Friday, December 31, 2010

Repugnance

I described nine taboo topics on an earlier blog post, looking at ideas about society that would be difficult to discuss in public because they offend mainstream values - like the claim that greater access to pornography actually reduces sexual violence.

So I was interested to see the Freakonomics Blog exploring "repugnant ideas". Steve Levitt says:

Economists are pretty much immune to repugnance. Either by birth or by training, economists have their mind open, or skewed in just such a way that instead of thinking about something in terms whether something it’s right or wrong, they think about it in terms of whether it’s efficient whether it makes sense…and many times the things that are most repugnant are the things that are quite efficient — but for other reasons, subtle reasons sometimes, are completely and utterly unacceptable.

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