What delicious irony that Steve Marglin tries to argue against modernity–saying that we need more community and less stuff–in an appearance on…YouTube.

Will Wilkinson keeps sounding like he wants to put “community spirit” into the utility function, so that economists can tame it, domesticate it, measure it, factor in its opportunity cost, and take its partial derivative. Marglin resists.

Note the way these two intellectuals debate. They do not trade insults. They concede their own doubts and the persuasiveness of the other’s points.

You may recall that I discussed Marglin’s latest book about a month ago.