Sunday, January 07, 2018

Everybody Is Corrupt But Me

When I reflect upon my past life in academia, one thing which amuses me is how strong the idea that people in academia... no, not just academia... people in *economics*... were not corrupt was. Everybody in economics was pure. I think this kind of bias is prevalent in a lot of professions, but it's especially funny in economics, which is entirely (supposedly) about how people behave in response to incentives. But, yes, I think journalists do it too, which might be even more ridiculous.

I think one of my Ph.D advisers (he didn't really have anything to do with my dissertation) tried to poke holes in this, but he did it very subtly. He probably gave me my first media criticism lesson which involved "According to a source close to Professor X [who is obviously Professor X], Professor X has been offered an obscene amount of money to take a job at School Y." I didn't get what he was doing when I was I grad student. His later work involved thinking about economics when a lot of people were thieves. I assumed he meant, you know, scary black people stealing your car (I was a dumb 23 year old). Later I realized this wasn't what he meant.