I am Davis Taylor. I teach economics at College of the Atlantic (COA), in Bar Harbor, Maine. While this site is not affiliated with COA, it is written largely for my students, who might be interested in my further thoughts, and might wish to share theirs. Of course, anyone else is welcome to view and respond to the material in the site.
The purpose of this blog: a lot of interesting questions and lines of thought come in in my classes, conversations with students, musings with other faculty, etc. Some of them merit recording and sharing and scrutiny…but I’m not a big fan of all the formalities of research and publishing. (I do formal research occasionally, and read a lot of great research…it’s important stuff, I just don’t want to do much of it myself. Google “Chaung-tzu’s turtle” if you want a better explanation. As you’ll learn if you read a lot here, I try to practice a Taoist perspective in my life…and academic publishing doesn’t fit Tao at all. It took me many years of musing to even work up the gall to have a blog.) So I’m writing some of those ideas here, in hopes that they might prove valuable to others, stimulate further discussion with me and my students, etc. Some of what gets written here might be daily chatter, like book or website recommendations and such …but the more central person is to record some bigger ideas. If no one reads it, that’s fine, it’s just a record of some thoughts.
My perspectives are greatly influenced by my background. I earned my Ph.D. in economics from the University of Oregon in 1995. My views here are of course greatly influenced by my economics training, but they are also influenced by a wide number of other parts of my background: growing up in a suburban California middle class Republican household; lots of long distance running; attending West Point; following and leading in a multi-ethnic, socioeconomically diverse Army (practicing being miserable all over the Pacific Rim); living in the mind-opening world of Eugene, Oregon during grad school; teaching for 17 years in an environment where disciplinary boundaries are purposefully limited, intellectual blindness is not tolerated, and students pose *very* challenging questions to assumptions and preconceived notions; living and teaching in southeastern Mexico on four different occasions; and the struggles of starting a family farm in Maine (just to name a few). My journey has given me some precious intellectual jewels: working with people from a wide range of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds; knowledge gained from hard work and uncomfortable conditions; an intimate knowledge of the capricious nature of nature; the intellectual rigor of a rich, powerful, very mathematical discipline; the intellectual freedom to challenge the weaknesses of that discipline, the boundless space to think (if not teach) of how things are all connected; and most importantly, great students who are passionate about learning, sharing an intellectual journey, and changing the world (even if we conclude that we can’t change the world…more on that later).