(Moral) Practice Makes Perfect
By Alice Temnick
Is economics flawed in telling the truth about our social interactions? In this episode, EconTalk host Russ Roberts talks to Arnold Kling about our moral world and tribalism by exploring social norms, formal institutions, our tribal instincts, and our unique human ability to cooperate.
1- Arnold Kling claims that there is a difference in how morality takes place in a family versus a corporate organizational level. What are other significant examples of this difference? Are there marginal differences in accepted moral practices at various levels between these two institutional extremes?
2- ‘We tried Buy Local once. It’s called the Middle Ages,’ quips Roberts, reminding us of Adam Smith’s point of the extent of the market expanding to reach more people, not more resources. Later in the discussion, Russ suggests that the free trade argument should focus on increased opportunity and skill use, not on economic growth. What does he mean when he suggests this, and to what extent do you agree with Roberts?
3- Why is the application of ceteris paribus in holding social importance constant useful or appealing?
4- What recent changes in social norms (Amazon returns to phone engrossment) do you believe improve our interactions and ability to cooperate as social beings?