A rallying cry for my profession. From Bryan Caplan's "Straight Talk About Economic Literacy":

Unfortunately, a large fraction of voters do suffer from economic illiteracy. Indeed, it is fair to say that an ample majority does not understand the basics of how markets work. They are especially confused about labor and international markets. Voters also have severe misconceptions about how government spends their tax dollars, and are extraordinarily pessimistic about long-run economic conditions.

The problem is not that voters lack thorough expertise in economics, or make an occasional careless error. We still call someone "literate" even if they misspell a word every now and then. Most voters lack elementary understanding of economics. They resist even ideas as simple as "In the long-run, preserving obsolete jobs reduces production." When prices change, vague conspiracy theories--not supply-and-demand--are their default explanation. . . .

In sum, while foolish beliefs do not have to lead to foolish policies, there is every reason to think they do.

Link via Marginal Revolution.

And Caplan's piece addresses the "problem" raised, allegedly, by Barry Bosworth: if free markets work well, there is no need for economists. Yes, but somebody has to teach people that.

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