Sunday, February 20, 2011

economists are bad linguists

Dominik Lukes at Metaphor Hacker has a thorough discussion of Harvard economist Ed Glaeser's mis-use of metaphor theory by trying to use NYC restaurants as a metaphor for schools. Lukes teases out the mis-mappings that Glaeser fails to recognize. Money quote:

[Restaurants] also use a number of tricks to make the dining experience better – cheat on ingredients, serve small portions on large plates, etc. They rely on ‘secret recipes’ – the last thing we want to see in education. And this is exactly the experience of schools that compete in the market. They fudge, cheat and flat out lie to protect their competitive advantage. They provide the minimum of education that they can get away with to look good. Glaeser, as he conveniently forgets, there is a huge amount of centralized oversight of New York restaurants – much more, in some ways, than on charter schools.

The full discussion is thorough and well worth reading.


Ryan said...

Seemed to me the piece was more about an economist being bad at thinking critically about his argument.

Chris said...

Yes, fair point. Just trying a catchy title, hehe.

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