Friday, September 12, 2008

Errors in Essays: Again

Something called publishes snappy essays, two of which I read with concern about their accuracy, at least as transcribed at this site (HERE):

Some Errors in the Essays:

Adam Smith was not born in ‘Kircaldy’.
It was, and remains, a town called ‘Kirkcaldy’.

Smith did not go to Glasgow and earn “his Masters degree three years later”. He spent 3-years at Glasgow (1737-40) and left for Oxford without graduating – a condition of the Snell Exhibition that he won.

He gained his MA degree from Oxford University.

Adam Smith guided the young Duke of Buccleugh (also spelt ‘Buccleuch’) on an intellectual tour of France and Geneva but it was not funded by “the Duke's father” (a repeated error).

It was funded by the Duke’s step-father, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Charles Townshend, who had married the young Duke’s widowed mother. Townshend is also known for imposing the taxes on Indian tea that provoked the ‘Boston Tea Party’.

2nd essay HERE:

A system called Mercantilism, or the Commercial System, was in place.’

Smith referred to the prevailing economic systems as ‘mercantile political economy’ and not ‘mercantilism’.

The word ‘mercantilism’ came from German economists in the 19th century and Smith never used the word ‘mercantilism’.

his views led to the introduction of the Classical System”.

This confuses economic ideas and doctrine with real world events exemplified in the rest of the sentence: ‘which dominated European trade for well over a century’.

Another couple of essays on the Internet and both contains both factual and conceptual errors. A ‘Karen Murdarasi’ claims copyright over the two essays but students who use them risk losing marks for the errors, and Karen Murdarasi risks her reputation.

The essays site as reference authorities: “Sources: M Skousen (2007) The Big Three in Economics, S G Medema and W J Samuels (2003) The History of Economic Thought: A Reader”.

Knowing Steve Medema and Warren Samuels, both senior and distinguished scholars in the history of economic thought, I doubt that Karen has read her references carefully.

More to the point, does ‘Suite' not have editors who check the essays for factual accuracy before posting them?


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