Saturday, May 12, 2007

Caplan on Economic Ignorance

Via Cafe Hayek:
Unfortunately, most people resist even the most basic lessons of economics. As every introductory teacher of the subject knows, students are not blank slates. On the first day of class, they arrive with strong -- and usually misguided -- beliefs about economics. Convincing students to rethink their anti-market views is no easy task.

The principles of economics are intellectually compelling; but emotionally, they fall flat. It feels better to believe that greedy intentions imply bad consequences, that foreigners destroy our prosperity and that price controls are a harmless way to transfer income. Given these economic prejudices, we should expect policies like steel tariffs, farm subsidies and the minimum wage to be popular.

No kidding. Talking about basic economics with those thoroughly indoctrinated in the socialist agenda is quite daunting. I cannot even convince people that benefits are another source of value transfer between employer and employee. If one cannot grasp that simple concept, what success with there be with the minimum wage and tariffs discussions?

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