Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Two Economists Go At It

Via Tyler Cowen over at MR. A conversation between Tyler and Bryan Kaplan, as the latter remembers it....

Tyler: People like to think they're special, but we're all pretty much the same.

Bryan: No we're not. Some people are really great; others are simply awful.

Tyler: That's just the kind of thing people say to make themselves feel special.

Bryan: You don't really believe that.

Tyler: Do too.

Bryan: What if we use the metric of your willingness-to-pay to spend an hour with a person? There are a few awesome people you would pay thousands of dollars to meet. But you'd pay hundreds of dollars to avoid an hour with most people.

Tyler: [3-second hesitation.] Well, it's not clear why that should be the relevant metric.

Bryan: But it's your metric!

Tyler: What's so special about my metric?

Bryan: What's so special about it? By definition, that metric captures everything that you think matters. And by that very metric, people are not "pretty much the same." They're incredibly different.

Hm. What say ye?

2 comments:

gina said...

Yeah. I agree with Tyler. And I'm not an economist. basically, we're all the same.

mary said...

Well, who cares if we're the same or not?! Is this a little attempt to find comfort in 'group mentality?'