When economists prefer tossing economic theory to being woke

I seriously do not understand how so many economists (white male etc.) think that “cultural differences” explain things that are easier explained by “different constraints.”

As if we’re not all rational actors, only the white guys are.  Everyone else is doing worse because they are worse.  They’re either low quality or have bad culture.  If everyone acted like a white guy, then everybody would be doing as well as white guys.  As if.

It’s like, do you not listen to your own theory? How is it that when someone who isn’t a rich white guy is involved, all of a sudden you become a poor quality sociologist (who doesn’t really understand sociology)?

12 Responses to “When economists prefer tossing economic theory to being woke”

  1. Becca Says:

    It’s in their rational best interest to post hoc rationalize existing power structures. Specifically, for the economists that get quoted publically, there’s good money in crap sociology.

    Also, priviledged white males have inferior moral fortitude from playing life on easy setting.

  2. Omdg Says:

    Did you read Guns Germs and Steel? Kind of reminds me of what you’re saying here.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      … I have read it. It isn’t thought very highly of by economic historians, though I can’t remember why not off the top of my head. I feel like they think it’s sloppy with facts, but that might not actually be it.

  3. Linda Says:

    Did anything in particular spark this? I personally agree that much can be explained through constraints.

  4. Cloud Says:

    Tressie McMillan-Cottom had a great offhand tweet in the last couple of weeks, I think about the “campus PC” stuff and an article about some protests at Emory. I can’t remember the exact quote, but the gist of it was that if your story assumes that everyone except you is stupid, you need to dig a little deeper. That was a really good way to put it. So much of the “cultural differences” and “they just need to try harder” narrative is deeply ingrained in us, from years and years of hearing it unchallenged. I should find the actual quote and put it on my wall, because it is a great reminder to fight that narrative.

    I think individuals sometimes do stupid things that are against their best interests. Lord knows I have. But if you look at an entire group of people and they all seem to be doing the suboptimal thing… yeah, maybe there are constraints there that you’re not seeing.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      There are economists who push “equality of opportunity” but their narrative is forced into that structure to be more palatable to the “it’s culture” folks.

    • chacha1 Says:

      When I lived in Georgia, I was pretty intolerant of low achievers. I didn’t really recognize the constraints until I moved to a state with fewer institutionalized barriers.

  5. First Gen American Says:

    I usually get the opposite. There’s nothing the matter. Look at you.

    Since there are pockets of successful minorities in good jobs now, people declare that there isn’t a problem.


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