Today's Wall Street Journal has a letter from Professor Luis Suarez-Villa, School of Social Ecology, U. of Califorinia, Irvine. Prof. Suarez-Villa writes:
Harvard President Larry Summers is now discovering what many economists find out to their dismay when they venture out of the old-boy network that is American economics. Musings that are considered "normal" among economists tend to be regarded as insensitive or even prejudiced in many other disciplines. At the root of his remarks is the fact that Mr. Summers's thinking is grounded in a discipline that has little sense of fairness and moral obligation, where discriminatory situations are often accepted as the result of Darwinian mechanisms that should be left untouched.
On behalf of my chosen profession, allow me to offer two quick thoughts:
1. I don't think we mind being associated with Charles Darwin, one of the greatest scientists ever, who contributed more to our understanding of the world than all of the employees of the School of Social Ecology put together.
2. Since when is concern for fairness and moral obligation part of science? Philosophy, sure. But the next time you want to understand the effect of taxes on work, deficits on GDP, or rent control on cities, talk to a philosopher. Check back and let us know what you learn.