Brad DeLong’s High School Level Understanding

And here we have Professor DeLong, he of the Keynsian surge, and the arbiter of Republican hackery: 

It is not completely true that it is from the self-interest and not the benevolence of the butcher that we expect our meat. Self-interest, yes, but benevolence too: a truly self-interested butcher would not trade you his meat for your money but instead slaughter you and sell you as long pig. So this opens up a gap between the libertarian view and the world.

Delong comes across with all the fervid earnestness of a liberal character in an Aaron Sorkin plot. His understanding of self-interest betrays a sophomoric eagerness for the quick score. Of course, it’s also patently stupid. His truly self-interested murdering butcher isn’t self-interested at all. Rather his discount rate is extremely high. And who’s to say self-interested behavior cannot include the warm feelings of sympathy we float on from helping our fellow man? Classical economics never assumed a society of homicidal sociopaths would be a harmonious one.

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