Hostility Toward Economics
By Arnold Kling
Zimran Ahmed, commenting on a piece by David Warsh, writes,
I’ve been thinking of why people find economics so fundamentally repugnant, and I think the fact that it goes against millennium of natural selection that re-enforced building, monitoring, and maintaining social relationships, is a large part of that. We humans are hard-wired to prefer interacting with those we know and trust, those we consider family and friends, and the soul-less transactional nature of the market makes that cozy circle compete with anonymous firms, tellers, recorded voices, etc.
I agree. Perhaps some of the opposition to international trade represents a primordial suspicion of people who are not in our family our tribe.
Warsh’s article discusses a book by Paul Seabright that analyzes how human trade evolved.
UPDATE: Here is a recent article by Seabright.
A Q&A section from the book’s web site provides our discussion question.
For Discussion. You [Seabright] write that it is through the construction of economic institutions and rules that we have learned to cooperate with and trust one another, first of all as individuals and in more recent years as nation states. How do you see those institutions evolving in the future, or do you think we are in real danger of losing them because of the combined ill-effects of a single superpower, and the spread of international terrorism?