… is one that Deirdre McCloskey almost surely would applaud; it’s from James Traub’s Wall Street Journal review of Nina Munk’s biography (The Idealist) of the economist Jeffrey Sachs:
Then there are those cultural attributes that it is considered impolite to raise. “Somali men are not lazy,” protests Mr. Mohamed’s No. 2. “We are descendants of Abraham, and if you descend from Abraham you don’t do manual labor.” When the men are caught loafing, they say they are “planning” – a nice [novelist William] Boyd-esque touch. Mr. Sachs has proposed a “clinical economics” that prescribes different solutions for different countries. But his assumption in this regard is that nations face different problems, not that their inhabitants have different habits or values.