Saturday, May 19, 2007

"Why Do People Hate Economists?"

Ezra Klein has a series of posts on the topic. Some of the commentators seem to me to know what they are talking about. The discussion gets into the question of whether issues of efficiency can be separated from issues of equity, of whether efficiency can be discussed in a value-neutral way. (Short answer: No.)

Klein also talks about how "econ-speak" privileges attempts to raise Gross Domestic Product over attempts to pursue other goals. He illustrates this claim by discussion of vacation time. (I realize that, at the level of high theory, Klein's claim is false. I think that this objection elides questions of how economists participate in public discourse.)

I think people "hate" economists, like Democrats "hate" President Bush, or the French "hate" Americans. That is, it is just something some people disconnected from reality tell themselves to discredit other points of view.

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