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Economism-ism

This sort of article is either why I started blogging in the first place, or am on the verge of quitting. It’s extraordinarily disingenuous and frustrating. Here is one example:

With unions only a distant memory for many people, federal minimum-wage legislation has become the best hope for propping up wages for low-income workers. And again, the worldview of economism comes to the aid of employers by abstracting away from the reality of low-wage work to a pristine world ruled by the “law” of supply and demand.

Really. The BEST? Not figuring out ways to increase the demand for their services? Not figuring out ways to improve their productivity? Not wage subsidies or EITC or any other program like it? Nope, the BEST hope is the minimum wage.

And yes, all of us economists are in the employ of employers. Actually, we are, by University employers. But if one ends a big think article on the premise that a huge industry of economists exists to blow the party line of businesses, that should tell you something about the intellectual edifice the piece is built on. At least now my econ students have a nice long article they are going to have to go paragraph by paragraph through – to benefit the employers of course.

5 Responses to “Economism-ism”

  1. Tyler says:

    I have been meaning to ask you, how do economists measure productivity for fast food workers. I work at Dunkin’, u

  2. Tyler says:

    I have been meaning to ask you, how do economists measure productivity for fast food workers. I work at Dunkin’, I get a dollar more an hour, but I still do the same amount of work. I know your point is a broader point, but I wanted to ask you about that as I got my pay increase and continued the same quality of work I’d given in the past.

  3. Alex says:

    Surprised to hear you say this. I thought this article did a much better job of presenting the “other” side than most. It was also more nuanced… “Any change in the minimum wage would have different effects on different groups of people, and should also be compared with other policies that could help the working poor—such as the negative income tax (a cash grant to low-income households, similar to today’s Earned Income Tax Credit) favored by Milton Friedman, or the guaranteed minimum income that Friedrich Hayek assumed would exist.”

    • wintercow20 says:

      This article is textbook version of what is wrong with writing on economics, and I suppose the teaching of economics. Just tossing out some of the empirical evidence as “proof” that “all sides” are being presented “fairly” is exactly the kind of thing that is a problem. He is not presenting the very core economics right, and the insertion of Milton Friedman and Hayek in the quote you put above is evidence to me that this is just another political piece and not an analytic piece. What is added to the economic analysis by putting two liberal names in there?

      I much prefer a direct, frontal, opinion piece on what is wrong with economics.

  4. Henry Hazlitt from his “Economics in One Lesson” 1946
    easyopinions.blogspot.com/2008/11/economics-in-one-lesson-lesson.html
    === ===
    Economics is haunted by more fallacies than any other subject. The difficulties of the subject are great enough. And they are multiplied a thousandfold by the special pleadings of selfish interests.

    A group may benefit greatly from certain policies. It will hire the best buyable minds to argue plausibly and persistently for them. It will either convince the public or so befuddle the argument that clear thinking becomes next to impossible.
    === ===

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