Economics and Feminism

A very serious lecture, brought to you by Christina Hoff Sommers.

I think the basic assumption that bothers me most is that economists should somehow be in charge of something. She clearly views the profession of economist as being rightly of tremendous importance in shaping the world and ensuring just outcomes. In fact, economists just study what other people do and make theories about why it worked out that way. Some of these theories are better than others, but attempts to use economic theories to guide economic outcomes inevitably leads to worse economic outcomes. (For women, too.) Economists should stick to studying and thinking, and never be asked to run anything.


Texan99 said...

From your mouth to God's ears. But of course we both labor under the curious belief that a free economy is a good thing. If you really believe a command economy is better, I guess you have to put economists in command.

J Melcher said...

Bill Gates walked into a bar...

Economists are the people who believe, in such a scenario, that the average income among the bar patrons took a big jump. Mean net worth also increased. The median net worth also likely ticked upwards. The Gini Coefficient sky-rocketed. Any cut in the top rates to be paid into the federal income tax system will result in nearly all savings (or refunds) going to Bill, and a zero-to-negligible percentage benefitting the rest of the patrons. A carbon emissions trading scheme, cap-and-trade, or simple Pigovian Tax on carbon dioxide raise a lot of money from the bar patrons overall but be so comparatively small as to be noticed only by one, or perhaps two, of them. (One rich guy with his own aircraft, and one guy who hangs out reading conservative blogs...) Strangely, even though patron's average annual income rose sharply the rate of consumption of beer was flat. (Unlike the beer itself. Shiner, I think.) The percentage of bar patrons with college degrees fell slightly. The percentage who owned or operated their own businesses, rose slightly. Economists are the sort of people who believe all these artifacts of analysis have actual meaning.

I think I'd sooner have astrologers in charge. At least they make some attempt to tailor their analysis to more sets of the population.