Thursday, October 29, 2009

If you have a job STFU about unemployment??

Is the only valid opinion one that comes from personal experience? Do study and research and human capital mean nothing unless one has personally experienced the phenomenon? I ask because of the following, which appeared on a blog called Econospeak:

Some Questions on Unemployment for Economists

by Tom Walker

1. Over the last decade, in how many months have you a) had no income from employment? and b) were unsure how long it would be before you would again receive a paycheck?

2. How many times in your working life have you had to "change careers" because there were meager prospects in the field of work you had become proficient at?

3. How likely do you believe it is that you will be laid off as a professor in a) the next six months? b) the next year? c) the next five years?

4. How many of your fellow tenured economics professors do you know of who are currently laid off from their positions?

5. What do you think of the Pope's views on birth control?

EconoSpeak readers, please contribute your suggestions to this list of questions for economists on unemployment.

Here are my answers: (1) none, (2) never, (3) a: 0%, b: 10%, c: 20%, (4) If furloughs count as layoffs, hundreds, otherwise very few. (5) I disagree with the Pope's views on birth control, but NOT BECAUSE HE ALLEGEDLY IS CELIBATE!!!!!

If we extend this "logic":

Only the uninsured should have a voice in the health care debate.

Only soldiers should make our military decisions.

I can't tell if the post is supposed to be funny or if the guy thinks he is making some kind of point.


Kunal said...

I agree with Mr. Walker. I believe no one who has not been unemployed should be allowed to become an economist. Further, I believe that no one should be given a medical degree unless they have had leprosy.

Walker said...

Nice try, Angus. Look at the line ups for these policy forums on unemployment. Nobody but tenured academics needs apply. The unemployed are EXCLUDED from the discussion, not the other way around. To point this out, even satirically, is not the same thing as to say that no one who doesn't have direct personal experience has anything to say worth hearing. Following your "logic", anyone with military experience should be excluded from military debates. What part of "no taxation without representation" do you not understand?

Walker said...

I see you've at least correctly labeled your post "sophistry", Angus. I demonstrate the sophistry of your feeble attempt at reductio ad absurdum back at EconoSpeak. Please do drop by and answer my question.

LoneSnark said...

Interesting question... If the decision of going to war was left up to a democratic vote among military personnel (privates equal to generals) would wars be more or less common than they are today?

Tom said...

I can't tell what point Walker is trying to make. People who study a thing shouldn't write about it? People who have been gobsmacked by an anecdote are best qualified to see the big picture?

As to voting for war, lets have that ballot amongst the "innocent bystanders." (aka collateral 'damagees')

Steve M. said...

Walker, what the hell are you talking about?

Jeff @ bigjobsboard said...

I agree with Mr.Walker. I guess his point is everyone experienced the difficulties of being jobless. We need more stable jobs. The government must have strategic plans to lessen the jobless people. I want to help Thank you!

bd said...

Why stop at unemployment? It seems pretty clear that people who are risk-averse shouldn't be allowed to study gambling. People who have never been ill shouldn't be allowed to conduct medical research. People who've never broken the law should be allowed to be cops. And as for male gynecologists--fuhgeddaboudit!

Walker said...

baaaaa... baaaaa...

Anonymous said...

Wow Walker, grow up, seriously! You're lurking on a blog, waiting for someone to reply to your comment, then replying with sheep sounds. Think about that for a second.