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Capitalism: A Love Story

An economics professor writing in the New York Times notes the following scandalous fact.

The American Economic Association [has no] official ethics code. Sadly, some of its members seem to be in dire need of one.

See for yourself. “Inside Job,” Charles Ferguson’s new documentary on the financial crisis, includes revealing interviews with several academic economists whose public statements appear to have been rather closely aligned with their private bank accounts.

No doubt the AEA will object that it’s a purely scholarly organization, thinking thoughts about markets all the day. Tra la.

Margaret Soltan, November 8, 2010 6:41PM
Posted in: beware the b-school boys

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7 Responses to “Capitalism: A Love Story”

  1. Sherman Dorn Says:

    Remember whom the early academic-freedom crises at Stanford and Chicago centered on? Economists who gave a damn. Consulting and serving TPTB is so much safer.

  2. GTWMA Says:

    The American Football Coaches Association does have an ethical code. Proposition: A code of ethics is neither necessary nor sufficient for ethical behavior among members of an organization.

  3. Daniel S. Goldberg Says:

    The proposition advanced by GTWMA is almost certainly correct, which is why many professional ethicists have begun to seek out different tools and methods by which virtuous behavior can be practiced as part of an organizational culture.

    (UD, this harkens back to the lively debate in the comments here regarding whether ethics can be taught. My strong sense is that it can, but that the dominant modalities of ethics pedagogy are grievously deficient).

  4. Roy M. Poses MD Says:

    It gets worse. See:



  5. Econprof Says:

    We economists already have an ethical code, and we are dammed profund of it! Our ideal is the “homo economics”, someone who maximizes his utility without any regard for human relations feelings. We believe in free mattes and that everything has its price – including ourselves, of course. So we are proud to be cynics and strive to be cold-hearted Bastards.

  6. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Econprof: LOL.

  7. University Diaries » More commentary on the absence of an ethics code… Says:

    […] The New York Times recently noted the AEA’s amoral ways. […]

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