Friday, 1 February 2008

What more needs to be said? (updated x6)

According to Paul Bloom, a professor of psychology at Yale, "The problem is not that economists are unreasonable people, it’s that they’re evil people".

(HT: Greg Mankiw)

Update: Phil Miller, on the Market Power blog, comments here: The Evil Economist and the Market for Organs.

Update 2: Stephen J. Dubner blogs on this quote on Freakonomics. His message contains the following addendum which is an email from Paul Bloom:
Hi Stephen,

I just read your entry on the Freakonomics blog, and thought I should send a quick reply.

Yes, my remark about evil economists was a joke. This was perfectly clear at the talk and it’s clear if you watch the video, but not from the NYTimes article, unfortunately. After I make the remark and people laugh, I then say “To put it more fairly …,” and go on to make the point that economists tend to reason consequentially, and are less sensitive to other considerations such as taboo, disgust status quo bias, and so on. I actually think that economists are right to do so in general, and I’ve argued in particular that disgust is useless as a guide for moral behavior. So, no, I don’t think you’re evil!



Update 3: There are video and audio available from the recent American Enterprise Institute panel discussion on Repugnance as a Constraint on Markets: The Influence of Emotion and Reason on What We Buy and Sell during which the Bloom comment was made. The discussion interesting for more than just the joke.

Update 4: Edward J. Lopez comments on The Economics of Repugnance at Division of Labor.

Update 5: Paul Kedrosky comments, Be It Resolved: Economists Are Evil

Update 6: Ronald Bailey comments at Reason Magazine, Are Markets Repugnant?