Economist Nicholas Mangee, “A Moveable Feast” and photos of the Savannah Cotton Exchange interior

I have a huge amount of respect for the work being done by many of my colleagues at Armstrong Atlantic State University.

Some of you have gotten at least a taste of Assistant Professor of Economics Nicholas Mangee‘s work via his column Our Economic Times in the Savannah Morning News. I was lucky to have an office just a couple of doors down from Nick’s for the last two years, during which time I became accustomed to his incisive thinking and his ability to discuss the behavior of markets in clear terms.

Some Savannah residents took advantage of the chance to see and hear Nick in person last week at the old Savannah Cotton Exchange on Factors Walk — the building is now Solomon’s Lodge, the oldest continuously operating English-constituted Freemasons lodge in the western hemisphere.

The 1886 structure seemed an especially appropriate venue for Nick’s talk kicking off Armstrong’s lecture series “A Moveable Feast.” Nick spoke about the ways in which the various liberal arts can and should be applied to economists’ assessments of markets.

Nick is an expert in Imperfect Knowledge Economics, which recognizes “the importance of non-routine change and imperfect knowledge for understanding market outcomes and the consequences of economic policy.”

As we consider those outcomes and try to understand the limitations of our own knowledge of markets, we would do well to call upon thinkers and theorists from a variety of fields. And obviously we need to avoid letting ideology outweigh the stories that good numbers are telling us. While Nick emphasized the need for economists to look outside their own field, I’d flip that around a little: it’s incumbent upon thinkers across disciplines to have a working knowledge of economics and to force themselves to become comfortable with data and math.

The next installment of “A Moveable Feast” will be Armstrong Assistant Professor Lara Wessell speaking on the limits of presidential power at 6 p.m. on October 24 at The Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum.

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