I LOVE this story! I wish it WERE true!!!
Yesterday’s New York Times included a story headlined Free Market For Education: Economists Generally Don’t Buy It, and it stated,
The odds are good that privatizing education will be part of the agenda for President-elect Donald J. Trump’s administration. […] You might think that most economists agree with this overall approach, because economists generally like free markets. For example, over 90 percent of the members of the University of Chicago’s panel of leading economists thought that ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft made consumers better off by providing competition for the highly regulated taxi industry.But economists are far less optimistic about what an unfettered market can achieve in education. Only a third of economists on the Chicago panel agreed that students would be better off if they all had access to vouchers to use at any private (or public) school of their choice.
While economists are trained about the value of free markets, they are also trained to spot when markets can’t work alone and government intervention is required.
That summation, however, was misleading to the point of falsehood. As the Scott Alexander points out at his blog Slate Star Codex, the source for the story indicated something quite different—materially different:
Got that? Scott Alexander writes:
I am directed by management to announce to you all that your Ethics Alarms host was recently honored by Trust Across America, whose co-founder and Executive Director Barbara Kimmel often weighs in here. The inspiring non-profit organization, which pursues the crucial mission of enhancing trustworthy behavior in organizations, annually names its Top 100 Thought Leaders In Trustworthy Business, and I made the 2014 list, which is a distinguished one. For example, it also includes Charles H. Green, whose commentaries on posts here often enhance the site.
The list is described on the TAA site this way:
“While there are many “top” lists and awards, none specifically address trustworthy business – perhaps because the word “trust” presents a definitional challenge. For five years Trust Across America has been working with a growing team of experts to study, define and quantify organizational trust. During the course of our research, we have met with and spoken to hundreds of experts, across a variety of professional disciplines who, when their efforts are combined, help create trustworthy organizations. As our understanding of trust deepens, so does our pool of exceptional candidates. Many of the honorees are well-known CEOs and leadership experts, while others are quietly working behind the scenes as teachers and researchers. We intend to shine the spotlight on both groups, to redirect the focus from the “scandal of the day” to the trustworthy leaders and organizations of the day.”
I could not be more grateful, honored or humble (hey, I can be humble!), and I want to thank Barbara and her organization for this recognition and encouragement. Trust, as I write here often, really is the essential goal of ethics, for without trust, productive human society is impossible. We have a very long way to go to repair the fraying societal and institutional trust now plaguing America, but groups like Trust Across America give me hope that the task is not impossible, just daunting. I do believe that together, by setting and maintaining high standards and not allowing ourselves to be distracted by biases and rationalizations, a more trusting, ethical world is within reach.