Monday, October 03, 2011

The Cartoon

Nice follow-up by Jacob L. on "the cartoon." on "the cartoon."

Here is my original post. As Jacob L notes, there was a lengthy discussion on FB about it.

The point is that this cartoon is a Rorschach test. I read it as mocking the philosopher. Most people, far and away most in my sample (biased, if anything, toward econophiles) saw the cartoon as mocking economists.

As always, disagreeing with me does NOT make you a bad person. It does, however, make you wrong.


Hasdrubal said...

I think a lot of the confusion is because economists use dollar values as a proxy for utility. Many people (including economists) forget or don't realize that it's just a useful proxy.

You can reasonably take economists to task for being too utilitarian. But labeling them ghouls or fools who think that money is the be-all-end-all is missing the point.

Anonymous said...

It is an interesting conundrum. In the actual burning building case, many people, dare I say most people probably would almost instinctualy save the old woman.

But as you clearly point out, society values the painting more.

How to explain this conundrum. I would suggest in a hunter gatherer society people are almost always the primary resource. Numbers count to the strength of the tribe. Even old people are knowledgable. Maybe this ancient economic calculus is wired into our brains resulting in saving the woman.

In another example,