s surprising to me. Millions of Americans don’t think twice about advocating a government takeover of our medical system, but somehow the question of expanding our military during a major war is politically taboo.

  17. Er…Lex, for somebody so well-read on all matters War and Military, it’s a strange expression you choose, “you stop attacking people…”.
    We didn’t and don’t attack “people”. We attack – as is the purpose of military – enemy forces. Armies, combatants, agressors (incidentally, in my view Iran, as Iraq, is an aggressor).

    But it’s an aside and definitely off-topic of the original post.

  18. It looks like a duck.
    It quacks like a duck.
    It waddles like a duck.
    It swims like a duck.
    It flies like a duck.

    It is the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.

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