Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Economic Thinking and "Non-Economic" Choices

Many of us teach our students that economic thinking helps us make "non-economic" choices. What we usually mean by that is that the analytical tools we gain from understanding economics can help us make choices beyond the financial sphere.

Today's edition of The Wall Street Journal has an excellent example of applying economic reasoning to what many would consider a non-economic or even a moral choice.

This opinion piece focuses on a choice we make as "a civilization". I won't quibble about whether "civilization" or "society" is more appropriate. But the upshot is how we react to threats to our security. It is a complex issue and this article does not go as deep as it could. But it does provide a framework for discussion, using what I would call an "economic way" of thinking - posing costs and benefits for judgment.

I highly recommend it. And I look forward to your thoughts.

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