“Economics Is a Form of Brain Damage”

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That slogan, which you can see on display in this 1993 full-page New York Times ad nearby, is making a comeback of sorts on the left. A generation ago it was the slogan of the environmental left, which hates the fact that we live in a world of tradeoffs, and which thinks we live in a world where the only unlimited resource is other people’s money. The late David Brower was quoting environmental activist Hazel Henderson in that expensive ad; Henderson said at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 that when the green revolution finally comes, economists would be rounded up and sent to re-education camps.

I say the slogan is “making a comeback,” though I suppose it never really went away in the general precincts on the left. But most environmentalists have grudgingly admitted the importance of economics, even if their grasp of the subject is typically at a kindergarten level. At least it’s some progress.

But as I noted here back in January, economics as an academic discipline has been the one social science most immune to the nihilism and willfulness of the PC-left. As I wrote then:

The one field in the social sciences where there is the least presence of post-modern oppression-“privilege” types is Economics, which prompts me to propose the theorem that the presence of politically correct nonsense in an academic department is inversely proportional to the emphasis placed on rigorous regression modeling.

I went on to note that the left is not happy about the resistance of economists, and were protesting at the annual meeting of the American Economics Association.

The latest installment of the leftist rage against economics comes from sociologist (stop giggling) Lisa Wade of Occidental College (where Obama attended to two years don’t forget), who argues that economists are “anti-social.”

Yep. Economics majors are more anti-social than non-econ majors. And taking econ classes also makes people more anti-social than they were before. It turns out, there’s quite a bit of research on this. . . Econ majors are less likely to share, less generous to the needy, and more likely to cheat, lie, and steal.

And you know what we do with anti-social people, right? Prof. Wade writes: “Being exposed to a variety of views, including ones that question the premises of neoclassical economics, may be one way to make economists more honest and kind.”  I’ll bet the economics department just loves her at Occidental faculty meetings.

Where is Hayek when we need him? Oh, he’s right here:

Hayek on Socialism copy


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