Monday, September 14, 2009

Economists With Ethics

The Association for Integrity and Responsible Leadership in Economics and Associated Professions (AIRLEAP) is "deeply concerned about the issues of integrity and responsible leadership in economics as they relate to economic discourse, economic decision making, and the career development of economists and related professionals."


Anonymous said...

Proudhon: "The enemies of society are Economists" (Carnets, vol. 3, p. 209)

Well, obviously, not all but a lot of them seem to be...

An Anarchist FAQ

Robert Vienneau said...

AIRLEAP says they have no position on heterodox versus orthodox economics. I'll be interested if they maintain that. I think one teaching mainstream microeconomics, says, is constrained to teach nonsense and lies. Heterodox economists are more likely to agree. Purges maintain mainstream economics. The oligopolists constituting mainstream economics don't seem to care.

Anonymous said...

Alan Freeman has found that economics can be more doctrinaire than theology:

Magpie said...

Association for Integrity and Responsible Leadership in Economics and Associated Professions.

It sounds to me almost like an oxymoron. And I don't mean this lightly or simply as a sarcastic comment.

The quotation below is from the little old book "A History of Economic Thought", by William J. Barber (if you ever have the chance, read it, it's well worth your time):

"Though a lively debate was carried on in tracts produced in England at this time [17th century], most of its participants took only a piecemeal view of the workings of the economic system and few of them made a conscious effort to detach their arguments from their interest in promoting the advantage of particular groups."

This paragraph means that economic agents (in this case, mercantilist pamphleteers/merchants) have a natural tendency to promote their interests, as if what's good for them was necessarily good for everyone.

This does not need to be the result of a conscious decision to manipulate the public, although that will often be the end result.

If you think about it, it's perfectly natural that people write about what interests them, what affects their personal fortunes, in their day to day lives.

Say, Thomas Aquinas did write about economic topics, but he could never have written about the ethics of selling "shitty deal" CDOs, because, well, there were no CDOs then: he had no personal experience of that.

It was the classicals who introduced the dubious notion that they were actually detaching themselves from their personal interests.

In any case, I wish the AIRLEAP folks good luck.

Magpie said...

I wrote my previous comment before reading Charles Ferguson's "Larry Summers and the Subversion of Economics" linked elsewhere in this website.

I don't usually think of myself as being naive, but if a fraction of what Mr. Ferguson alleges is true, then I must recognize that I'm not only naive, but utterly foolish.

Mr. Ferguson's allegations, if I read correctly, go beyond honest arrogance, incompetence and stupidity. Venality is the word that comes to mind.